EXCLUSIVE: Turnkey 1971 Saab 96

Jesse MortensenBy Jesse Mortensen

We haven’t featured one of these in a while. If you’ve never taken a close look at one of these unique Swedish cars, then you really should. This one was found under a carport, but has been completely gone through. It’s located Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the seller is asking $13,500. You can use the form below to contact James if you’re interested.

From James – This car has been one of the most fun projects we’ve done in a while. This rare and unique find had been sitting underneath a carport for almost 17 years. Once the cobwebs were blown out, it began its journey back to the road.

We completely pulled motor and transmission and got them cleaned and rebuilt.  New plugs, wires, cap and rotor. New refurbished radiator. Rebuilt the 4-speed transmission and Saxomat automatic clutch. New expansion fuel tank, fuel lines, filter and pump. The original Saab service binder and all repair documentation.

Body is in great condition for its age.  To the best of my knowledge, it’s an unmolested car. We decided to show it as a rally car due to Saab’s famous racing past. It’s a great inexpensive and zippy little car!

Starts up every time. Small 1.7l/65 hp  v-4 cylinder motor that has been completely gone through. Great fuel economy to run around the city or through the country roads. Drives smooth, new Autolite carb, air filter, and a new fuel expansion tank.  Brakes have all been gone through. Newly rebuilt master cylinder, new brakes and drums. Shifts great, newly rebuilt manual 4-speed and new slave cylinder.

Nice clean interior, simple in design, cloth seats, manual windows and locks. Very user friendly.  Front seats are in great condition, but there is a small length rip over the back seat. The shop guys have been fighting to drive it, but you can own it and have it all to yourself.

Thanks for listing this one with us James. If any of you have a classic that you are thinking about selling, please consider listing here on Barn Finds!

Contact The Seller

Sorry, this one has SOLD!

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  1. RoughDiamond

    That is a neat little Saab and kudos to James and his shop crew for what appears to be a really thorough freshening up of the car. I have always wanted to drive one of those 4-speed column shifted transmissions. Sure hope someone on here ends up with it and spends many a happy mile driving it.

  2. Bingo

    Great machine. BF is awesome!

    • ckkurtz Member

      Yeah. And Yeah.

  3. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Looks like a great little Saab, but being the shy retiring type, I would need to ditch the stripes and numbers.

    Best of luck to James with the sale of this great looking and rare V4 Saab.

  4. duke

    STILL – NOT enough pictures

    • JBP

      7 photos is ok. Sometimes there is only one or two.

    • Brakeservo

      The “right” number of pictures is just the number you need to convince you to personally check it out. It’s a fool who buys simply from online photos. I wonder about those complaining about too few photos – how many cars have you actually bought, and how many simply want to be entertained with no intention to buy.

  5. ckkurtz Member

    Very cool!

  6. Russell

    I love it! I too would loose the numbers/stickers but would concider some big honkin’ rally lights, and set of rally appropriate wheels, or just leave the hub caps off. I have never even sat in one of these, but they have an appeal that is hard to describe.

  7. Bruce Best

    There are fast cars that are not much fun to drive, and others that are but with the exception of a mini cooper first generation, a 1984-85 Honda Civic S Hatchback and very few others a low power car that is fun is truly rare. This is one of those and having driven one that belonged to a friend a couple of years ago this is just that bright red will get you all the attention you will ever need.

    What is best is that everybody will wonder why you are smiling except for those of us that have driven one or have owned one. We will know and be smiling right there with you. I hope it is cared for.

  8. Greg

    Very cool ! Love it 👍

  9. Dave Wright

    Looks similar to one autocrossed in the early 70’s by a friend of mine in Photography school. It was always fun to watch it on 3 wheels in a hard corner at speed.

  10. John

    Pardon me for saying so; but, I spent significant time behind the wheel of a nice one in 71. As Wikipedia confirms, it provided 0 to 60 in the range of 16 seconds. That was too slow for this cowboy to be having fun driving it. At least, when I logged my miles, front wheel drive was less common. So, that part of my experience was a revelation. Now, plenty of econo boxes do the 96’s dance with more grace AND MORE SPUNK.

  11. Ken

    As with any of this era SAAB, a careful look at floor pan is needed to check for rust at floor, firewall junction and in truck floor. With transmission rebuilt, does that mean freewheeling works properly? Sax-o-mat is certainly an oddball in a V-4 this late. That was a bit like the VW auto stick shift fitted to Bugs. Seats look nice but are not original pattern.

  12. Brakeservo

    I think free-wheeling was only on the 2-strokes who could be damaged by extensive closed throttle coasting.

    • Puhnto

      My1968 V-4 had the freewheeling. Just FYI.

  13. Puhnto

    These are such great cars to drive. Solid as a rock.

  14. Rjc

    Great looking car, screams fun!
    Always like the look of these, would love to drive one some day.
    Good luck selling it James.

  15. Russell

    For those that want more pictures it’s also on eBay. Can anyone here school me on the different 4 speeds? I understand there is a smooth case and rib case but can’t find any specific info on them. By the way 0-60 may not be fast, but I bet all 16 seconds of it with the right exhaust is pure heaven.

  16. Paul B

    The V4 was never available with Saxomat. I imagine the seller is talking about free wheeling. I prefer the free wheeling to be operable. Some V4 owners don’t, but our family found it very convenient for in-town and highway driving and loved it. This looks like a nice solid SAAB, but if you’re serious about buying, make sure to see it in person or get good photos of all the typical 96 rust-prone areas. Recently I saw another listed that looked good from the outside but appeared to have serious rust issues underneath in the main beams that help keep the car together. This car looks really nice, but it is a little overpriced in my humble opinion. On the other hand, a 96 in good shape is one of the best, most practical and most fun cars in the world.

  17. Bill McCoskey

    In 1964 one of my father’s frat brothers was living in San Francisco and was planning on returning to upstate New Hampshire soon, so he went to [what I was told] the only SAAB dealer in California, and on the showroom floor was one of the 3 campaign rallye cars for the SAAB team. It had been on tour to all the SAAB dealers and ended up on the west coast at the close of the tour. The SAAB factory said sell the car. It was a very rare 1963 850GT Monte Carlo with the disc brakes, 3-cylinder 2-stroke, and oil injection, along with full rally preparation. It still had the lights across the front, and the Halda rally instruments. He said he was able to make a cheap deal because the dealer didn’t want it taking up showroom floor space anymore.

    He ended up staying in California until 1992 when he moved to Washington DC and drove the SAAB all the way cross the country. He and my dad always stayed friends, and now that he was in our area, I discovered the car when he drove it to visit my parents. [Dad had called & suggested I come out to see the car.] The first summer in DC made him realize the importance of A/C, and he bought another car because of the difficulty of adding A/C to the SAAB. I had said I wanted the car if he ever decided to sell, and I ended up buying it For $300. having spent it’s life garaged in California, with only one owner who didn’t race the car, the worst parts of the car were the shredded seat cushions!

    That car was a little terror on the road, but in a good way. Give it a curving old 2-lane road, and NOTHING could keep up with it! I loved when owners of cars like a Camaro or Mustang would laugh when I challenged them to a run, as long as I could pick the route! They were never laughing when they finally caught up to me at the end of the run!

    Sadly a big lightning bolt hit my shop storage building in 5/5/95, and the SAAB was one of the many cars in my collection that burned 100%. Other charred remains included 1932 Rolls-Royce Hooper sport saloon, 1935 Rolls-Royce James Young limo, 1935 Rover 12 with a Tickford drophead body, 1941 Cadillac convertible, 1950 Packard Convertible, and more.

  18. Iain

    I learned to drive in my dad’s ’72 burgundy Saab 96, in the UK. With a gearshift on the steering column and the huge steering wheel because of the front-wheel drive (no PAS back then) that you had to really haul on to make a wide turn — well, if you could drive that you could drive anything. The only thing that I didn’t love about it was the hand brake, which you had to really haul up and which came right up between the from seats. When parking in the countryside with a girlfriend, I’d put the car in reverse so that I could put the handbrake out of the way, if you know what I mean.


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