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Garage Find Swede: 1988 Saab 9000

Here in New England, there are two brands with a surprising amount of relevance despite being non-existent or a shell of their former selves: Saab and Volvo. The former is obviously a defunct brand, but you wouldn’t know it based on the number of old 900s and 9000s still running around. The latter still exists, but not in the way many of us recall the peak years of Volvo influence in the late 90s and early 2000s. This Saab 9000 garage find is one of those cars I’m not at all surprised to see emerge from hiding in what looks like very decent condition, and it’s listed here on Facebook Marketplace for $8,500 in Scituate, Mass.

A Volvo 850 or a Saab 9000 were popular options for the local accountant’s family car, which was then handed off to the kids when they got their driver’s license. As a testament to their durability, these same models seemed to withstand youthful abuse quite well, with heavily salted winter roads proving a more formidable opponent than teenage hijinks. This 9000 has supposedly been parked for 12 years, and the seller claims it “…fired off first crank” which would be very impressive for any older vehicle, let alone a neglected Saab. The photos are pretty poor but I don’t see any obvious body rot in the top picture in the vulnerable lower quarters.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

The 900 and its variants (Turbo, Convertible) is the vintage Saab model that gets most of the love and attention these days from enthusiasts. The 9000 Aero is a seriously capable performance car, but that hasn’t catapulted it to any sort of legendary status among 90s-era collectors. The less sexy models, like the 9000 CD and other base-spec offerings, are even less likely to get restored or otherwise cherished by collectors. This 9000 may be a decent survivor under all that dust, but I still think the seller is optimistic with his asking price. No matter what, I hope we see it on the local roads again soon.


  1. alphasud Member

    I remember this model well. This one appears to be in the color rosé quartz which was fairly popular in the 80’s. The pictures and description is so poor I can’t make out which trim level this is. one major hit is it’s the ZF 4HP18 transmission which was never a good performer and one would assume this is the 9000S model with the 2 liter engine. 88 was the first year for ABS brakes and also the only year the ABS did not have self diagnostic capability. So any faults will have to be sleuthed out using a break out box and a good DMM. A way around this was to install a 89 ABS ECU and add a wire in the comb connector to provide a ground to access flash codes.
    If this was a turbo it would a much nicer car to drive but still not on the level of refinement that came with the later refresh with the 2.3 engine and Trionic for the turbo models. If it’s not rusty might be worth 4K but definitely not the 8.5K asking.

    Like 3
    • Derek

      My dad had a 9000 hatch; the C pillars were much thicker than these ones, though, and rear vision was poor. I didn’t like it for that. It was fairly quick, though.

      Like 2
    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      Yep looks rose quartz, if its auto trans then yes eeeeewwww for sure.

      Like 2
    • SaabJockey

      $2500 and then add a zero for mild restoration under hood and replace exhaust, refresh exterior, replace all belts & hoses, flush all fluids and if not doing this yourself plan on paying $120+/hr labor unless you have a buddy with a Bendpak lift and a large tool kit. I can hook you up with some reliable Saab parts providers if interested.

      Like 0
  2. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Had 2 9000s & 9000t. Auto trans in these is sketchy at best. Add fluid to transmission & boink ! Hey doesn’t shift anymore. Cavernous rear seat my oldest 2 daughters grew up back there. Just a really cool way to get around town. When the timing chain makes that noise, oh you know it, then you replace it. You cant find more comfortable seats in a car today & I work with new Volvo daily.

    Like 2
    • SaabJockey

      Bob, I was blessed to have grown up in a Saab family. In the spring of 1980 my father came home in a new green 900T 3-dr. We had GM wagons with the rear facing seat but dad had wanted his own unique year around toy. A couple of years later my mom got a 900S sedan and in ’85 dad got his 1st of 3 SPG’s. Mom got another 900S sedan in ’87 & my father another SPG in ’88 blessing me with the black ’85 SPG, while my older sister got my mom’s ’84 900S upon her college graduation. I was able to get a used ’82 Volvo 240 GL as my winter car as I didn’t want to drive my SPG in the winter as my father had for 3 years. By ’97 my father had switched to 9000s & my mom a new Volvo 850 GLT, followed by a S70 that became my wife’s car when my mom went to the S60, but my father Stayed with Saab eventually switching to the 9-5 until his passing in 2009, and mom going back to Saab in 2008 getting a 9-3 Sport Combi, and then a 9-4x which she had to her passing. In the late 80s we stopped getting GM wagons and took both of my parents Saabs when we traveled as a family as I had 3 younger siblings who each got a Saab upon college graduation, fortunately they were 2.5-3yrs apart not putting my parents in a pinch regarding Saab purchases. In ’92 we had 8 Saabs in my family as I bought the ’87 9000S service loaner our Saab dealer was using as my winter car further protecting my SPG from winter exposure. Yes I still have it along with 4 other SPGs & 5-900Ts along with my father’s 2008 9-5 with under 23Kmi.

      Like 1
      • PJ


        Hope you don’t mind me asking you the following. How much do you want for that 2008 9-5 with 23k miles ?

        Like 0
  3. Paul in MA

    This is a $2500 car. I actually live right by there but no sense even looking at while is at this crazy price/

    Like 6
    • SaabJockey

      Paul can you swing by and grab some additional pics for us ?

      Like 0
      • Paul in MA

        I am going to go see this afternoon. I know right where this is. It will be interesting

        Like 1
  4. BTG88

    My Dad had an ’88 turbo manual in this color. It was a supremely comfortable and capable car. He sold it to a guy down the street with 300k on the clock. The neighbor continued to drive it for years. I owned a ’88 light blue turbo with a manual when I lived abroad in Sydney and it was a great commuter car. I’d have another one to add to my ’91 SPG.

    Like 1
  5. SaabGirl900

    I don’t that that’s Rose Quartz……..looks more like Sandstone to me. I have two Rose Quartz C900s…the colour is much lighter than the car in these photos. Admittedly, tho, these pictures are not the best.

    I had a ’92 9000 base…….last of the original body style before the CS series that began in 1993 (BTW, Jeff, the Aero came in with the CS series, not the first generation 9Ks. It was Base, S and Turbo before 1993). The car had zero options…not even a sun roof. It was a five speed and was naturally aspirated. I named him Snigel, which is Swedish for Snail, because that’s what he was. You didn’t time zero to sixty with a stop watch, you used a sundial.

    The car did save my life, tho. I was driving down the highway and an Audi stopped dead in front of me. I was in the trunk of the Audi before I could find the brakes. I walked away without a scratch. Snigel gave his life for mine. I wasn’t too sad about losing the car…..weird things would break in it that never broke in my 900s. And, in losing the 9000, I got my SPG, all around, a much better car.

    Like 4
    • BTG88

      I think it’s the same as my Dad’s old car – Carmosine Red Metallic.

      Like 1
  6. luckless pedestrian

    Had a ’96 9000CS… probably the best car overall I have owned (and I’ve had a bunch)… was my daily for over a decade… Seats were the best… put 200k+ on it with very few problems.. When it started to get a little crusty around the edges I passed it on (always inspect the upper passenger side rear shock mount on these). The guy I sold it to fixed the crusties and drove it another 40K until the head gasket went… He fixed the head gasket drove it a little more then sold it to some guy in VT where I lost track. Wish I could buy another…

    Like 0
  7. SaabGirl900

    Saab Jockey—

    Way cool! I have 2 99s (including a ’78 Turbo), 5 C900s (including an ’88 SPG and a ’90 Turbo ‘vert) a NewGen 900 and three real 9.3s…..a 2000 five door five speed, an ’01 Viggen and an ’02 five door autobox. I also have my brother’s ’75 164E living here as well.

    Still driving my Saabs becasue I can’t find anything as comfortable, as roomy or as quick in a new car……

    Like 1
  8. SaabGirl900

    My brother has a newish S60…nice car, but no Saab. There are plenty of techs in New England that fix them and parts support is good. I will drive my Saabs until I can no longer drive.

    Like 1

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