Mechanic’s Personal Car: 1978 Saab 99 Turbo

As someone who is currently on the hunt for a vintage Saab, I’ve come to realize that Saab owners are a passionate bunch. Despite the fact that the company has effectively been dissolved and parts supply is been greatly reduced, the higher performance models are still in high demand and trade for surprisingly high numbers. That being said, this well-preserved Saab 99 Turbo is going for top dollar at the moment, with the seller asking a heady $22,000 for a survivor with an unverified 36,000 miles. Find it here on craigslist and located in Park City, Utah.

The 99 was Saab’s first measurable burst into the mainstream consciousness of enthusiasts, and the turbocharged model was a revelation. It provided impressive performance courtesy of a little company called Garrett, reaching a top speed of 124 m.p.h. from a small, 2.0L powerplant. The turbo models also received front and rear spoilers, distinctive cloth bucket seats, and the desirable “Inca” wheels, all of which this example retains. The turbocharged performance changed the 99 from a well-built hatchback to use for commuting and family-ferrying into a complete all-rounder, capable of checking all the major boxes of an enthusiast-minded daily driver.

Fortunately, despite the clear appeal to drivers who wanted some extra speed out of their Swedish hatchback, these 99s never really became the vehicle of choice for the boy racer set and remained in the care of Saab brand loyalists who kept them in good order. If you find a 99 Turbo in rough shape today, it’s more a result of ongoing daily use through the snow and the slop, as they were the vehicle of choice for New Englanders that didn’t want to manage a two-car lifestyle – one for summer and one for the depths of winter. Still, despite its inherent goodness, the 99 Turbo is not a car you find in any level of great supply today, and examples like this only come along every so often.

That being said, the seller is still aiming for the moon with the asking price. I’ll grant that it seems somewhat unrepeatable, with beautiful bodywork, a bone-stock drivetrain, and lots of heavy lifting recently done under the hood. The seller details having the front ball joints replaced, full head rebuild, cooling system revamped, and new fluids (brake, transmission, oil, antifreeze, etc.) to the tune of $5,000. The seller purchased the car from a Saab mechanic who owned it for the last 38 years, and while it still has some minor sorting left to address, it does seem likely it’s one of the best Turbos left. Is that worth $22,000?

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Comments

  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Shifty Flipper Alert!! I’m pretty sure that this car sold last year for $6500. Add his 5K in repairs (if true??) and that is a whopping 10.5K flip. Sorry, but it is people like this that are ruining the classic car hobby. That is why I don’t like SOME flippers! I will clarify (so I don’t get yelled at again) that not all people that buy and sell cars are bad, just the one’s that take advantage of other people. IMO, there is nothing wrong with making a decent profit on your investment, but it is a different story when you gouge.

    Like 26
    • Phlathead Phil

      Yes Sir! The only thing turbocharged here is the SKY high price.

      Whot phool wud pay dat much muny fors a car like dis?

      Like 1
  2. misterlou Member

    Sold in July for $11,000.
    https://www.saabnet.com/tsn/class/99.html

    Like 14
    • Superdessucke

      And quite frankly, $11k was probably a record for one of these. Apparently however, $22k is no longer much money to some and that’s fine, but keep in mind that Saab enthusiasts, like Volvo enthusiasts, do not pay a lot for cars. So the ideal buyer for this is someone unfamiliar with that niche of the hobby.

      If you ever want your money back, better put it in bubble wrap and don’t put miles on it. Otherwise it’s going to depreciate like a new Mercedes!

      Like 7
      • Superdessucke

        And that was the ask, on a Saab board. I wouldn’t be shocked if the actual purchase price was less than 10k.

        Like 6
  3. Steve Bush Member

    Nice job misterlou! Obviously fraudulent as it’s the same ad and pics but the location has moved from Wisconsin to Salt Lake City. By the way, Bluetec, I believe you misspelled the first word in your post.

    Like 12
  4. alphasud Member

    I was a factory Saab tech in the 90’s. I really never liked working on this series. Weak engines and gearboxes when compared to a 89 or newer 900. 22K is pushing it and I would think 11-14K would be more realistic.

    Like 5
    • Howard A Member

      I agree. Being a “mechanics car” might make me a bit nervous, as a mechanic would have to own one. Saabs were great cars, but didn’t handle modern technology well. Same old thing, how many 99’s do you see today? Someone thinks that justifies 5 figures.

      Like 3
  5. Haig L Haleblian

    Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. If it sells for anywhere near asking I’ll be surprised. Most likely he’ll be stuck with his “investment”.

    Like 6
  6. Murray shane

    Let’s get this straight.
    Bluetec… you don’t like some flippers it they make to much money on a car but if they make a little money that’s ok? What’s the difference. Did you ever buy a house and some years later sold it for a huge profit? Same thing. Profit is not a naughty word. Thats what makes the world operate. If someone buys a product for what they think is a great price and think they can sell it for a profit no matter if it is a small profit or big profit great for them. And if someone wants to purchase it from them and they are comfortable with that price, good for them as well. Like anything we like and buy. If we feel it is worth the price then we buy it. If not we don’t. Let’s get off of dogging the seller and why not dog the buyer for what we thing they paid too much for. That would be a real laugh. It’s not my business to insult you when you buy something you really like and I come along and tell you how you paid too much because I saw it for sale cheaper 4 months ago. I personally like just telling someone I am happy for them and congrats on their purchase. If two people agree on a price as far as I could see there is no taking advantage going on. Great for the person who sold it and equally great for the person who bought it. Hooray for profit. I guess we should all hate the American Pickers because they make profit buying and selling items including cars once in a while. Let’s get real here. Let’s not call the kettle black. Or are we just jealous that some people are savvy enough to do this and some aren’t. Let’s not forget the time it takes and putting out the initial investment on a hope that you will make money and not lose as I am sure that happens sometimes. You can’t always know if your going to win or lose till it sells. And what is a flipper….someone who buys and sells a product without a business license. So we are only talking about a person that is not paying taxes to the state on their profit. Let’s get real people. I have bought many cars and other items in my life that I have paid more than the market dictates just because I want it and I am happy. And when I sold them after my thrill is gone and lost some money. Oh well. And if I made some money. Hooray. Welcome to the real world folks

    Like 13
    • Haig L Haleblian

      Well said.

      Like 6
    • That AMC guy

      I have no problem with flippers who put added value into a vehicle and sell for a profit. Sounds like a good honest business to me. The ones I can’t stomach are flippers who pull an old junker out of someone’s barn or field for a few hundred bucks and immediately try to get huge $$$ for it while still sitting dirty on a trailer with flat, dry-rotted tires and an engine that “ran when parked” decades ago.

      Like 5
      • ken tilly UK

        As Murray Shane commented, what’s the difference. I owned a classic car sales business a few years ago when I found a klunker that I bought for a couple of thousand, towed it away, had it serviced and tuned up to be a good runner, and sold it for many thousands more than I paid for it. The buyer contacted the previous owner to make some enquiries about the early life of the car and told him what he had paid for it. Next thing I know is that I receive a lawyers letter demanding lots of money as I had knowingly knocked the sellers asking price down to rock bottom and I should have told him the market value of the car when fixed. I returned the same letter to the lawyer with a hand written remark that said “good luck with that” and never heard another word from either the seller or the lawyer.

        Like 7
    • Bryan Cohn

      What is wrong with car flippers is the same thing wrong with house flippers: They don’t do quality work. They don’t follow industry standards. They don’t care about the end user. Flippers could sell cars or houses or tennis rackets or tuba’s, all they care about is maximum profit at the buyers expense. I’ve been screwed by home inspectors, realtors, mortgage brokers, home remodelers, flippers and the like twice, never again. When an entire industry is crooked, and home real estate is just that, then yeah, a house flipper, like a car flipper has earned their poor reputation. Buying a car for $11k and trying to flip it for double that a few months later with minimal proof of improving the car? That’s simply supporting the thinking that flippers suck. It’s not the money being asked, its that they try to take advantage of people. Why is that ok in the name of profit?

      Like 5
      • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

        Perfectly said! I was just about to respond to Murray shane’s post, but you beat me to it and summed it up 100%. Thanks to misterlou, we know that this seller (FLIPPER) is dishonest and is lying about the history of the car and can not be trusted. I would run from this car as fast as I can for that reason alone. I have absolutely no issue with someone making a decent profit on an investment (car, house, boat, or whatever), but gouging someone and taking advantage of them is not right, period.

        Like 2
    • chrlsful

      musta hita nerve. But…
      I agree. Blue’s 1st wrd is spelled wrong. Nother crowd that wins w/the modern puter age. Like the middle managers that got tossed w/the corporate wholesale use of the desk top, us who fix’em up, enjoy’n sell are (or just put some good labor/prts in) left out…more appreciation for the buck than the nature of a classic. I turned a few 900’s but not like that.

      Like 2
    • Superdessucke

      This is one situation where Blutec will get his wish and the flipper will be left holding up his gym shorts. Saab and Volvo enthusiasts are good as a group on keeping prices way down. The only way this sells for even half of the asking price is it someone who has no clue about the value of these cars comes in and throws the money at it, which is a longshot. No Saab affectionado is going to buy this for more than 8k. This is going to be a tough go for the seller.

      Like 3
  7. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    SAAB story

  8. Tony Goalie

    I’m curious as to why no one has asked the obvious question…why did a “mechanic owned” vehicle need 5000.00 dollars worth of work?

    Like 2
    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      All cars need $5k worth of work.

      Like 1
  9. Phlathead Phil

    Well, this entire comment segment has been lively.

    Truth on both sides of the issue (imho)

    And yes, house flippers do cut corners drastically, as do car flippers, but not in EVERY case scenario,(imho.)

    I think Mr. Bluetec320 was just trying to send up a flag, or is that spelled phlagg?

    Even typos get the meaning across. I spell differently for entertainment.

    Youse guys can phigure that one.

    I like a profit. I like honesty too.

    Like 1
    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      Okay, I’m confused, or I simply don’t get it?? What did I spell wrong? I meant to use the word “Shifty”

      shift•y shĭf′tē
      adj. Having, displaying, or suggestive of deceitful character; evasive or untrustworthy.

      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Play on words, Blue.
        The indication is that the spelling should have two t’s, with the f deleted.
        At least, that is how I read the comments….

        DDB

        Like 1
      • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

        @DayDreamBeliever Lol, Ha!, I get it now. Thanks!
        I was actually careful not to do that when posting because I didn’t want to break the “profanity” rule. I guess that one went over my head!

        Like 1
  10. John H

    Nothing says class in a For Sale ad like a pic in a random parking lot where you just see the nose of the car, or two pics taken at night in front of your favorite gas pump.

    Lotsa luck at that price!

    Like 2

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