Ugly Unicorn: 1992 Saab 9000 Turbo Survivor

Though it might not be the most sought-after Saab, the 9000 Turbo is a quirky, yet classy vehicle that offers a fun driving experience. This particular 1992 Saab 9000 Turbo is likely one of the sweetest remaining examples of this 5-door sedan, and it’s available here on eBay.

This Saab is available in Indian Wells, California with a clean title. The seller recalls how they first encountered the vehicle in 1994 while on vacation in Los Angeles, California, and they were awestruck by the combination of the Talladega Red exterior and Taupe (tan) interior. Recently, the seller tracked down the vehicle, and the advertisement details a thorough list of maintenance performed by the seller.

In addition to the maintenance, the seller includes a variety of new Saab parts with the sale, such as a factory wheel, throttle body, electronic gas pedal, and more. There are also interesting pieces of media that pertain to the vehicle, such as a press kit and brochure.

Undoubtedly, the Talladega Red exterior color is an eye-catching one, and the car is in remarkable shape. The seller mentions that all of the body panels have the original VIN tags and also that there is no evidence of any accidents in the vehicle’s history, but they did repaint the hood and rear bumper.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find an unbelievably clean Taupe interior. This seems to have been the feature that attracted the attention of the seller; before seeing this example, they had only seen Talladega Red 9000 Turbos with either light gray or dark gray interiors. Everything inside the vehicle works well, including all of the lights, power functions, and the factory stereo system.

There is a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine under the hood, which pairs to a 5-speed manual transmission to drive the front wheels. The combination has 94.890 miles on it, and the seller notes that the car drives incredible.

At the time of publication, bidding for this 9000 Turbo is at $5,000. Would you join the bidding for this survivor-quality Saab?

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  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I agree with the seller, The color combo is stunning IMO. I remember thinking these were far better looking than the 900 when they were new, they haven’t aged as well though. Nice car for sure, a Saab enthusiast will be happy to have it.

    Like 8
  2. Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

    I’m going to go ahead and disagree with the headline. Not at all ugly. Gorgeous, in fact.

    Like 19
  3. alphasud Member

    These were good running cars. Unfortunately this one is the first year for traction control. Bad news very complex system with numerous failure points that requires a scan tool with the software to reset the throttle body and calibrate. Also the 4hp18 ZF auto transmissions were weak. Best years are 1991, 1994-1997 models. 1991 did not have TCS and 94-97 were optional TCS. If it has a throttle cable you are golden!

    Like 13
  4. CCFisher

    Ugly seems a bit harsh. Compared to Saab’s previous offerings, this was restrained and tasteful.

    Like 9
  5. Steve

    I’m going to go ahead and agree with ugly.

    Like 1
  6. Matt R Member

    My father had a silver one in the late 80’s and made the mistake of letting me, as a teenager, drive it sometimes. My friends and I loved it because it was faster than most of the cars we were in at the time. I vividly recall hitting 138 mph on a rural road in McHenry, Illinois and watching headlights fly by us. One time we wanted to see a movie a couple towns down. It was a 30 minute drive and the movie started in less than 20 minutes. We made it on time. Other than the damage I did too it driving like an idiot in the snow, it was reliable.

    Like 5
  7. Wolfgang Gullich

    No car designed by Giugiaro is ugly..,

    Like 7
  8. Brian W.

    I was Saabing enthusiastically in the late 90s and early 00. 9-5s, 9-3s including a Viggen, Aero wagons and a peppy 900 convertible. Never a 9000 but this could soon change.

    Like 2
  9. anm

    Neither ugly nor a unicorn. You don’t see them every day, to be sure, but there are certainly a few puttering around the northeast.

    Like 3
    • George Hermatopolis

      they imported 10049 9000 models in 1992 of which 732 were turbo sticks and 2 talladega red with taupe leather ordered in a manual trans.

      Like 6
      • Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

        Well George I’d say we have a real unicorn here. Thank you for your research!

        Like 2
      • CJM

        how did you get the production figures on the interior color?

  10. CJM

    Ugly? Who you calling ugly? Its probably the nicest looking vehicle on your email blast today. Gorgeous color combo. Love the interior. So much better than the black and even worse gray most of them had. Those seats look so comfortable. AND its even a manual! What more could one ask for in a 9000?

    Like 5
  11. Willowen Member

    There is one of these living just down the block from me. For a bit of perspective, this was Saab’s version of the platform used for the Lancia Thema, Fiat (I’m forgetting what), and Alfa 164. We had a 164; that was generally regarded by the motoring press as the best of the lot, but somehow it was always the Saab version I found most appealing and still do. Could very well be because of that big back door; being an S model, our Alfa had a ten-pound or so spoiler on the boot lid, but hadn’t bothered to beef up the springs, so we had to carry a stick to prop it open. Besides, I’ve always admired the too-rare 4-door with a hatch-back. The Mazda 626 version comes to mind …

    If I were in the market, this would be of great interest. Indian Wells is one of the Coachella Valley cities, tucked into part of Palm Desert and southeast of Palm Springs, so a trip there is no particular hardship … or wouldn’t be under normal circumstances. Until those return I wish all our Barnfinders to stay safe and healthy.

    Like 2
    • CJM

      The Alfa was the best looking and classiest of the lot, IMO, but the Saab had much wider acceptance, in the US at least. I’m sure the Saab was more mechanically reliable i’m sure. I do like the 9000 and the hatchback utility, but always thought it was one of the least distinctive Saabs.

    • RITON

      The Fiat you’re talking about is the Croma😉

      Like 1
  12. Willowen Member

    Saab was still on the Yuppie radar at the time, on a par with Audi at least in some parts of the country, whereas in the US Alfa was still known for sports cars, period – very much the opposite of the European market. The Milano was their first serious effort to offer a sedan that could change that, but even the car magazines weren’t pulling for them – C&D’s article was headlined something like “The Car As Cookie”. The R&T crew sent two to New Jersey to drive a Milano back to SoCal, which they did without incident and rather liked it, but never figured out where the very obvious glovebox was.

    But I’m rambling (for a change!). What it comes down to is that most of the world’s car-magazine writers are in Europe, where they are regarded as serious journalists, and they consider Alfa Romeo as a family-car marque first and foremost. Here, only Saab was.

  13. BTG88

    Not only are these nice-looking Italian-designed cars, they are hugely capable and durable. My father sold his with 400k on the clock and still running beautifully and I had an ’88 that I loved. Spacious, comfortable, speedy, and safe.

  14. jimmy the orphan

    These are great looking bullet proof cars. Except for the traction control. I don’t need that. later,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JIMMY

  15. Willowen Member

    @ Riton – Hey, if the Italians can’t spell, don’t blame me!

    Thanks for reminding us about the Thema. I do remember the motor press’s consensus being that it was not as good as the 164S, just a lot more expensive to buy and run. I’ll have to take their word for it. I know the current Ferrari–based transplant in the Giulia has some owners speaking in tongues; my wife’s got an as-basic-as-it-gets Giulia with the little 4-banger (I’d call it a four-buzzer) and it would easily suck the door-handles off her old 164S.

    Like 1
  16. RITON

    I’ve heard the V8 Thema and what a sound for a family car, but the turbo ie 16v was better noted by car magazines. Same engine as the Delta turbo.
    I had a 75/Milano turbo loved it, drove a V6 3L one : nice and musical but prefered the turbo 4 banger. Also drove a 164 V6 2L turbo and à V6 3L 24v. This time I preferred the non turbo for the sound and feeling. Nice cars and reliable when you know how to maintain them by yourself…

    Like 1
  17. Willowen Member

    Our 164S had a lot going for it – lovely 5-speed with great shifting, electrifying results the one time I dared to drop the hammer in 1st gear (it did NOT have the special anti-torque-steer spring on the steering rack). The offramp for our mechanics’ shop had maybe 100′ of straight, then a sharp right kink and a stop sign; I loved to double-clutch down to third at the get-off, then to second just before the kink, to let’s know I was coming.

    I envy you and all the rest who live where all these other lovely engines can be found in our favorite cars. When I saw that the performance-driving school at Nurburgring were running Twin Spark 75s, that was the first time I REALLY wished we could vacation in Germany; I know someone who’s got a couple of those engines in his shop. and I’m sure if I had the money he’d put one in my old Platinum. Not to scorn the V6 – it’s lovely, just maybe 200 pounds heavier than I’d like.

    Like 1
    • alphasud Member

      Owned a 75 Milano Verde, a 1994 164LS, and 2 Aero’s. If I had to decide which one I owned again it would be tough. All 3 were wonderful cars in their own right. Loved the quirkinesses of the Milano. Probably the car I was most passionate about. Both the 164 and the Aero were the best highway cruisers. The Aero was much quicker than the 164 especially on overboost which happed when the APC valves would get tired. You could modulate the pedal to keep it just under the boost cut. Have yet to own a car with better seats than the Aero.

  18. chrlsful

    4dor means not a “hot hatch”?
    Too luxurious 4 one?
    I’ll still take it. (@ $5,2I still can).

    Hated GM & the demise…

  19. MattR Member

    Sold for $5800! Somebody scored.

  20. RITON

    Would’ve loved to find that kind of bargain on this side of the pond…

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