Not a Barn Find: 1977 Saab 99

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The seller of this 1977 Saab 99 here on eBay is quick to point out that this isn’t a barn find; instead, it’s an original paint survivor that’s in need of a new home due to a thinning of the herd. The 99 is fairly basic transportation and as an GL model it’s not nearly as hot as the Turbo, but for a charming Sunday driver, this Swedish coupe is an appealing choice. The seller is an enthusiast and it shows – the repairs and corrections seem to be very thoughtful in nature. 

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The Saab B engine featured here is of the fuel injected variety, making it a bit more powerful and certainly easier to find parts for compared to its cabureted brethren. The seller claims that when searching for a solitary oil drip, he ended up going through the entire engine to sort out any leaks. These motors were mounted back to front, with components like the clutch reversed from traditional engine layouts and mounted at the front of the engine bay.

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The seller made a reference to the car having too many miles, which I think is a bit over-the-top since there’s only 31,281 on the clock. The interior certainly showcases this low use with clean seating surfaces, but the rest of the photos are tough to view given their size. Still, there wasn’t much to go wrong inside since there’s no A/C, crank windows and manual steering. With the exception of a CD player, most of the interior remains as-delivered and blissfully simple.

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The seller has addressed several maintenance-related items, including new tie rod ends, a rebuilt steering rack, fuel system cleaning and coolant flush, as well as replacement shocks and an aftermarket ignition. It tracks down the road nicely and is reported to start up with ease. The paint is listed as Topaz Yellow in color, but it looks practically white in photos. No matter what, this Saab may not be a rocketship but appears to be a great way to ease into the enthusiast lifestyle. Do any of you remember driving one of these Swedish runabouts when new?

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Comments

  1. tirefriar

    Florida car with no A/C, hmmm….

    Ok, not really a deal breaker but being a ’77 m.y. is as it falls outside the California smog exemption cut off…

  2. Dan Farrell

    I had one of the first 99’s with electronic fuel injection. I loved that car it was so much fun to drive. Unfortunately the fuel injection broke 400 miles from home, also 400 miles from the nearest Saab dealer. That’s my Sob er. Saab story.

  3. Mr. TKD

    Truly an oddball analog driving experience. I love it!

  4. Howard A Member

    If I remember, these were very unreliable cars. So much so, and someone may correct me, tarnished the Saab name for years. Does anybody remember a movie called “Crazy People”? With Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah? Great movie. In short, Dudley Moore is an advertising exec, that goes off his nut, and commits himself to an institution. There’s all kinds of misfits, but one guy in particular, is infatuated with the 1977 Saab 99 and walks around mumbling facts about it. The mental patients turn out to be expert ad makers, and Dudley Moore makes a ton of money. In appreciation, he buys all the patients the car of their dreams, to drive around the grounds. He gets the guy a Saab 99, and he is just beside himself. Finally, all the patients take off in their cars, and the guy in the Saab is so excited, he turns the key, the starter spins and spins,,,nothing. The guy grins, with a big smile, and says, “Beautiful,,,,they weren’t supposed to start everytime”.

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Ha! I was thinking of the exact same movie as I was reading this. Thanks Howard!

  5. Kurt W. Krauss.

    Wrong seat covers for a GL.

  6. Billy Bob

    Aren’t these cars designed with hairdressers in mind?

    • Don

      In what sense?

  7. Rich T.

    I learned how to drive standard on a 73 GL when I was a teenager. Loved that car! I’ve since owned 3 more Saabs: another automatic 99 and two 900’s. Out of the three, the last one was a piece of junk, always breaking. Especially clutch cables. I became very adept at laying under the dash to get the cable through the firewall and connected to the pedal. I was glad to see that car go away. It killed my teen age infatuation for Saabs.

  8. rjc Member

    Yup, Howard , first thing that came to mind. fun movie.

  9. Gary Hamilton

    Owned a 71 99 in mid-late 70s.Had the Renowned (bad) TR motor.

    Paid $600 for really clean Car.

    Friend worked as Sr eng for Saab at the time.

    After I blew up the gearbox on the 59th st bridge and paid $900 for a rebuilt by Erikson automotive in CT I invested money in soccer ball wheels like this one, KamaI air dam, 185 70s, KYBs, Ansa and momo wheel.

    It was a great driving experience even though it was underpowered, but handled well and looked great.

    Too bad this is so far from me, I’d like to see this added to my stable.

  10. Brendan88

    My first car was a 1980 99 GLi. I got in my junior year in college with over 100,000 miles on the odo already. Brilliant car, especially in the snow. Never let me down, but after 10 upstate NY winters, the rust got to it.

  11. wuzjeepnowsaab

    What a wonderful car. Quite rare being a K-Jet model with a B engine AND a notchhback. A blast to drive these at full tilt. And what a refreshing change to see the ivory interior instead of that orange/red/brown they all seemed to have. Glad it’s too far away because this would be a perfect stable-mate for my 900 and 9000

  12. Matt Tritt

    I had one – not new, but just a few years old. Two issues were maybe not so ideal: The early Bosch injection ECU stopped working 300 miles from home! $500.00 for a new one!! I manged to limp home from my so-called vacation by hitting the ECU with my shoe. Started right up but only ran about 1/2 power. Changing the timing chain (or was it a belt?) was a real drag because of the engine being right up against the firewall. The engine was actually a Triumph TR-4, as I recall; great engine with power to spare. It would cruise @ 90 and feel like you were doing 60, and that can also be an issue for people like me with a lead foot. I thought it was an excellent car except for the danged ECU issue.

    • johnj

      Matt, engine had a timing chain, never a timing belt. The engine came from the Triumph Dolomite, not the TR4.

      • Matt Tritt

        Good to know. I got the TR-4 info from the Saab shop in Santa Barbara back when I had the car. I remember that it was possible for the chain to rub against the cam cover, or some other component, when it stretched far enough.

  13. R Russell

    I worked at a Saab, Subaru, Citreon and Peugot dealership in the mid Seventies. I thought Saabs were really easy to work on. The highlight of the job was when someone brought a 99 EMS in for service. Great car and tons of fun to drive.

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