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SPG Hot Hatch: 1991 Saab 900 Turbo

Ah, the 1991 Saab 900 SPG: one of the most iconic hot hatches of the 80s, and a model that has enjoyed a surprising amount of collector interest in recent years despite the brand going out of business. Usually, a orphan of a company will result in values plummeting (we aren’t exactly collecting Saturns over here) but that hasn’t affected Saab values as of late. This SPG model is arguably one of the more desirable offerings from the Swedish brand, and even though this one listed here on eBay has plenty of cosmetic issues, bidding is still over $2,500 with no reserve.

The SPG moniker was code for Saab’s in-house high performance group, not unlike Ford’s SVT group or Mercedes AMG division, with the difference being it was more an equipment-level enhancement than an entire skunkworks team tearing the car apart. One of the bigger upgrades in terms of its desirability among Saab fans is the SPG body kit, which got you this fender arch trim and unique side body cladding that is all but impossible to find these days. Sadly, like many body kids from this era, rust tended to bloom from behind the add-ons, and this Saab is no different. And having owned a ’91 Saab 900 Turbo SE convertible, I lived in fear of ever having to remove these trim pieces due to the likelihood of it shattering upon removal.

The seller’s car is still said to run well, however, so I wouldn’t call it terminal due to the rust we can see. In fact, finding an SPG that is still largely intact and unmodified is a huge score, and I would expect that the next owner of this Saab will actually take the time to properly repair the rust issues instead of simply parting it out (especially given the current bid price.) But therein lies the conundrum for anyone who is neck-deep in Saabs: given the increasingly small parts allotment available, there is very real money tied to stripping cars like these and selling the parts off to hungry buyers committed to keeping these cars on the road. The interior of this SPG is decent in some places (backseat) and rougher in others (driver’s seat.)

But what makes an SPG an SPG? A healthy list of factory-backed upgrades, including a knock and boost controller, with increased turbo boost compared to a non-SPG model; stiffer suspension and bigger sway bars; the awesome propeller-style alloy wheels (in this case, with gunmetal centers); a rear duckbill-style spoiler; and of course, the aforementioned body kit. It’s a nice set of enhancements, and an SPG is a desirable item for many Saab enthusiasts – which means this one will live on, hopefully with the rust repaired sooner than later.


  1. alphasud Member

    It’s good the buyer has underside pictures to send. A car that has lived in Chicago has seen some of the worse winter conditions. These don’t look so bad but rust finds its way into critical areas. Could still be a good buy for its parts value though if the body is too far gone. As far as the boost controller the red box and fuel pressure regulator were over the counter performance parts offered but rather than spend the money you can adjust the pressure regulator by using a socket and a hammer to deform the top of the regulator where the vacuum hose connects to increase the fuel pressure. Taking the circuit board out of the controller there are potentiometers that can be adjusted for more boost.

    Like 8
  2. Rumpledoorskin

    A high performance car for the college professor.

    Like 4
    • BobD

      SPG – See Professor Go

      Like 0

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