Rust Free Corn Popper: 1963 Saab 95

You may not think that it’s possible, but this 1963 Saab 95 wagon is a seven-seater. I kid you not. It won’t hold seven Shaqs or seven Larry Birds or even seven of me – God forbid there would be such a thing as seven of me. But nonetheless, this sweet Swede can cram seven folks in it and they would all have a place to sit. The seller has this rare car listed here on eBay in Marion, Kentucky and the current bid is $3,500, but the reserve isn’t met yet.

The famous Bullnose Saab, these are rare cars and I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw it as I’m a wicked huge fan. A 2-door, 3-cylinder, 7-seat wagon? This Saab wagon has a few prime numbers related to it, maybe that’s why so many professors drove them. Saab made their 95 wagons for a solid two decades, from 1959 to 1978. If you see a resemblance to the earlier Saab 93 Bullnose sedan, that’s what the early 95 wagons were based on and they’re as rare as political harmony.

The seller tells us that this is a New Mexico car and as such, there is no rust or rot, as in no rust holes, just basically surface rust. That makes it even more enticing. They show us the underside and in one photo it almost looks as if at one point someone jacked up the car in the wrong spot, it looks a little crunched, but maybe it’s from something else. The seller restores these cars but they’re way overbooked so it has to go. They started doing some work, however, including powder coating the wheels, adding new tires, and having the gas tank restored.

This car will need a full restoration inside and out and it won’t be cheap or easy but if it’s as solid as they say it is, and it looks like it is, that’s half the battle. So, where are the extra two people going to sit to make this a seven-seater? Right here. Hey, I didn’t say that it was comfortable or safe, but most of us lived through worse things than that. Saab removed the rear jump seat in 1976 making it a 5-seater, which oddly enough is yet another prime number. Weird.

As if a bullnose Saab wagon wasn’t desirable enough for those of us who crave unusual vehicles, this one has their famous 841 cc, three-cylinder two-stroke, sometimes referred to as a corn popper due to its distinctive sound. They say that it runs well. This is a dream car for me but now isn’t really a good time to spend $20,000+ on a restoration project. Have any of you owned an early Saab 95 wagon with a three-cylinder engine?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Nice find and really solid so it shouldn’t be too bad to clean up. They aren’t worth a full restoration unless it’s a labor of love but rather a sympathetic repair to make it enjoyable to drive. The transaxle has a one way clutch so you freewheel going down hills. They did that because you would seize the engine since no lubrication happens when the engine isn’t consuming fuel. I would imagine engine parts are hard to come by. Later models switched over to the little V4 which is a version of the cologne V6 used in the Ford Tanus and the Capri.

    Like 3
  2. Geoff

    Oh wow, a bullnose wagon! Quite rare. I have the sedan (model 96) version. My friend maintains a registry of bullnose 95s, I seem to remember that he had about 15-20 on his registry (in the US) and only 3-5 of them are registered.

    I stumbled across a garage a few years back that had a rough one out in their lot. When I went inside to inquire they had a picture of my friend’s car hanging on the wall as inspiration for their restoration.

    Like 5
  3. Dontexhale

    When I was in high school, all the cool kids had 96s. Even then, the 95s were rare as hen’s teeth. What a find!

    Like 1
  4. Husky

    My neighbour Mr Arvid Nilsson here in Sweden had one (my father had a bull nose sedan with suicide doors). In the summer, Arvid gathered all boys in the neighborhood, 2 in the front passenger seat, 4 in the back seat and 3 in the reversed way emergency seat and drove us the one mile way to the lake for swimming. That was great times😊

    Like 9
    • Husky

      This happened a in the 1960s

      Like 2
  5. Todd Fitch Staff

    One of Erik Carlsson’s favorite Saabs! I may be repeating myself, but imagine the sound of that corn-popper screaming through a snowy forest with no muffler – glorious! I mean, how many seven-passenger three cylinder two-strokes have ever existed? Thanks for a great piece on this fascinating wagon! http://saabworld.net/wp/erik-carlssons-six-favorite-saab-cars/

    Like 6
  6. JOHN S BARNES

    Saab three cylinder and V-4’s were popular with the scientists at the
    laboratory where I was employed in the 70s. One summer day my
    supervisor asked me to help with removing a centrifuge from the back
    of a V-4 wagon. Thinking it was a small one thought it was odd,but,
    duty calls. After taking a look knew why,it was a full size floor model
    that literally filled the rear compartment, requiring the use of a fork
    lift to extricate it. I asked said scientist how did the Saab handle with
    all that weight in the back,”hmmm, a little light on the front-hard to
    steer sometimes.” He had driven the Saab at highway speeds (60+)
    from a distance of over 400 miles——-

    Like 4
  7. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    Todd Fitch, in the early ’60s, ik had a DKW wagon that seemed to be the size of a tanker trailer inside; it felt large enought to hold 9, buit I never thought about it at the time. Girlfriend hated it. Car is gone, as is she.

    Like 2
  8. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    in the early ’60s, “I” had a DKW wagon, ik did not.

  9. ACZ

    Where do you put the outboard motor oil?

    • Robert P.

      A case of two stroke oil was all that the “boot” could hold.

      Like 1
    • Groo

      I remember seeing premix available at the pump when I was a kid.

  10. Willowen Member

    One of my all-time best friends had a Saab 2-stroke sedan, same base as this. When he gassed up he’d pour a prescribed percentage of 2-stroke oil in, alternating between gas and oil, and when he was done he’d cap the filler and then we’d bounce up and down on the back bumper for a while. This was a late enough car to be the cheaper version; the Monte Carlo model that had come out by then had an 850cc version of the engine with oil injection, so not only was mixing not necessary but the oil consumption was considerably less.

    I got to drive the car just once, but we would often run that car and mine on day trips – mine was an early Volvo 544 with the B16 engine. My car was faster, but his had the edge at bottom-end torque, and he would regularly out-pull me away from stoplights for the first quarter-mile or so.

    Like 4
  11. JOHN Member

    I remember when I was about 14 (1966) working at a gas station one of these pulled in and the guy handed me a can of oil and said fill it with regular. I went around to the front of the car looking for the hood latch when the guy said “no, put it in the gas tank” I gave him a puzzled look and then he said it was a two stroke engine. I didn’t realize at the time Saab had a two stroke until that day.

    Like 4
  12. TOM

    We(wife and I) had 2 1965 SAABs. One was the wagon, the kids loved to ride in the back pull up seat facing backward, the other was a sedan. We purchased them new waiting 6 months for delivery. The 2 stroke needed oil (SAAB oil) mixed with every 8 gallons of gas. We were in Canada one winter and the outside temperature was -40f and the SAAB started with no trouble since the was no oil in the crankcase being a 2 stroke, We prchased these cars because of the only resonably priced, $1600, new front wheel drive which paid off in 1967 when we had a major snow storm in the midwest and the SAABs were the only cars to handle the snow. Had both for about 10 years and then it was time to move on, great cars,

    Like 6
    • ACZ

      As I remember that snow storm, NOTHING moved for at least for days.

      Like 2
  13. Guggie 13

    I had several Saabs years ago all 2 stroke , the last one oil injected , great little cars . I also had a buddy with an Volvo PV544 and we would race every place we went , if it was wet or snowy I beat , on dry roads I didnt have a chance , fun times

    Like 3
  14. George Dray

    Had a dark green one way back when. We called it the Green Hornet.It needed a muffler adding to the popcorn maker sound. Was a complete hoot. Still miss it. The little thing grows on you.

    Like 3
  15. Puhnto

    I had a 1968 95. It was the V-4 but such a great little car! We loved it.

    Like 2
  16. Ed Preusser

    I first became interested in Saab as a replacement to my VW that was new but unreliable due to burning exhaust valves. I had been to Lime Rock and was impressed with the Saab cars running in little La Mans 12 hour endurance race, they didn’t win but did finish behind the winning 2 Volvo’s. I bought a new 1967 model 96 and trailed in my VW. I was very happy with several Saab autos for many years. I did find they rust and the transmissions were prone to bearing failure however. I had a 95 V4 powered wagon which didn’t handle nearly as well than the 2 cycle cars do to engine weight. They all did very well in snow and ice, great pulling action and very stable. Not great traction but unlike the VW which had great traction but was not nearly as stable, under steer vs oversteer. The early Saab’s are very desirable especially with the early engine.

    Like 1
  17. Jmbo

    I had four Saab’s. One was the three popper. Never failed to start even in the coldest weather.

    Like 1
  18. Larry Snyder

    We had a 1968 96 sedan. Drove it for years. Once we pulled into a gas station and the attendant asked “check your oil?” I said “sure”. He opened the hood after a long pause closed it and said, “it’s fine”. Ha! Then I got out dumped a quart of 30 weight into the gas tank. I thought he was going to have a stroke. Nobody tailgated us – we left a plume of smoke behind us like a James Bond car. We had freewheeling but there was a lever on the firewall underneath the dash that would disable freewheeling.

    Like 2
    • Ed Preusser67

      Hi Larry, We too had a few Saab cars. My favorite was a 67 I bought new, I had the dealer change the tires to Prellies, Sorry about the spelling, The car handed very well and I drove it over 100 thousand miles. I did have bearing failure in the transmission in several Saab’s , seems using the wrong lube was the problem. The light engine, 3 cy, was great, we only used the recommended factory oil, little or no smoke and long engine life, one of my favorite car brands. One of the best all round cars I’ve owned.

      Like 1
  19. M. Macek

    Had a ’64. Purchased for $35. Another $40 for new exhaust system.One of the front springs rusted through the unibody and created a 20 degree lean. A little back yard surgery and good to go. Ran great for 2 years until the brake lines blew out. That was 40 years ago. What I wouldn’t give to have it back.

    Like 1
  20. Pete in PA

    My dad bought a new 63 Saab coupe as his commuter car. It was a robin egg blue color and 4-speed manual trans on the column. I remember teh steel tubing VW-style seat frames, the radiator shutter/blind control on the dash, among other things. When you unscrewed the 940s style fuel filler cap on the fender you were presented with a tongue depressor size strip of metal that read “Add quart 30W non-detergent oil for every 5 gallons of gas” or something like that. Dad ran that Saab hard as a customer service engineer for IBM making many service calls and traveling to Kingston, NY for training classes. The Saab was replaced by a new 1971 Plymouth Duster which served him equally well but didn’t like 3 Lawn Boy mowers running at once. I can still hear him decellerating/downshifting to make the turn onto our street. Very distinctive. Ah, the memories…

    Like 2
  21. CJinSD

    I remember a few of these stinking up my neighborhood when I was a kid. They polluted like crazy, but at least they were so slow that people were always stuck inhaling what they were spewing. Poisoning people is actually as green as a car can get.

  22. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one ended at $4,350 and no sale.

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