Auction Regrets: 1980 Saab 900 Turbo


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If I were to bid on a vehicle from afar, there’s a pretty good chance I’ve convinced myself I want to own it. Between the anxiety of bidding and trying to make an informed decision based solely on photos, I’m not going to stress for a car I don’t really want. Well, the seller of the 1980 Saab 900 Turbo here on eBay has a thicker skin than I do, since he just bought this vehicle at auction and already has it listed for sale with a $500 opening bid. 

s-l500 (1)

I can imagine this happening, especially on an auction site like Copart. Given this Saab has a salvage title and no keys, I think it’s a very safe bet it’s currently sitting in a salvage yard awaiting pickup. Well, it may eventually happen but it will likely be with a different owner. These early Saab 900’s are a rare sight today, especially in Turbo form and with a pristine interior like this one. Those factory sport seats and 3-spoke steering wheel are sought-after commodities among Saab enthusiasts.

s-l500 (2)

The seller has no idea if the car actually runs, but if it does turn over, there’s potentially 143 b.h.p. to let loose on the backroads. Although not necessarily known for being easy to work on, old Saabs are generally durable but parts supply for rare models like this may leave some challenges for the next owner. While it doesn’t look overmaintained, the engine doesn’t appear hacked up, either.


This looks like a highly-original example of an early Saab Turbo. I can’t rationalize the seller’s actions, as this is a car I’d want to own if I won it at auction. The original Turbo wheels, gorgeous sport interior and spirited driving experience all combine to make this a project car I’d be happy to own. It just needs some OEM rear window louvers and a pair of big, honking fog lights to complete the look. Would you throw a bid at it, or does the seller’s quick turnaround from buying to selling make you uneasy?

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  1. Woodie Man

    At least he or she is decisive! Buy it! Dump it!

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  2. Chris in Nashville

    I would bid and would love to have one but getting her home to TN would cost at least double the opening bid, so likely not worth it.

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  3. Rich

    Ugly, ugly car……

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    • audifan

      Why do you think it’s ugly?
      I completely disagree.

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  4. racer99

    Sure looks like a WTF have I done moment probably hit right after the purchase. We had a 4 door and they were decent cars that were very solid but suffered from parts availability and pricing issues once it hit over 100K.

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  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Might just have wanted to save it, even, as mentioned just for the interior. I get that.

    I needed to dump an Isuzu Impulse years back. I KNEW there was a passionate group of owners and wanted it to go to one of them instead of a wrecker. I didn’t want money, just couldn’t find the right guy. Thing sat around for two months always in the way. Until I finally found an enthusiast.

    The things we do for the hobby LOL.

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    • JeffAuthor

      Bob, was it a Turbo? I would have bought that car. Been looking for an early Turbo for yeaaaars.

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        It was!

        It is a car I would loved to have kept, but I already had two projects, and a budding fascination with racing.

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  6. charlieMember

    RUST? front strut towers are the weakest point of the car in the northeast – and not an easy fix – engine will go 250,000 or so.

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    • JeffAuthor

      Pictures don’t tell us, but with 48 people watching, I’d say this has a good chance of selling.

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  7. PRA4SNW

    It sure sounds like a Copart purchase / regret. The $20 daily storage fee is the giveaway.

    I have never purchased anything from them, but I have heard horror stories of what happens if you don’t grab the car right away and leave it for them to “store” for you.
    Often, parts will go missing, they’ll bust the chassis when moving with a forklift, etc.

    Again, these are stories I’ve heard, but they scared me away, maybe others have had good luck with them?

    Just checked – there is a Copart at that zip code – Rancho Cucamonga. LOL – if you have ever seen the show Workaholics.

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  8. Fogline

    I have the same car with a blue interior sitting in my yard waiting to get fixed. Had it running and it was a lot of fun, till it stopped. Still trying to figure out what went wrong.

    That said – these are lighter than later models making them feel a bit sportier than later models. And as far as parts, while some are probably tough, I haven’t been stuck unable to find what I need online. And the values seem to be climbing pretty steadily over the last 3 years. Not enough for a restoration, but if you want something different than everything else out there, then maybe an old 900 is for you.

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  9. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Pretty sure 1980 should have a dual vent hood…maybe 80 was the changeover though. Pretty cool car that I’d have no problem adding to the stable. If it weren’t stuck in a salvage yard 1000 miles away with no keys that is.

    I will take exception to the notion that they’re not easy to work on. They’re one of the easiest cars to work on in my opinion. These older B engines had a couple unique puzzles…like the water pump…but all in all, if you know which end of a wrench is up you’ll have no problems whatsoever. And when was the last time you were able to do a clutch replacement without dropping the transmission?

    For winter driving they can’t be beat. Studded snows on all 4 corners and I will take on any SUV and the heaters in these cars will turn your eyeballs into raisins. Great cars, the c900’s were. Hope this one goes to a good home

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  10. David Frank DavidMember

    The comments on this Saab, for me at least, are an example of what makes this site great. You learn new stuff about a car, discover different ways of looking at things and even have a chuckle or two. A lot of you folks know a lot about different cars, most of which I believe, and are very generous in sharing your knowledge. And yes, the styling of Saabs is polarizing, most folks either love it or hate the look. But in my experience, few people who have driven a Saab complain about the looks.

    (and what, nobody has declared this a real Saab story?)

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  11. Don

    What a lovely car and a wonderful project. USD760? A snip!

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  12. Hu Dood

    They ran hot..combine that with the turbo not a good mix..and louvers? No..ugly…diminished the DVader slickness..and those wheels ere called Aztecs,which were cool. When the tab serbo was right it was good,but the times were few and far between.

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