Hanging with the Saab 900 Enduro

Here’s another quick nugget from my return trip with my Saab 9000 Aero.

The Saab 900 Enduro is a bit like Bigfoot. Everyone’s heard of it, but 99.9% of the people – myself included – have never seen it. Last week, my visit to Saab Salvage in Sydney changed all that. I didn’t get to see an Enduro running, but I did get to set my eyes on not one, but TWO Saab 900 Enduros.

Well, one-and-a-half.

For the unfamiliar, the Saab 900 Enduro was a special edition put together by Saab Australia just after the Saab 900 was introduced. They took a standard 900 Turbo, added some outrageous fibreglass wheel arches, special graphics, Simmons wheels, a special gauge pack in the cabin, substantially tweaked suspension, water injection and an uprated wastegate.

Go and visit Saab900Enduro.com for the full run down.

The Enduro below is the real deal and it’s under reconstruction at the moment. Steve plans to get it running and use it in club events and regularity type rallies – events that will keep it moving and get it seen without taxing it too much.

Enduro1

OK, it’s a little messy and crowded in there at the moment, but that’s life with a rebuild. Steve does it right and this car will eventually look like it just came out of the showroom.

You can see the interior below, which is pretty stock standard for a 900 Turbo of the era. The only change being the extra gauges at the top of the center stack, detailed in the photo underneath.

Enduro2

Enduro3

The Enduro features some funky graphics using the Turbo font first used on the Saab 99 Turbo. Steve’s already got new graphics made up and ready to go.

Enduro4

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The car below is best referred to as half an Enduro. And with that, let me make it clear, this is NOT a real Enduro, though of all the stories that might surround the real Enduros, this car would match any of them.

Enduro5

As mentioned earlier, the Saab 900 Enduro was a limited edition. My understanding used to be that only 12 of them were made, but the 900Enduro website states that there were just 11 of them, with the 12th being a reserve body kit only.

Somehow, a Saab dealer in Adelaide got hold of the fibreglass moulds used for the Enduro body kit and started advertising that he could convert 900 Turbos into Enduros for $5,000. His choice of a two-tone 900 as his demonstrator was interesting and I think it actually looks pretty good.

Enduro6

The dealer’s offer came to the attention of the powers that be at Saab and the following proposition was made: he could continue offering his own Enduro kit, but it wouldn’t be as a Saab dealer. Or, he could keep his dealership status and ditch the custom work. He stayed a Saab dealer.

Enduro7

There’s an interesting story surrounding Steve’s acquisition of this car, too. A friend of his let him know that one of the motoring websites here in Australia had an old Saab V4 for sale. It was while Steve was checking out that ad for that car, that he noticed the ad for this Enduro. The owner didn’t really know what he had and was preparing to destroy the car. Thankfully, Steve was able to pick it up and bring it back to his yard in Sydney.

I hope to get a ride in a working Enduro one day, with a video camera along to record the experience. I’m looking forward to Steve finishing the work on these two, one day in the future.

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10 Comments

  1. There has only ever been one Saab dealer in Adelaide at any given time. It’s pretty easy to work out which one that was. It has a French name it you want a clue. I always got the impression it was more interested in selling Porsches. I owned one of those two tone 900s for almost ten years. I’ve never seen that Euduro modified car even though it has SA plates. I’m not that sure I would’ve liked my two tone 900 turbo SE to look like that.

  2. How much trimming and modification of the wheel arches was needed to keep the tyres from rubbing metal?

    Other than the special “plastic” wheel arches, the extra bits are mostly “off the shelf”. The guage set is VDO Cockpit series with the mounting plate a simple piece of flat metal or plastic sized for the opening. Note: the radio/guage opening in 1979 and 1980 (at least in the US) is a bit smaller than the DIN opening used in later (’81 and later, again in the US) c900 dash insert.

    Of particular interest is the use of water injection instead of an intercooler. Water injection serves the same purpose as an intercooler, but with added maintenance and need for warmer temperatures, not a good thing for folks cold climates.

  3. I never seen an Enduro in the flesh yet. But I still remember a workmate’s question about SAAB around eight years ago. He said he was driving from Gympie to Brisbane when he saw a SAAB with a body -kit that looked homemade playing with a Mercedes SLK on the highway.
    I felt so robbed, that would have been a priceless moment for me to see, and so wasted on as Hi-Lux aficionado

  4. Interesting car, but I’m not surprised they only sold 11 (if that). Seems like a very limited market. Were they were eligible for a contemporary race series?

  5. So…. the $64,000 question is – whatever happened to the molds for the fiberglass body pieces? It’s an awesome look, and mods exist today that would get you a better performing 900 than were the original Enduros.

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