60,000 Original Miles: 1989 Saab 900 Turbo Convertible

The classic Saab 900 convertible came onto my radar in a big way a few months ago, as I sold my 1999 BMW M3 convertible in the hopes of finding a four-seater droptop that had a better trajectory for long-term appreciation. While 900 convertibles are always in abundant supply, truly special ones – either limited production models or low mileage specimens like this example – are in far shorter supply and command strong money. Plus, the following for these cars is extremely loyal, so you’ll always find a buyer. Check out this 60,000 example here on craigslist for $9,500 in Orange County.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rex M. for the find. What I learned in scrolling through classifieds every day is that the 900 Turbo convertible is the one to get, as the naturally aspirated models have a much less fervent following among enthusiasts, for obvious reasons. It also became evident that deals appear fairly often, as the 900 convertible didn’t reside solely in the hands of enthusiasts. Plenty of owners simply bought them because they’re the iconic summer car, the first one you think of if you desire a second vehicle with four seats and a roof that folds away. Yes, not everyone wants one, but it’s one of the few hobby cars that has appeal beyond diehard enthusiasts.

This example doesn’t wear the most exciting colors, but it does wear them well. The exterior presents nicely, and the old-school California license plates suggests long-term residence in a fair weather state. Unlike most older convertibles, the interior isn’t completely trashed by now, by the sun or passengers, and this cabin still presents better than even its low mileage would suggest. There’s no obvious signs of fading, either, with the steering wheel, door sill trim, and dash plastics all still looks quite lustrous. The seller reports it’s been a California car since new, and there’s no rust – but no word if the heated seats still work.

The convertible sports the preferred combo of turbocharged engine with the five-speed manual. The car I got is a mixed bag: it’s a super rare, one-of-300 900 Turb0 SE in Monte Carlo Yellow, but sadly with an automatic; fortunately, the manual swaps on these cars are pretty easy, as far as that job goes. This one checks all the boxes, provided you can live with the conservative colors, which aren’t always the first choice when it comes to a summer car – but low mileage and stock condition may be the bigger appeal when it comes to a car like this.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    I’m not sure what the market price for these is. However, if you are an enthusiast, it’s worth it in the long run to buy the best example you can find, even if it initially seems a bit overpriced, it won’t remain that way over the long haul. Convertible, manual transmission, desirable color combination, service records and excellent condition, it checks all the boxes. I wouldn’t be surprised if it heads back to Europe after it changes hands.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  2. ace10

    This one was reviewed about two months ago on BF.

    Like 2
  3. Skorzeny

    It’s in good condition but I’d rather have a Saab Gripen.

    Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    Jerry Seinfeld drove one of these in his show. In his own words, “If you don’t like weird, a Saab is not for you”.

    Like 2
  5. BTG88

    I’ve owned Saabs for 35 years, and currently daily drive a convertible 2001 Viggen as well as having a 1991 900 SPG as a garage queen. I owned the 1994 version of this featured car. It is definitely a nice car to have with the top up or down, and the back seats are actually large enough to accommodate actual adults. The turbo with the 5 speed is definitely the way to go and if so desired, some more HP can be had with a modified APC module.

    Like 3
    • R.Scot

      I couldn’t agree more. Had a room mate who had one when I was in the USN, and I would occasionally drive it. From first glance, they appear as a heavy-sluggish barge that could barely move down the road, but they actually handle and perform quite well, especially with the turbocharged engine and the five-speed manual. Very nice cars to take on long trips, especially during the summer months with the top down. “Nice cozy open-air Swedish living room on wheels” would be the best way to describe it.

      Like 1
  6. rex m

    So it didnt sell 2 months ago?

  7. Timothy Youngberg

    Color combination is terrific. Can’t stand the usual red!

  8. wifewontlikeit

    Börn from Jets! I recently gave mine away as it had an uncertain oil leak. Saab is still supporting them with spares and all parts are guaranteed. The new electric one looks nice. Mine was a 2005 Turbo convertible, a 93 that was the end of the Swedish line.

    I have had 5 Saabs(!) and I am cured. Even when purchased new, they were finicky. That price seems astronomical for a car with no collector status. Sorry to rain on the Saab parade, they are not for everyone and I am tired of fixing great cars that cannot be depended on!
    https://stag-komodo.wired.com/2011/12/saab-hits-the-end-of-the-road/?_ga=2.180052196.114791300.1606841473-1239709551.1606841468

    • Goran Lundberg

      Well, since Saab no longer exists, the spare part supply chain these days is made up of various after market producers who figure it is still worthwhile offering them – a fact one should consider if planning to buy one.

      Like 1
  9. Daniel

    Amazing…I must have gone color blind the last few minutes..monte carlo yellow!?

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