32K Original Miles: 1985 Saab 900S Notchback

This gorgeous 1985 Saab 900 is a rare three-door notchback model made rarer still for having just 32,000 miles on the clock. The car appears to be a stunner with no significant cosmetic flaws and a spotless interior, not to mention a rust-free body despite living in New England. Most of the 900s we see are convertibles or three-door hatchbacks, but the notchback was never a big seller – which makes it appealing today as the final link in a collection of Saab vehicles or a perfect entry into a Radwood event that already has a dozen 900 convertibles registered. Find this low mileage notchback 900 here on craigslist in Marshfield, Mass. for $15,000.

This 900 is also unusual for not being a turbocharged model, like most of them seemingly are. That’s likely more due to the fact that enthusiasts tend to pursue the turbo models more aggressively than the naturally aspirated cars, rather than an actual swing in total production numbers between the two. This really is a base model, right down to the smaller wheel and tire package to the cloth bucket seats. While many collectors today want highly-optioned cars with leather seating in mint condition, a collector who truly appreciates survivor Saabs isn’t going to be persuaded one way or another by the original owner’s choice in seating upholstery.

This is a quintessential New England car, so it’s not surprising to see one as nice as this notchback in Massachusetts. You can practically envision the college professor stepping out with a pipe in his mouth and a tweed sportcoat with elbow patches on, content with his naturally aspirated Saab because he didn’t buy one for the performance – he bought it for the image, much like his colleagues who swear the Volvo 240 is the better choice among Swedish-built commuters. The seller notes that the 900 has been in his family for a few years, belonging to his father since 2013 who was, indeed, a Saab fanatic and purchased the survivor Swede off of the second owner.

When you see a vintage car in New England from this angle and spot no obvious evidence of rust, surface or otherwise, you tend to pinch yourself. It just doesn’t happen these days, not on a car like this that was typically just someone’s commuter and used in all sorts of bad weather. Fortunately, it has found its way into caring homes that respected the fact that minty 900s no longer grow on trees. The seller notes the fluids have been changes and that the brake master cylinder and exhaust system have been replaced with new parts. $15,000 will buy you an exceptionally nice convertible or SPG, but they won’t have mileage as low as this car with so many original details intact. Would you spend top dollar for a survivor Saab or hold out for a nice driver and some cost savings?


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  1. alphasud Member

    I think I have only seen one of these when I worked at the Saab dealer back in the 90’s. The hatchback was so much more versatile than the trunk. I would say it was the strongest selling point of the car. The items you could put in the back would amaze. The 8 valve 2 liter is pretty reliable. It did have its share of mechanical injection issues though. These are a little more tricky to set up properly and there are several warmup enrichment aids that have to work in conjunction with the warm up regulator and auxiliary air valve. Cold weather brought cars on the hook for no-start and fouled plugs. The emergency brake works on the front calipers on these so check the levers for seizing. Also be sure to listen for any gear whine in the higher gears which was a sign of failing pinion bearings. Even at a low mileage.

    Like 14
  2. Phil Parker

    Had one like that but 1986 900S Turbo nice car went awesome in the snow ..drove it all over

    Like 3
  3. Terrry

    It spent most of its life in Washington State and California, and wasn’t driven much in New England. It’s pretty nice, but $15,000 nice? Not so sure.

    Like 5
  4. Charles Brew

    People do not buy or drive 240s for the sake of image. They offer reasonable performance, reasonable mileage, reasonable comfort, and exceptional utility. It doesn’t hurt that are safe and will run forever.

  5. Charles R. Wirt Member

    Of questionable sanity I own 3 900’s & a 99: ’84 3-door 900T 5-sp, ’89 Convert 900T 5-sp, ’93 900S 3-door AT & ’77 99GL 5-door 4-sp. The ’93 needs to go.

  6. Martin Horrocks

    My dad had an even rarer SAAB variant in the mid 80s, a Saab 90!

    The 90 was the rear of 2 door notchback 900, with the front of the 99. Probably EU only, it was the cheapest model in the range. The same colour as this car, it handled really well.

    SAAB did this from the beginning. 92 rear with the bullnose front was Saab 93. An updated rear on the bullnose front became the 96. Which grew two more front remodels before the end of its life.

    Like 4
  7. Bruce Billing

    The 2-door notchback was only offered in the US in 85 and 86 as a mid grade S model. (not base model) 85 had the 8 valve and 86 got the 16 valve both normally aspirated. Wheels on all Saabs of this era are 15 inch even Turbos.

  8. Bruce Billing

    Leather was not an option for the “S” model

    • Bruce Billing

      The 2-door notchback was only available in US during 85 and 86 as a mid grade S model

  9. chrlsful

    back when SAAB was known as the turbo car & subie the awd/4wd.
    Used to wrench on the wife’s. Very nice car (pep, utility, durable) and used it a few times on the job (get lumber to construction site). She – space cadet’n left the key in. Joy ride totaled it by the time I got there (tough side of town).
    She’d get so pissed when I joked abt her chevy and my ford (wolwo). My jaw dropped when I saw the production sabber wid da subie boxer. Pretty neat ! Wonder how many of those they made~

  10. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Rare car priced well in today’s C900 market

    Like 1
  11. Doug G

    Another article written by a millennial that is unaware that the 900S was Saab’s midrange model (not a base model as written). It came with cloth upholstery plus alloys and a sunroof. The 900 Turbo was the top range and much quicker.

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