Show Winning Barn Find: 1969 Saab 96

This 1969 Saab 96 has a fascinating back story and has been stashed in a California garage for 12 years. The seller notes it belongs to his mother, who purchased the car as a lightly restored example in 1995 from a local Saab expert. The car was supposedly so well kept and presented that it was recognized as the first place winner at the Kirkwood, CA Saab Convention for “Best Saab 96 Daily Driver.” However, that didn’t stop it from being stuck in the garage for over a decade. That said, there’s likely still a solid car underneath given it’s been in California for much of its life. Find the Saab here on eBay with bids to just $1,000 and no reserve – what a bargain!

The Saab has incurred some storage-related damage, it seems, with the passenger side rear door displaying a fairly large whack. The seller does disclose this, along with the fact that the Saab will be sold as a non-runner with tires that may or may not hold air. The thick coating of dust tells a tale, but the story that goes untold is why it got parked all those years ago after being a show winner. The history shared by the seller notes it was restored to its pristine daily driver condition by a salesman at The Saab Factory in San Jose, California, who intended to use the car for himself. Everything was supposedly repaired, from vehicle hydraulics to rubber seals and moldings.

The seller notes that the only major alteration is the addition of an electric fan. The transmission was also rebuilt by The Saab Factory some point after his mother purchased it, so it was obviously continuing to be shown love while she was driving it. Seeing the torn upholstery on the seat makes me wonder what happened to send this 9-6 down the slippery slope of neglect, as this type of damage usually occurs from years of sun exposure – and the listing claims it was always garage stored. I’m guessing the upholstery was refreshed during The Saab Factory’s overhaul, but that information is not available. It does look like it was a very nice cockpit at one time, however.

It’s understandable, though, if the seller’s mom simply aged out of the car and it was used less and less, leading to it simply being parked if that seemed like the safer course of action. I honestly can’t imagine my own mother driving a Saab 9-6 in her senior years, and perhaps it was for the best that it was parked. What is worth noting is that the no reserve listing means this 9-6 is going to go fairly cheaply, as there’s not tons of time left in the auction. The 9-6 is definitely an acquired taste, but it’s the sort of classic that everyone will smile at when they see it. Would you attempt to restore this show-winning and rust-free garage find 9-6?


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  1. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Neat old Saab, but a lot happened to it between being “Best Saab ’96 Daily Driver” and now.

    Like 6
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Yeah that’s a storage damage, sarcasm and spent some time in the sun. Not saying this little car isn’t solid, but doubt your going to wash it up and go through the basics to get it running. Had a few rough years unfortunately.

    Like 4
  3. Evan

    “with the passenger side rear door displaying a fairly large whack. ”

    Um, these are 2-door cars.

    Like 12
    • Reese Olson

      If the “whack” was much bigger you might have a rear door…

      Like 8
  4. That AMC Guy

    Probably being too nitpickey here but there was never a Saab “9-6” it’s a “96”. :)

    Like 8
  5. t-bone BOB

    Located in:
    Fresno, California

    Like 1
  6. Gary Rhodes

    Yeah, pull the quarter out and when you add the repaint/blend time you will have 3x the starting price in it plus what all else it needs, pass

  7. Steve Clinton

    It won first place in the “Best accumulation of dirt, bird feathers, and rodent droppings” category at the 2021 Ca Saab Convention.

  8. GOM

    FYI, my mother wouldn’t let us replace her aging 96, and we kept it going until she had to stop driving at 80 when cancer overtook her. She had maintained that if her SAAB stopped being roadworthy she would stop driving and she drove right to the end!

    Like 3
  9. t-bone BOB

    Sep 19, 2021
    Winning bid:
    US $2,650.00
    [ 34 bids ]

    Like 2
  10. Bill McCoskey

    Not to denigrate this car, but as someone who has both hosted car club gatherings that had awards, and someone who was on the receiving end of the awards, in the situation he describes, […won 1st place at the Kirkwood CA Saab Convention for “Best Saab 96 Daily Driver.”], if there is only one vehicle in a very narrow descriptive class, then it wins first place, no matter how ratty it may be.

    I’ve restored 2 cars that won an “AACA Hershey 1st place” award. One was in a class that had only 5 cars in the class, it was a 1936 Oldsmobile 6, 2 door coach. That car had plenty of problems still to be fixed, as we had only made the car run and drive the night before the show.

    The other car, a 1958 Triumph TR-3, was in a class with about 30 cars in competition, a few years later. We had finished the car to near OCD perfection, as the customer had said “what ever it takes financially” because his father had bought it new, and the current owner was quite wealthy.

    While it’s great to win awards and get recognition for your hard work, We always need to keep in mind when and where the award took place, along with the competition in the class.

    As for these 2 cars, the Olds owner was apoplectic when I showed him the award, jumping up and down yelling OMG, OMG, over & over, while grinning from ear to ear. A few years later the TR-3 owner gave it to his teenage son who basically trashed the car. I know this because it was towed into my shop, with a rod thru the block.

    Like 1

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