Saab 900 Turbo 16v s

Year     1988     Mileage     68,000
Acquired     2013    Dream car    Lotus Esprit Turbo
Biggest regret     Selling my Saab 99 Turbo    Other hobbies     Hill Walking

David Baughan ‘The metal sunroof was blown skyward with such force it was never found'


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Why did you choose the car?

When the rust on my Saab 99 Turbo 2-door returned with a vengeance 14 years after I'd restored it, I didn’t have the stomach or the deep pockets to do it all again, so I looked for a close substitute. The 900 Turbo 16v 2-door was the obvious choice with its rigid saloon body and therefore (in my opinion) superior handling to the more traditional 'combi' (hatchback) models.

What’s the best bit?

The 900 Turbo had awesome acceleration in its day. Even now, if you can catch the boost at its peak, the performance will give you a grin that can last for days. Perhaps the old ads with the Viggen fighter were a little over the top, but with a little imagination the driver can feel he or she is piloting 'Sierra Alpha Alpha Bravo' as it reels in the horizon.

What’s the worst bit?

The gearbox of the 900 was always the Achilles' heel and it can seem a little notchy on first use. Some moan about turbo lag, but for me that’s all part of the quintessential charm of an early Saab Turbo.

This one's special, isn't it?

The 2-door 900 Turbo 16v S was introduced in 1988 to complement the '87 Saab Turbo Mobil challenge featuring Tiff Needell and Damon Hill. Production was limited to 263 cars with super aero wheels and 150 like mine with the factory option sports pack.

What’s it like to run?

At 68,000 miles this one is barely run in and it has been entirely reliable in my 12 years of ownership. Over a long run its ability to eat the miles with the driver cosseted in those heated Saab seats makes it a realistic and practical choice for family types who also love 1980s or 1990s classic cars.

Any advice for potential owners?

A car with a full service history is a great place to start. The life of the turbocharger is very dependent on annual fully synthetic oil changes. Although the rust resistance of 900s was well known, the tin worm is here nowadays. 1991/92 runout cars are particularly vulnerable. Always check transmission tunnels for corrosion.

Any funny mishaps?

This is my third 900. My first caught fire at home and exploded with such force the metal sun roof was blown skyward and was never found! I still have the charred badges.

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