Eternal Optimist? 1968 Saab 96 V4

A classic car will only ever be worth what someone is willing to pay for it. This has seen situations over the years where some nice vehicles have sold for mere pennies, while some pretty dilapidated examples will command stratospheric figures. With that in mind, ponder how much you would be willing to pay for this 1968 Saab 96 V4. The owner refers to it as being rare and unique, and I’m not about to argue that point. It is located in Nofim, Israel, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Have you finished pondering the price? The BIN has been set at $10,000, but the option is available to make an offer.

It isn’t clear just how long the Saab has been sitting in its current location. If I were to hazard a guess, then I would say that it is somewhere in the vicinity of a very long time. Probably this car’s saving grace is the fact that the climate around Nofim is not what you would generally class as wet. That means that there is a possibility that the vehicle’s underside is quite dry and solid. Having said that, this rust at the base of the A-Pillar doesn’t bode well for the rest of the car. The Indigo Blue paint is badly faded, and there is plenty of surface corrosion in evidence. There are several dings and dents around the body. Damage on the front has also claimed some of the trim and the grille. All of the glass appears to be present, although the rear window is broken.

It’s easy to lift the hood of a modern car and complain about all of the plastic add-ons that conceal the engine. In this Saab, that is hardly an issue. I am assured that there is a V4 lurking in there somewhere. I’ve seen plenty of engines that have needed a good clean with a pressure washer to remove the built-up grease and grime. I have to say that I haven’t seen that many that need to be hit with a weed-whacker! Hiding in the shrubbery is the 1,498cc Ford V4 engine, which is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. This engine would have pumped out 73hp, and while the 96 was not fast, it was notoriously long-lived. In fact, the Saab 96 still regularly competes in various levels of Scandanavian domestic rally competition with some distinction. It isn’t clear when this V4 last fired a shot in anger, but I suspect that it was a while ago. There is no word on whether the engine even turns freely, which makes this a car with a lot of question marks hanging over it.

Being blunt, there really isn’t a lot that can be salvaged from the inside of the Saab. All of the upholstered surfaces have disintegrated, as has the seat foam. The dash wears a solid coating of surface corrosion, the dash pad is cracked and fractured, and the door trims are missing. Perhaps the most significant concern is the apparent signs of rodent infestation. I suspect that things don’t smell that pleasant inside the 96. It also makes me wonder what those critters have been gnawing on. Rodents demonstrate a strong liking for insulation material, which has to make the state of the wiring harness now quite questionable.

Judging by his attitude in the listing, I would have to say that the owner of this Saab 96 really loved his car when it was roadworthy. I don’t think that this affection has diminished that much. It seems that Mother Nature has gotten ahead of him, and is slowly but surely consuming this classic. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this owner would seem to believe that the Saab is worth the $10,000 asking price. Me? I don’t think so. Will he get his price? Once again, I don’t think so. However, I have to wish the owner luck. I suspect that he might need it.


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Wow what a joke. What is wrong with the world?? If you want a Saab 96 with a V4, check Columbus CL, and buy that one for just $750, and it’s in way better condition than this basketcase, I know because I looked at it. This listing is certainly a farce.

    Like 14
  2. Steve Bush Member

    Agree with Rex about the listing being a farce. The seller apparently mostly sells cameras and camera accessories and seems somewhat unfamiliar with English or the car he is supposedly selling.

    Like 4
  3. Per Member

    This is junk. They made 1500cc or 1700cc v4 engine, and never 1600cc.

    Like 2
  4. Tom c

    Ten thousand ? People crack me up.

    Like 4
    • Mike

      $10k AND have to pay for shipping from Israel.

      Like 1
  5. Jim
  6. KEVIN

    windshield looks good

    Like 1
  7. Ivkc

    I suspect a misplaced decimal point
    $100.00 is more like it

  8. Bill McCoskey

    Trying to sell on USA ebay means an expectation the car would be shipped from Tel Aviv port to east coast USA, that’s about $2,500 for a 20′ container, as it’s a non-running vehicle.

    A more realistic price:

    300 New Shekel [about $100] as it is,
    600 New Shekel [about $200] with the weeds gone.

    It’s a parts car, nothing more.

    Like 2
  9. Little_Cars

    Interesting to note that A) the value of a car in the weeds is exponentially higher than the IQ of the seller, and B) even in Israel, mother nature will eventually claim a car and bring it back to earth. Bonus points to the seller for leaving at least one window down to add to the corrosion. I know of a property owner near me that has dozens of these sitting in a field — you could probably buy the whole hoard for what this seller is asking for one.

    Like 2
    • Poppapork

      Any two stroke models? What state? Im dying to have something 2 stroke in the states

      Like 2
      • Little_Cars

        Tennessee. In the middle of the state. I have the property owner’s name and number but he was probably 80 years old when I saw him last, around 2016.

        Like 2
  10. chrlsful Member

    both this and the Hemming’s listings are as outrageous as the current administrations interest in creating a space force/outer space police.

    At 1st it is upsetting, then I get in my rational mind and have to laugh.
    I echo the other’s “WTF” comment.

    Like 3
  11. CJinSD

    If I were selling a Saab, I’d be tempted to take advantage of the rationality of their market too.

  12. Mitchell Ross Member

    The market for classic cars in Israel is very high. Almost all their classics have been imported as classics in the last 20 years when it became legal to do so. When I lived in Israel in the 1980s, there were still lots of 50s and 60s cars on the road in the hands of poorer people.No one valued them and as soon as someone got the money for a newer car they were gone. Back then, no Israeli could even fathom the idea of an antique shop, New was always better than old. Now, with financial prosperity, things have changed but so many of the cars originally sold in Israel are gone, so importing from Euorope and the US is what’s done. I looked at some prices for restored cars to give you all some Idea of what’s for sale now

    1965 Citroen 2CV Show quality $21,000
    1966 Rambler American 440 4 door nice driver cond $16,000
    1959 Ford Prefect driver condition $7500.

    So while prices are more than double what they are here, even free, that Saab could not be restored for what it would be worth done

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Wise commentary, Mitchell Ross. For some of us who have never left the US it helps to understand the perpective from other countries and other peoples. “No Israeli could even fathom the idea of an antique shop” is quite telling. We Americans seem to have gone absolutely nuts over nostalgia and material things that were meant to be truly disposable. Some people collect old McDonalds Happy Meals or McCalls magazines? Collectible? Okay, whatever! The same is true for old cars. I’m sentimental and nostalgic about many that I’ve owned when they were simply machinery to get from point A to B. But I’m not going to pay a third of my annual salary to relive the past.

      • Bill McCoskey

        I lived in Germany in the early 1970s. It was the beginning of prosperity for many German citizens, and most wanted nothing to do with old stuff. Vintage cars from the 1950s and 1960s could be bought for almost nothing, especially the micro cars.

        I was offered cars like the BMW Isettas, the Messerschmidt Kabinrollers, and especially the French micro cars [I lived near the French border], all running with the current TUV inspections, for as little as 300DM, when the Deutsche Mark was worth about 30 US cents!

        I bought 3 cars while there: A 1956 Chrysler Imperial [it was the Paris auto show car] for $100, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTB 2+2 for $1,200, and a 1963 Studebaker lark for $300. I brought the Imperial back to the US, sold the other 2 in Europe.

        I returned to Germany shortly after the reunification, and I was offered East German Trabant cars for next to nothing. It was the same situation, everyone coming over to the west wanted a modern western European automobile, and having a newer Mercedes was high on most lists!

        I saw many Trabi’s abandoned, one even sitting atop a dumpster! I had returned to Germany looking for Tatra cars [I eventually brought 2 back to the USA], and at the time I never thought the Trabant cars would have any value in my lifetime. I shouda brought a couple of them back as well. Today, a rough Trabi typically sells for about $5k in Europe.

        Like 1

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