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Freewheeling 1972 Saab 96

1972 Saab 96 Side

It must be Saab day today here at BarnFinds.com! Here is another oddball Saab that would be fun take on a vintage rally. This is a 1970 Saab 96 and it is located in Maine. Find it here on eBay with four days remaining and bidding at $2,000. This car has some quirky features that you will either love or hate…

1972 Saab 96 V4 Engine

Early 96s featured a two stroke engine, but this example features the Ford V4 that Saab started using in 1967. The two strokes required the owner to add oil to the fuel at each fill up or it would not lubricate correctly. The two stroke would be tons of fun, but this car may be easier to live with everyday because it would do away the blue smoke and chainsaw sound. Look at how far forward that little 1.4 liter engine sits!

1972 Saab 96 Interior

Besides the body styling, one of the most unique features of the 96 was the transmission. It was just a normal four speed, but there was a freewheel device attached to it. The freewheel was originally added to the two stroke engine to prevent it from blowing up when deaccelerating, but Saab continued using it because it helped with fuel economy. Combine the freewheel with the column mounted shifter and we are sure this car provides a very unique driving experience.

1972 Saab 96 Pedals

Since 96s are front wheel drive, they are able to have flat floors. No transmission tunnel here to get in the way. The only problem here is that the front wheel wells protruded into the passenger compartment and made it necessary to offset the pedals a little. When looking at one of these in person, it seems that the pedals are almost in the middle of the car. We have never driven one of these though so we cannot say if it affects the driving position. Any readers here with 96 ownership experience?

1972 Saab 96 Head Rest

Volvo had been building cars for many years before Saab and had a focus on safey, so Saab had to follow their lead while still being innovative. These cars came with many safety features standard such as seat belts, headrests, and dual circuit brakes. Saab eventually went on to sell more cars in Sweden than Volvo for many years.

1972 Saab 96 Drivers Side

After learning about the 96’s extensive rally history, we have grown to really appreciate these strange looking little cars. The Saab 96 truley was an unconventional and innovative car in its time. The car featured here has its flaws, but it is a driver so we hope someone scoops it up and enjoys it.


  1. jim l

    Had a 67 two stroke the best fun car ever. Great car had that midwest rust problem. But no car has ever been more fun to drive ralley style on midwest gravel country roads espically in the western part of the state where they go up and down through the river bluff areas.

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  2. Pat

    A friend had one of the 2 strokes and if you did get in too deep in a corner and rolled it you just had to roll it back on its top and give it hell again.

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  3. rob morgan

    The finest car I had driven in snow,
    I had a rust bucket one in the mid seventy you had to be brave to drive it in freewheel.
    but a brilliant car

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  4. Doug

    I bought a 72 Saab 96 new. My car was just this color, Tyrol Green. It had a heated driver’s seat and some nice Hella driving lights mounted on the bumper. I drove it to 150,000 before trading it on the newer 99. My favorite car ever. I wish I had bought two and kept one in the barn for a couple of decades. Very safe car, incorporated many safety features not seen until decades later with other brands. Saab’s rich history of Rally success was due to this car. I installed Bilstein Shocks, stainless steel exhaust system and the driving lights. It was great in the snow and I won a few ice time trial races in this on the local lake.

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