One-Owner Garage Find: 1979 Saab 99 GL

As Saab’s first “big” car, the 99 was quite a modern update to the beloved and quirky 96 and finding a 1979 Saab 99 GL in orange with a 4-speed and in this condition isn’t all that common anymore. This one can be found here on eBay in Attleboro, Massachusetts and the bids are just over $2,400.

At 14.5-feet in length, the Saab 99 may have been a big Saab but for countries like the US, it was more of a compact car in size. In typical Swedish tradition, Saab’s designers and engineers included features that some American cars didn’t have, such as four-wheel disc brakes and who can forget the unusual key location between the front seats? I remember the first time I drove one, it was so different and fun to drive and comfortable and sporty-feeling compared to a lot of cars that were available in the US at the time.

You can see how nice this car looks, and that color is hard to argue with. The seller thinks that it may have been repainted at some point and it was a one-owner car that they found in a garage in Rhode Island. It sounds like there may have been some bodywork completed at some point because they mention that there is very little bodywork or “plastic”, which is good to hear but also scary to hear that it has bodywork. The later Saab 900 would only come in a hatchback body style, at least to start with, but the 99 was a sedan with a trunk. I like this notchback design but that’s a personal preference.

There is some fading in this unusual fabric, and in almost Citroen-like fashion, it looks like it’s loose. I’m sure the adhesive has given out and seats that are in need of repair don’t bother me anymore since finding a great upholstery shop. I’m sure that most of you have favorite shops that you use for different aspects of vehicle repair and restoration and it’s a great feeling to know that you can trust someone to work on your beloved vehicles. The back seat looks fantastic and the fabric looks nice and tight.

The 1979 Saab 99 GL (Grand Luxe) would have had their 2.oL inline-four. It didn’t have a lot of power but the car only weighs around 2,600 pounds and the 4-speed manual transmission would have helped to make this a fun car to drive. Have any of you owned a Saab 99?

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Comments

  1. Geoff

    I own the 1980 version of this car (same Chamotte Beige color and all). This one looks a lot nicer than mine but has a few hundred thousand less miles on it. It’s a very early 1979 model (#790 off of Trollhattan line #2). The repaint looks better than the repaint on mine. The rust situation looks pretty good with some rot on the bottom of one door (hidden behind the rubber strip) that should be addressed and a hole in the floor that could be patched without too much fuss. Those seats actually aren’t too bad and you won’t notice any looseness of the fabric once you’re sitting on them. I’d probably try to find an upholstery dye to match and just dye them after checking that the seat bottom webbing (under the seats) doesn’t need any repair.
    They’re fun cars to drive and still pretty reliable for a vintage car.

    9
    • Daniel Mintz

      My mother had a green one similar to crayola crayon green. I have many memories of it. It was her favorite car

      4
  2. Rich

    I learned how to drive a stick when I was 15 in a 99 GL. I loved it. What a great car to drive.

    4
  3. DLM

    I had a 1973 99L from 1976 until 1979, when I sold it and bought a 1979 99GLE.
    The GLE was a four door plus hatchback version.

    In 1980 I bought one of the original 99 Turbo’s, wrecked lightly in the front, and brought it back to life. I think that was the ultimate 99.

    2
  4. local_sheriff

    I was too young to drive one myself when these were new but my folks always bought new SAABs. Spent countless hours and vacations in a ’74 99GL, ’80 99GL then ’86 900i. Had several relatives with 99s/900s too – heck even my FIL now drives an old 9-3!

    Drove the ’86 alot after I got old enough, was never a fan of SAABs myself much due to a kinda awkward driving position (I’m 6ft4).However I still remember the level of QUALITY that could be felt all throughout those cars even when they got old, particularly the almost clockwork-sounding doors

  5. john

    I had a 1978 99Kombi Coupe, beige in colour.
    Same as this but with a long, low angle rear door/boot/trunk that always leaked if you parked facing downhill, the car’s only fault. It was a fuel injected 2.0 manual and drove really well. It was off a farm. I recall spending hours picking the hay out of the carpet, had to rebuild the on the floor ignition as the farmer had broken it and it had a dangling replacement job.
    Fun to work on.
    This looks in good shape.

  6. squaretaper

    I bought this car, my first Saab… been wanting a 99 for years. Not new to old cars, in the driveway right now there’s a 1980 MB 300d and a 1987 Range Rover diesel coupe… looking forward to sorting things out and putting this fine car into the rotation…

    1

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