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Mid-Engined Saab for $2,000


Normally we try to stay away from modified cars, but this one is so absurd that it deserves a mention. You didn’t misread the title, the engine is mounted mid-ship in this Saab. The seller claims that it one of two known cars and that it was built by a mechanic in Denver for drag racing. It isn’t something we would aspire to, but it might be fun to take around the block. Take a look at the ad on craigslist in Colorado Springs. Thanks Robert for the tip!


Here is a shot of the stock turbo engine that was shoved into the space where the back seat used to be. A firewall was built to protect the occupants, but it also severely limits rear visibility. Empty shock towers have us scratching our heads, but we bet it wasn’t too hard to hook up the rear wheels because of the 900’s unique transmission design. Just imagine the look on your mechanic’s face when you show up with this thing for a service.


The high bolstered seats and shifter look out of place in this Saab. We would probably want to tone down thing in here and go with some more subtle rubber, but that probably defeats the purpose of owning a vehicle like this. It was built to draw attention everywhere it goes and we bet it does get plenty. Giving it a more unassuming look might be fun too though.


Cooling is aided by the lack of rear windows, but the seller does mention that they have some air-scoops that fit the holes. There appears to be a big one on the roof too. Saabs are weird enough, but this one has taken it to a new level. We know it is all wrong, but we sort of want it. What do you guys think? There has to be worse ways to spends two grand, right?


  1. Kyle Munz

    That looks like the radiator under the roof scoop.

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  2. Dolphin Member

    This might be a good build, but I don’t know enough about it.

    What transmission?
    What rear axle?
    It runs excellent, but how does it drive?
    Will it drive more than 1/4 mile at a time?
    If a drag car, why the 16-gallon tank, carpet, soundproofing, horn?
    Has it ever been driven on public roads?
    Is it legal to drive on public roads?

    The word ‘absurd’ in the lead-in might just be the right word here, but more information would help.

    Bottom line: Why?

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    • Larry R

      Question in asking why not. Looks cool and super weird. I’d drive it like I stole it but more info would be nice

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  3. Chris Bater UK

    The more you study the photo of the “engine bay” the more intriguing the engineering thats been poured into this project becomes. Clearly the (an) engine has been transplanted into the rear seat area. The engine is a Saab unit, I recognise the Triumph Dolomite block, but its mounted complete with steering rack in the boot (trunk)? Does this adaption require the use of the/a front subfame, in which case is the original engine still in the front, the ride height above the front tyres (tires) would suggest all is normal. Is this a straight 8 Saab 900, a weird but entertaining idea!? Empty shock towers?,….is this because the whole of the front inner wing area has been transplanted as the original rear platform would not contain enough engineering for the output of the turbo unit, in which case some serious butchering has been going on and to the credit of the guy with the meat cleaver, it a very credible job done. Would love to know more.

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  4. Gary Fogg

    I dig it.

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  5. Chris Bater UK

    Ah- ha just been Craiglist, sadly no second engine just an intercontinental fuel tank big enough to worry the Middle East, probably more necessary to keep the nose down at speed than operational range. I know Saab were struggling towards the end, but somehow I doubt this was the answer

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  6. 88R107

    Weird in a good way. Would expect nothing less from a SAAB.

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  7. jim s

    i see the steering rack behind the motor so it looks like the transaxle/halfshafts and rest of front drivetrain was moved to back. to me it is about what i could get parting it out.

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  8. stigshift

    Ummmm, no thanks.

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  9. Joe Howell


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  10. davew833

    Yes, why do this if you’re just going to move the original (or comparable) engine from front to back? Now if he’d stuck a SBC or something truly off-the-wall in the back, I’d be intrigued.

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  11. rustylink

    “every drive in this car is an event!” ohhhh I bet it is…..

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    • Dolphin Member

      Especially if it steers from both ends—-the perfect circus car.
      I can see the clowns havin’ a rip roaring time in this, going around in circles…and circles…and…

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  12. coru

    considering saab uses the transmoilpanission set up, they would have had to keep the trans in place. I am guessing he welded up the steering rack. and just welded the front subframe in backwards. interesting, but of no value. maybe a lap or two for kicks

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  13. paul

    Seems odd to go through all that & use the same motor. The guys in my local & national Corvair club do this to their Corvairs but put a V8 in it, the concept sounds good but to me their is too much of the uni body cut away to accomplish this & still have a rigid uni body.

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  14. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Friend Tomy Turbo, God rest his soul, would tell me tales of running a stock Saab 99 at the local drag strip, loaded with coolers full of beer & passengers on board. If you think a Saab is slow you haven’t done your homework.

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    • paul

      No,I actually owned 1 of these awhile ago & liked them very much, I think the motor belongs where it was designed.

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  15. Mark E

    No, I’m a Saab fan, and though I haven’t driven one, I’d expect a turbo to be fast. But to go through the difficulties involved in simply moving the engine I’d have to ask WHY? The only thing I can think to do with this (if I got it very, VERY cheap) is to find another Saab turbo engine and stuff it in where it belongs. Two engines and all-wheel drive would push this from just plain weird to outright cool…

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  16. Horse Radish

    Thank God for unemployment checks and/or welfare.
    Some people just have too much time on their hands. (but it beats having this guy burglarize my house, while I am gone !!)
    AND luckily there are tons of (wasted) resources in this ever growing throwaway society.
    Go at it, it’s a free country.

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    • paul


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      • Horse Radish

        wasted time is all I am saying.
        Whoever could just donat time to the peace corps .

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  17. Larry

    Just when you think you’ve seen it all !!! Why all the trouble to put a “stock” Saab engine in the back seat. I will say it’s different.

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  18. Joe Howell

    Clown car gave me an idea, maybe he did so he could pull wheelies going forward. I still remember the “Honest Charlie” speed shop catalog with a cartoon cover of him doing a wheelie while going backwards in a front wheel drive Olds Toronado.

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  19. Rik

    So…if the FWD unit was moved to the back…what kind of steering/suspension is now up front?

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  20. cameron

    Considering the geographical proximity of this car to Pikes Peak, I suggest the builder had aspirations of hill climb runs instead of drag racing.

    I also remember seeing a Hot Rod magazine from the early 80’s where a guy had put a blown 403 Olds in the backseat of his Cutlass. Unique is the first word that I think of.

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    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      Cameron, I’m thinking without talking with the owner of this beast, you probably have solved (this) riddle. Makes sense, in a way Sherlock Holmes might deduce.

      Horse Radish, sure, devote time to the Peace Corps & arrive in a Saab !

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