#104 arrives in Tasmania

Tassie resident, Saabnut and occasional caustic commenter, Drew B, has recently purchased yet another classic Saab to add to his ever-growing collection. Like his other cars, this is another one that’s a bit special, particularly in the context of an Australian collection.

It’s a 1977 model Saab 96 V4 Souvenir Edition, which means it’s one of the last 150 that were made for the UK market. This one is number 104. I went up to Launie to visit Drew whilst on a work assignment a few weeks ago. The car had just arrived that afternoon and looked pretty much how it does in these photos below:

96 at auctioneers.jpg

96 at auctioneers 2.jpg

The story’s one of those “small-world” affairs. As this car was one of the last 150 for the UK (there’s a plaque on the dashboard etc), Drew was keen to find out a bit more about it’s history. He’d had protracted negotiations with the seller as it’s had to be sold as part of a bunkruptcy liquidation. Unfortunately these aren’t always ideal circumstances and the car came with no written history.

In an effort to find out more, Drew posted on SaabCentral looking for information about the final 150:

Does anyone own or have any info on the last 150 special edition 96’s produced for the GB market, as I’m currently looking to buy one.

Anything would be greatly appreciated!

After which he found out there was a register for such vehicles….

150 96Ls made in Cardinal Red Metallic – with red interior and a dashboard plaque saying why it’s special.

I have about 19 I can say for sure are Souvenirs on the Register (one of which is in my Dad’s garage…)

Very handy to find a register, but not as handy as this….

I had one! As mentioned they tended to be slightly more rotten.

I always wondered what happened to it? Think is was number 104 but can’t remember. I know it was URF207S, quite rare on an ‘S’ plate. It was also fitted with a colour coded front spoiler.

Any ideas anyone? Would love to know if it is still around.

Click on the SaabCentral link above to read the whole thread. It’s great.

Yes, it IS a small world after all, especially in the internet age. Drew found one of the original owners from back in The Old Country. The car had been transported from England to Australia some time during the 1990’s, displayed at a few car shows, sold, then sold again to the guy that ended up bankrupt. A twist in the tale – the bankrupt guy managed to get the seller to sign the paperwork prior to paying, and as you might expect payment never came. He went bankrupt shortly thereafter.

So we have one very unhappy seller, one bankrupt and one car that has to be liquidated. One man’s misery is another man’s bargain. Well, two men’s misery actually, but that’s beside the point. If you keep your eyes open you never know what might come up. Someone’s going to buy it, it may as well be you.

Drew has a bit of work to do to get this one up to his usual high standard. He’ll be working on a dried up gear linkage shortly. There’s also a crappy aftermarket sunroof that will have to be removed some time in the future, as well as some minor rust. All in all though, it’s in pretty good condition for a 1970’s UK car. The original Ronal wheels are probably worth quite a penny on their own. Once Drew’s had a few weekends with the polisher in hand, I’m sure it’ll be looking more like this:

Saab 96 front.jpg

Saab 96 front detail.jpg

Saab 96 rear distance.jpg

If anyone else knows some specifics about this edition of the 96, or even better if you own one yourself, then I’m sure Drew would be interested in hearing from you. Any information would be more than welcome in comments and I’ll pass the email information onto Drew.

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  1. This lovely 96 is surely going to appreciate. But, tell Drew, that – just as with the late 99s and 99Ts,painted in Cardinal Red it may be more rotten than a Saab should be.

    For some reason Cardinal Red was a thin paint, it flaked,it faded fast, and I have seen more rust on Cardinal Red cars than any other Saab- whatever the model. Finnish built 99s were better, but they were never Cardinal Red.

    For the 96 specials, light mettallic blue and light metallic green were also used – both these paints were troublesome too.

    A deep check under the scutlle and inside the inner wheel arches/bulkhead is a must. And the after market sunroof is a horror..

    The special rubber boot spoiler /handle is rare too – might look good plated in chrome?

    Those headrests stayed in production for over 30 years – they were billed as “art deco” when fitted to the 96 and early 99s.

    From a spares sourcing point of, view, Amsterdam is a good place for this late version of the 96.

    Get it tuned up and greased up, and she’ll fly like only a 92-96 series can.

    A real piece of Saabness then….

    I am jealous.

  2. Un-flippin’ believable. The original owner pops up just like that on the other side of the planet. How valuable that must be!

    About the Cardinal Red: red paints (especially those for European cars) are all ‘softer’ (that’s a term I’ve heard several times from body shop types) because the pigments used for red paints generally have a fair amount of iron oxide, lead or cadmium in them. This basically means that the pigments interfere somewhat with the binding agents in the paint, reducing the paint’s integrity.

    Another thing that hurts the red paint is that it is more susceptable to infra-red degradation due to the color alone.

    Finally, a wise body shop guy told me this once: “People may not notice the rust on the car for a while simply because it’s a similar color. If the car were white, you could see the rust immediately. With red, you may not.”

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