GM Heritage Collection gets bigger

I just got word through from Jan-Willem Vester at SaabUSA that they’ve acquired a new vehicle for addition to the GM Heritage collection.

From his email:

Good news — we finally have a classic Saab 900 Turbo 5-door in the collection! It’s just that the car comes without the original engine, interior and TRX wheels, temporarily replaced by newer stuff… But the good news is that the body is largely rust-free and largely complete with the period periscope rearview mirrors, side vents, glass and lights.

Really, quite a find, almost right here on our doorstep! We got wind of this ’80 900T (recognizable by the double taillights) through Jim Laman of the Great Lakes Saab Club, who had been notified that this car was gradually decaying in a less-than-upscale downtown Detroit neighborhood.

As you may know, the first generation 900 Turbo 5-door was only marketed as Saab’s top luxury model in the United States during the ’79 and ’80 model years, before giving way to the slightly less unconventional 4-door sedan. True highlight of the 5-door are of course the rather unusual “opera” side windows in the C-pillars, which – depending on whom you ask – look downright silly, or put it right up there with the Saabiest of Saabs… Well, let’s say that there is at least no shortage of character here!

No matter how you look at it, the pros at the GM Heritage Center have a new object to sink their teeth in…. Most probably a project that we might give the attendees of the forthcoming Saab Owner’s Convention in August a live update on.

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9 Comments

  1. I used to own an ’81 900T and let me tell you replacements for that plastic bezel around the headlight are a pain to find. In Europe the headlight is larger (“E-Code”) and fills-in that whole area so there’s no bezel needed. In the States DOT required that you can’t use the E-code headlights so they had to use these plastic bezels to fill-in that area. Mine was broken too and I could never find a replacement at the junkyard. The car was too old.

    I’d like to speak with the Heritage Collection guys to find out where they’re going to buy their rear bumper strip from. I need one for my ’85 C900! šŸ™‚

  2. 85: The DOT isn’t on your case anymore — you can buy the ecode headlights now. It’s legal!

    And, what sad commentary. We are all certainly suckers for Saabs when we think that a rusting hulk of a 5-door hatchback is worthy of joy and excitment. The saddest part to me is that I’m right there with you — I think that it’s great!

    I thought of finding a 5-door to go with the ‘vert — kind of a hauler with character — and I gave up. They are very difficult to find.

  3. I always thought those US lights looked pretty silly. If had a 900 with them I’d definitely be looking to change them if it’s now legal to do so.

    There’s 5-door 900s everywhere here in Oz. In fact, Drew B here in Tassie is adding one to his fleet today. It’s a 1993 and unusual in that it’s a turbo. Most of the late model 900s here in Oz were 2.1 non-turbos.

  4. Why did Saab make the 5-door so rare here in America? I’d love to have one.

    As for the headlights, even if they weren’t legal, would anyone even notice?

  5. I looked into getting some E-code headlights from Canada a few years back, but the guy was asking so much for them I dropped the idea. I think he was pulling them off a car in a junkyard or something. Add the shipping cost to the price and it was just stupid for a pair of headlights.

    Besides, the U.S.-spec ’85 with the weird headlights and the older bumper and vertical grille is distinctive. Why change it? šŸ™‚

  6. Mag-X: Sales of the 5-door here in the US were weak. Very.

    In 1979 and 1980, the 900 was very different from other cars on the market, and the US was still scarred from GM’s foray into the 5-door with the hideous X-car series (remember the Chevy Citation?). That is, the 5-door was as ‘soccer mom’ then as the minivan of today. Not something that people wanted to buy in great amounts. Bad timing, that’s all.

  7. Eggs, the other reason is that the 3 door looked so cool. I think most people prefered the 3 door. The proportions are great

  8. Everybody loved the 5 doors. It was the horrible B-engine & turbo, weak trannys and cooling system, AC and leaking, noisy TRX wheels and tires that were not. But then, nobody else had anything near as good…God I miss those days.

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