Dirt Cheap: 1972 Saab 99

If I lived closer to this 1972 Saab 99, I would be all over it. This represents a cheap and interesting project car that could stand out with a bit of work. Returning it to its former glory is going to take a bit of effort, but it looks like it is a solid base as a starting point. The Saab is located in Victor, Idaho, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $1,395 for the Swedish classic, but if that’s a bit rich for you, then the option is available to make an offer.

The owner refers to the Saab as “Gilbert Grape,” and given the fact that it is finished in a color known as Burgundy Red, that seems appropriate. That paint is now pretty baked, but the car itself doesn’t appear to have any major rust issues. There might be a spot visible in the bottom corner of the rear door on the passenger side, and possibly another in front of the rear wheel arch on the same side, but the rest of it looks quite good. There are a few marks and dings on the body, but none of these are major. Some of the external trim is missing or damaged, but replacement parts are surprisingly cheap and easy to find.

There are no photos of the car’s interior, which is a bit of a shame. However, it looks like the seats might require new covers, and some of the door seals are hanging loose. I’m not sure whether the dash pad is cracked, but as for the rest, your guess is as good as mine. Similarly, there are no photos provided of the 1,709cc 4-cylinder engine, but it is apparently in pretty decent health. Its 86hp is sent to the front wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. The owner does drive the car occasionally,  just to keep the fluids circulating, and he says that the car essentially runs and drives okay. He does identify the occasionally sticking front brakes and old tires as two issues that will need to be addressed, but neither of these are big or expensive problems. These are a robust old car capable of surprising performance. In fact, they are still being used, with quite some success, in Scandinavian domestic rally competition. As far as rugged reliability is concerned, that’s a pretty decent sort of recommendation.

When Saab finally closed its doors, another victim of the Global Financial Crisis, it was a sad day for the automotive world. They managed to produce some quite potent cars during their time, but above all else, they produced cars that were interesting and quirky. The 99 was just such a car, and its success can be measured by the fact that it remained in production, in one form or another, from 1968 through until 1984. This one looks like a solid car that would respond well to a bit of time and effort, and at the asking price, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong.


  1. Superdessucke

    Ooops, the “cheap” part didn’t register. Just “dirt.”

    I know Swedish car lovers very well from having owned a Volvo 850R. $1,395 isn’t cheap for them. Certainly not dirt-cheap!

    Put a decimal point between the 3 and the 9 to get the likely real value among that group. This owner’s best bet is to find somebody who thinks $1,400 is nothing.

    Like 3
    • SaabVertGuy

      You are very correct!! Considering I bought 2 convertible Saabs over the last year for less than $2300.00 combined. Both in FAR better shape than this one has seen in decades. We are a cheap lot. But damn passionate about our Swedes. This particular old girl is gonna need someone with a ton of passion for the brand.

      Like 2
      • Superdessucke

        Yeah, you have to adjust your expectations when dealing with these cars. Someone might end up learning that the hard way. I’d be surprised to see this model get $1,400 with low miles and in excellent condition. This will probably need $2,000 more just to get it safely running, at which time you’ll be hopelessly upside down.

        In these times where people routinely drop $25,000 on rust bucket Mopars, the seller’s ship might come in. But won’t be a Saab enthusiast.

        Like 2
  2. JBP

    not cheap.. Adam what doo u want with such a pos? thats ofcourse imo.

    Like 1
  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    Wasn’t the Saab 99 one of the worst cars Saab produced? Does anyone remember the movie “Crazy People” with Dudley Moore? The Saab part was the funniest, “they weren’t suppose to start everytime”,,

    Like 1
    • BTG88

      My first car was a 1980 99 GLi – a fuel injected 2.0 liter 4 cylinder with a 4-speed. Got it when I was a junior in college with over 100,000 miles on the clock. Kept it for 5 years and it never let me down, just performed regular maintenance. NY/PA salted roads got it in the end, after I had it for 5 years. So much fun to drive, and was like a snowmobile in the winter – unstoppable. Moved on to a 1984 Saab 900 S, which was also a great car.

      Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      Being in production ’68-’84 and also make the base for the coming 900 it cannot have been so bad. My grandfather always bought new SAABs – he owned a ’73 and ’80 of the 99 and having an engineer degree he was also abit ‘above average’ into SAABs technical solutions. Though I was a kid at the time I can’t remember he had much bad to say about either.

      I’m not being biased here; personally I find them technically awkward and not very pretty. However 99/90/900 were all quality cars

      Like 2
  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. Assuming that parts are available and all there, this would make a great restoration project.

    Like 1
    • Dl

      I drove a 78 99. Fun car.. but trans parts, are hard to find.

      Like 1
      • BTG88

        Luckily, the 900 5-speed can be installed without too much hassle.

        Like 1
  5. chrlsful

    then the 9000 CDS (or whatever) and the Viggen (spelling)…
    almost over the top…but GM wuz not nice to them.

    I remember B4 the europeans found to make sales in USA they hada go upscale. We hada lill shop sold new saabs in my twn of 2K…they were 2 cyl 2 strokes…

    Our house? wife (ex) had the sabbs I had the wolwos. She hated it when I called them GMs’n Fords…

  6. Mark Evans

    Remember looking at a new 78 coupe in 79 but couldn’t get past the colour. Sort of a fluorescent lime green. Bought a 79 mustang with the 2.8 p.o.s. 6. Regrets I’ve had a few.

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