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Bull Nose Driver: 1961 SAAB 96

1961 SAAB 96

This SAAB is an early 96 so it’s still wearing the “bull nose” front end treatment. It’s powered by a 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine and a three on the tree transmission. The seller makes the impressive statement that this has been their vintage daily driver for the past two years! So, if you are okay with pre-mixing your fuel, this could be the perfect all-season classic. Find it here on eBay where it’s listed with no reserve and only about a day left.

3 Cylinder 2 Stroke

Well, you wouldn’t actually have to mix oil in your gas because this one has a mixer. That means there’s a small tank of oil and it is injected right into the fuel as that tiny 2-stroke ring a ding dings along. You would still need to keep any eye on that oil level, but it would be a lot nicer than having to mix at the pump.

96 Interior

The outside has been resprayed in the original white and I would assume that the seats have been recovered too. Those type of details are less important if you plan on using your classic for daily transportation. These are front wheel drive and do great in the snow so it could realistically be a year round car. After driving a few, I’d want a small steering wheel. It is a nice homage to SAAB’s airplane past though.

Volvo Radio

In an ironic twist of fate, the seller has installed a radio from a Volvo. The more conservative of the two Swedish manufacturers has lived on, but SAAB will always be remembered for their unique ideas. They weren’t afraid to do things differently and as a result produced some very interesting cars.


  1. Fred

    The “mixer” is a nice feature- I was about to say the pre mixing thing would disqualify this one for me. I remember the little mixer tank on some of the 70’s 2 cycle bikes.

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  2. BobD

    ‘Mixer’ means you need to add oil to the gas tank.
    I don’t think the ‘oil injection’ engines with oil tank were even
    available in ’61.

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  3. Ken

    A mixer in this case means it is not one with the oil injection, so you must add oil to gas tank. If tank is empty oil goes in then gas. The vast majority of the stroker SAABs I’ve owned fall into this category. Assuming the newer looking undercoating isn’t hiding anything, this is a solid looking car. Note side window defrosting and shoulder belts in a 1961! A wee bit ahead of their time.

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  4. G 1

    A friend of mines dad had 2 of these in the early 60’s. Always started on a Minnesota winter morning.

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  5. Steven C

    I would love to have this car! It is in the exact condition i would want one of these in. I bet it is a really fun time driving this around. Really good find.

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  6. Vector

    I drove a 60’s 96 that was a mixer- not a problem; simply drive it until the gas warning light on the gauge came on and pull into a gas station. Dump a quart of 2 cycle oil in the tank and while adding the gas simply put your right foot on the rear bumper and push that corner down and release; repeat until tank was full. The only car I had that was better in the snow than that Saab was a 70’s Citroen. If you woke up to a foot of snow and the roads hadn’t been plowed yet all you had to do was raise the body with the hydraulic suspension and motor on.

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  7. 4-Doors-for-My-Tuba

    Very slick car. A friend’s father had two of these purchased new. One for his own commute, and one for the college age kids to drive. And there were also a couple of Hondas, one each of 350 and 450 twins. Very eclectic folks for the times.

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  8. Matt Tritt

    If this were in California I’d buy it today. It looks like it’s about 5 years old inside and out. The Saab Monte Carlo had an injection oil tank, as well as performance upgrades that make them Really fun to drive, but this standard model is almost as much, and a lot cheaper! The only downside to these cars is the lack of compression braking effect because of free-wheeling, but only if you live in the mountains. Dang this one’s nice!

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  9. Matt Tritt

    Not only that, but Saab was the first car to use shoulder belts in an automobile, the first to incorporate intentional crush zones, the first to have an engine and transaxle that were designed to push back under the passenger compartment in a head-on, te first to have a defroster that actually worked and the first to have a body designed with the aid of a wind tunnel for low drag. These early ones are very aircraft-like inside and have virtually 0 wind noise on the highway. The smoke/unburned hydrocarbon thing is unfortunate.

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  10. Chris A.

    The Saab 850 Monte Carlo is a delight to drive. My BIL had one with a great interior that included Recaro seats. Came with Pirelli Cinturato tires. Very roomy inside and cross winds didn’t bother it. He traded it in on a V4 Saab that wasn’t quite as nice a driver. Letting off the gas and the free wheeling wasn’t a problem as the later Saabs came with front disc brakes. This one needs a good amount of interior TLC but will make a good car.

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  11. renzo

    I must point out that the Free-wheel feature can be engaged/disengaged with a
    handle near the throttle-easily operated with your foot. Once the driver learned how to smoothly engage the transmission with gentle throttle, it was a gas-saver. We used to joke about this “overhead fan-shaft” model as the radiator fan was driven by the front engine pulley and a shaft on top of the engine. Also the heater assy is larger than the engine! Mixing oil in the tank became second nature after a while

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  12. Matt Tritt

    Yup. I had a 62 much like this one, and lived at the summit of a 3,000′ pass behind Santa Barbara. Free-wheeling was not a viable option, since you lose any available compression braking – – – using the engine as a compression brake was also not an option because of the ominous cloud of noxious smoke produced at the bottom of the grade when you applied the throttle. Replacing the brakes often was about all I could do. ;-)

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