Nicest One Around? 1972 Saab 96

In 1960, Saab Automobile AB began making the Saab 96 and – by the time the last one rolled off the assembly line 1980 – more than one-half million copies were cranked out. They weren’t commonplace in the U.S. when new and even less so today. This beautiful example from 1972 has been pampered over its lifetime and can be found in Fremont, New Hampshire. The sweet little Sweden car is available here on eBay where the bidding stands at $11,800 with a reserve still to be met.

The word Saab is an acronym for Svenska Aeroplan Aktie Bolag which means Swedish Aeroplane Company, Ltd. Its Saab Automobile subsidiary began producing cars in 1945 and continued until 2011 when it filed for bankruptcy, having been owned in part by General Motors since 1989. The popular 96 model replaced the Saab 93 and enjoyed a 20-year run. It was an aerodynamic two-door sedan that seated four people and used a two-stroke motor at first and then a four-stroke later. For 1972, this would be the Ford Taunus V4 engine that displaced 1698cc’s and 65 hp. 1973 was the last year the Saab 96 was imported to the U.S.

We’re told the original owner kept the car for 30 years and only drove it in nice weather. It was passed down to a family member who used it for a couple of years and then put it into storage for another 17. Upon that individual’s passing, the seller bought the car, changed all the fluids, installed a new battery and had the whole thing detailed. The exterior looks beautiful and the paint shines up well; while it’s the original color, the paint is an older respray and there seems to be no evidence of rust or body damage. The interior is just as nice as the exterior and it would be a stretch to find anything critical there. The car has just 67,000 miles on the odometer.

The Saab 96 got more modern as time went on, dropping its in-house, three-cylinder two-stroke motor in favor of its own four-stroke. Later a Ford V4 replaced that and was just about as reliable as the seller tells us the car runs beautifully. The buyer will receive the original owner’s manual and a bill of sale. We’re told that cars built before 1999 do not come with titles in New Hampshire, so the buyer will receive notarized documentation that the seller feels confident will present no issues in being retitled in another state. I’ve heard arguments on both sides about that, so interested parties should know what they’re getting into.

This car is listed because the seller is a Saab collector and simply doesn’t need one more car. The resale value on these Saab’s aren’t easy to peg, but since this is a first-class edition, $18-20,000 might not be out of the question. But that would probably be limited to what another Saab aficionado would be willing to pay.

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Comments

  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Reminds me of the one Wheeler Dealers did a few years back. This one’s mint and I love the roof rack

    Like 4
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    I almost bought one this summer for 700 bucks; it was needy and a long way from home, so I passed. This one looks really nice.

  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    Oh, and good luck with the registration from NH. There WILL be an issue when trying to title the car in almost any state. Yeah, yeah, yeah go ahead and tell me I’m wrong, but I’m not!

    Like 3
    • Stan Marks

      In New Hampshire, 1999 and older does not come with a title but it is sold with a notarized Bill of Sale, previous registration and proper NH notarized paperwork so you can register and title the car in your state.

    • chrlsful

      “…good luck with the registration from NH…”
      May B I’ll tell ya something different than that. I register stuff there (& VT) all the time altho a non-resident. Ask a Cali resident Y all the CO/MT registrations.

  4. Spud

    Not to worry…this car will likely stay in New England (where the NH no-title thing is understood) if not New Hampshire. The longest trip it will make each year is to Swedish Car Day at the Larz Anderson Museum in the fall (starting up again next year, pandemic-willing). There, it will be in the company of its Saab brethern. There you would see that there are in fact quite a few as nice as this still around.

    Like 2
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    As Saabs go, this is the best looking I’d ever seen. I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had one like this. His was a navy blue colour. At the time, I didn’t find it at all attractive, at least not next to another Swedish car of the same vintage, the Volvo 144. But today, I find it quite attractive. If I knew someone who owns one, I’d love to go for a drive in one.

  6. Stan Marks

    To think, back then I thought Saabs were ugly, along with Citroen.
    Today, cars from the old days, are all beautiful, in their own way.
    This cream puff is worth every penny. IMHO

    Like 1
  7. DON

    Back in the early 80s a college student from Conn college came in to our junkyard with an artist who was doing a sculpture for the school. His name was Dustin Shuler . He said was looking for a car make into a “car pelt” He said he was looking for a Ferrari or a Porsche , and of course we weren’t going to donate one of them even if we did have one , so I brought him over to a Saab 96 that had just come in. It was clean, but this was pre internet and at the time no one wanted these cars . He loved the lines of the car so we shipped it to the college. Years later I looked up “Saab pelt” on my computer , and there was the car – it now hangs up on the side of a building in California ! Not the best ending for a car, but I guess it beats going to the crusher .

    Like 3
  8. DocW

    My brother’s father-in-law was an executive for SAAB here in the US. I removed the father-in-law getting a new SAAB car every year as a perk of his job. I remember him drive many a 70 and 80’s era SAAB. The one thing I remember most the ignition switch in a strange place. In the floor by the transmission shifter I think. These were oddly styled cars at the time but he loved them. Hope this one finds a good home.

  9. John

    Cool car.

  10. Steve

    Nice car. I had 2 back in the early 70’s. The sedan had the 3 cylinder 2 stroke engine and the wagon had the v-4 like this one.Probably the most interesting cars I’ve owned. Loved both of them. As for the NH title situation. I’ve purchased 2 vintage motorcycles from NH without titles within the last 9 years and had no issues registering them in MA. Also, they were issued titles by the MA RMV.

  11. Jim

    Oh how I wish there were oddball cars like this on the market today. Back then you could get something quirky and cute and really different.

    Always loved the look of this car. The family of a kid I knew in third grade had one. Loved it then and love it now.

    Like 1
  12. Beyfon

    These are fun cars to drive, peppy, good handling and brakes and the free wheel mechanism allows for shifting without using the clutch.

    Solid and reliable cars, the gearbox and free wheel were perhaps getting undersized with these larger engines and I twice had engines suddenly stripping the fiber gears for the camshaft. (Luckily no interference engines here!)

    Some incorrect information in the write up. I think the first SAAB cars came 1949, definitely not -45. And the 4-stroke engines were always Ford V4, but the earlier ones were 1.5L that came from Ford Germany’s 12M and 15M.

    • Stan Marks

      You’re both correct, sort of….

      Saab Automobile AB, was a manufacturer that was founded in Sweden in 1945 when its parent company, Saab AB, began a project to design a small automobile. The first production model, the Saab 92, was launched in 1949.
      It’s a shame, this great quality car, couldn’t continue. Don’t blame GM.

      Here’s an interesting story, from 2011.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2011/12/20/why-saab-had-to-die/#d669d9512512

      Like 1
  13. BimmerGuy

    Ah, yes, a NH Saab. I lived in the North Country in the late 60’s and early 70’s with an old VW bus and used Land Rover series 2 that is a whole different story.
    We saw it on the lot at Gallen Chevy in Littleton, NH and it was quirky enough to be a good candidate for us. The sales guy gave us the keys but we needed the manual to find reverse with the 4-on-the-tree shift. 6 months later we realized that the dirt road the PO chicken farmer lived on had almost perforated the front fenders. Later IU discovered that the transmission bearings were not the best but the whole drive train is held in with 3 bolts and a ComeAlong is invaluable.

    We loved driving it, it was comfortable and almost as economical as a Beetle but with a killer heater. You may note that I still miss it.

  14. Bimmerguy

    I don’t see any 96’s in the photos, not “identical.”

    Like 1
  15. chrlsful

    luv ta have this one in its waggy form – same yr/condition.
    Tanus v4 would B fun/interesting. All ways wanted one (at least for a few yrs to DD it, then decide. Kinda stuck on any ThriftPower vehicle right now).

  16. Mitchell Ross

    Maybe not commonplace when new in most places, but real common in NH and VT

  17. Goran Lundberg

    Not to be corrective for the sake of it, but Saab never produced a four stroke engine of their own for the 96 model; the (European) Ford V4 unit was used from the onset.

    Like 1

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