Saab 60th – 99 Turbo

Following are photos and comments by 1985 Gripen, who attended the Saab USA 60th Anniversary press event, which included not only a drive in the new 60th Anniversary Edition Saabs, but a drive of some pristine old school Saabs from GM’s own Heritage Collection.

Time for my favourite – the 99 Turbo!

Click photos to enlarge.


The 99 Turbo. Scope those Inca wheels!!! The only thing this baby was missing was the optional louvers on the rear window! Aside from the 93’s mudflap, this was the only car I could find a blemish on. There was a tear on one of the seats. I would imagine it’s really difficult to find a color match for that upholstery for a repair job (and those seats are notorious for tearing – both mine had tears, one looked like a cat had shredded it – SW).



The front view of the 1978 99 Turbo. It’s striking how different in every way the ’78 99 Turbo was from the ’70 99. Not only does the ’78 have the hatchback (the ’70 is a notchback) but there’s no grill on the air intake, the side view mirrors are totally different, the seats are different, the entire dash and instrument layout is different, the grill is different. Almost everything was different. I guess this could be considered a “refresh” or a “MCE” (mid-cycle enhancement)!



The interior of the 99 Turbo. Note the dash mounted Turbo gauge (standard equipment, and I have a watch just like it! – SW) and the “panic handle” in front of the passenger seat.



More 99 Turbo interior.



My grandfather had a ’78 99 Turbo when I was a child. The funky seat belts brought back memories! There is no buckle on the belt itself. You loop the belt through these one-piece buckles and lock them down over the belt. Jan-Willem Vester told me that the earliest models of 900 also had these style belts!



The Inca wheels on the 99 Turbo (an absolute pain to clean – SW).



Mr. Vester insisted I see the engine in the 99 Turbo. Look at this thing. It’s immaculate. Everything shines. The heat shields and turbo and exhaust manifold are all devoid of any rust. They must have just dropped-in this engine. I noticed some braided stainless steel lines going to the fuel injectors which can’t be stock..


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  1. Boy, those pictures bring back a bunch of memories. My first SAAB was a red 1979 99GL (not turbo) that I bought new a couple of months after graduating the University of Utah. Mine had absolutely no options at all, not even tinted glass or a radio. I had it for 12 years before trading it in. The Utah sun was not kind to the paint or the dash and headliner. But it still ran great. I sold it to the son of a co-worker who drove it back east to college. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. Yes i had one too, a green 2-door. It was SO fun to drive!
    In fact, it was more fun to drive than any other car i had…until my dad sold it and bought me a 900Gls autotransmission.
    That was the worst day of my life.

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