Commemorative Edition: 1993 Saab 900 Turbo

When you think about a Saab, what model comes to mind? For many, a “Classic” 900 is the iconic Saab. The 900 debuted for the 1979 model year, and took Saab upmarket in the United States as an unconventional alternative to a BMW or Mercedes-Benz. In 1989, General Motors purchased 50 percent of Saab and began planning a replacement for the 900, which by that time was getting long in the tooth, being based on the 99 series that was introduced 20 years earlier. With an all-new 900 ready for launch the next year, Saab decided to celebrate the original 900 in 1993 with a special edition for the US, its biggest export market. 325 identical black three-door 900 Turbo Commemorative Edition models were produced, and #48 is available here on eBay in Indian Wells, California.

This 900 Turbo Commemorative Edition has almost 129,000 miles and has been in Southern California since new. As a result, it does not suffer any of the rust issues that plague Saabs of any vintage in more unforgiving climates. The original black paint shines nicely, though the seller points out there are some minor chips on the hood, light scratches on the hatch, and a small crease on the passenger’s side. The asymmetrical three-spoke alloy wheels, finished in medium grey metallic with polished lips, were available only on the Commemorative Edition, and are fitted with new tires. All the lights are said to work, as well as the headlight wipers which are often broken on these cars. New foglamps are fitted under original covers.

The tan leather seats are in good original condition as are the carpets. The headliner does not appear to be drooping too badly, another common issue with 900 interiors. Unfortunately, there are some cracks on the dashboard, but the comfort of the cold original R-12 air-conditioning system should more than make up for that cosmetic flaw. The bushing in the steering column, which often wears out in airbag-equipped 900s, has been replaced. Like all Commemorative Edition 900s, this one has a burled walnut dash fascia and a leather shift boot and knob. The original Clarion stereo system is still there but the antenna will not go up and the CD player is not working, so be sure to bring plenty of cassette tapes. The power windows and sunroof are said to work well. The large cargo area is in nice condition above and below, and the original toolkit appears to be untouched.

Under the big clamshell hood sits a two-liter 16-valve turbocharged engine that in the Commemorative Edition was bumped up to 185 horsepower with some factory modifications. These included a 2.8 bar fuel pressure regulator, “Red Box” Automatic Performance Control (APC) controller, and re-curved vacuum advance on the distributor. Things have been refreshed with new motor mounts, a new alternator, and new belts. A tune-up has also been performed with a Bosch cap and rotor, NGK spark plugs, Bosch fuel filter, and a Saab air filter – all the good brands for these parts. To complete the service, an oil change has been done, the brake fluid and power steering have both been flushed and a new battery and muffler have also been fitted. The turbo is said to be strong with the boost gauge hitting red at full throttle. The clutch and transmission feel good which is important because the latter was the Achilles heel of the 900, especially as power was increased. The new owner will want to lay off the boost in lower gears and shift gently.

Overall, this is a real nice example of a final year Classic 900 coupe, regardless of its special status. The original convertible lasted into 1994 with its own special edition of 500, so the ‘93 Commemorative Edition is a bit rarer. With more than three days of bidding left, this one is up to just under $7,000 with the reserve not yet met. Classic Saab 900 prices are on the rise so it will be interesting to see where this one ends up. Is the 900 Turbo Commemorative Edition your idea of the ultimate Saab?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I was a factory Saab tech when these were sold. I still remember the new car smell when I performed the pre-delivery inspections. My friends son wanted a Saab and I found him a 90 SPG with low miles over 10 years ago. He has kicked around the idea of selling it on but he never can find a newer car that can replace the versatility and fun factor of this one. I also found him a 93 Commemorative edition Saab with 25K miles. That’s his baby and I think he will never sell it. The 900 transaxles are the weak link but in 90 Saab beefed up the pinion bearings and made other changes which makes them more robust and better shifting. I do tell everyone who owns one to always shift into any forward gear before selecting reverse. Clutch pedal pivots wear causing the clutch to not fully release and shifting into reverse will chip the reverse idler gear. Used to repair a lot of transaxles for this.

    Like 9
    • Jonathan Dennis Jonathan Dennis Staff

      Definitely good advice on shifting into a forward gear before reverse, I had forgotten about that as it’s been a couple of years since I’ve driven one. I always made sure to pause slightly between gears when shifting. I owned a few 900s and only had a transmission blow up once, quite unexpectedly. It was a weaker early transmission that had been swapped into a later 16-valve car.

      Like 3
  2. RichieRich

    I had a Saab 900 convertible around 15years ago and there was always something going wrong with it (hood, electrics etc) took it into the garage as there was a bit of an oil leak down the side of the block – went to pick it up the next day and they had taken the engine out – it never ran any good after that (even with the engine in Haha) so I traded it for an Audi TT – so indirectly Saab did me a big favour.

    Like 1
  3. charlie Member

    Probably not an issue with a California car, but the tops of the strut structures rotted out back East, and they just punched through, which is why there are so few Saabs left back there, when they used to occupy the place Subaru’s occupy now.

  4. Michael L Gregory

    I still remember my first encounter with one of these cars. I was on the way from Oklahoma City to Wichita on the interstate when one passed me. I noticed two things: The Turbo designation, and the fact that it had a radar detector on the dash. I sped up to follow it and we cruised along at around 90MPH for maybe forty miles. Then, all of a sudden, that car just disappeared. I had to let it go because I was driving my mom’s Crown Vic full of old, sleepy ladies.

    Like 2

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