As SAAB finally shut their doors in 2011, the automotive world was most definitively left a much less interesting place. An innovative manufacturer, which had always dared to stand out, have real character and an identity very much its own, had been lost. But as we still mourn the loss, which SAAB will now offer the classic car enthusiast the easiest entry into SAAB ownership?
Before we launch into this week’s Prime Find, let me just pre-warn you: I’m currently back home in Denmark on holiday and touring the country while visiting both my wife’s and my family. So time is being prioritised elsewhere than filling the pages of ViaRETRO – thus, this will be a remarkably short and to the point Prime Find. Nonetheless, just as I’m always trawling the classifieds in the UK, whenever visiting another country – also when it’s my home country – I just can’t help myself from checking out what the local market has on offer. Who knows, I might just come across something which I simply must add to the inventory of my garage. And predictably, that’s precisely what happened.
Obviously, when in Rome and all that… So when in Scandinavia, I naturally find myself even more attracted to old SAABs than I normally do. But which is the better buy? I dearly love the Sonnett’s – both the II and the III. But they’re hardly practical, they’re perhaps also not the car which best portrays the core values of the Swedish marque, and they have furthermore crept up in value in recent years so they are no longer an entry-level ticket in to SAAB ownership. Sonnett’s apart, a 2-stroke bullnose SAAB would normally be my next choice, but then I remembered Claus’s recent article where he asked: “Was the 99 the Best SAAB Ever?”
He makes a fair point too. Granted, the 99 was perhaps not as innovative as the 92/93/96 family which preceded it, but that’s not to say that there isn’t plenty to like. Personally, I’ve always especially liked those early unadorned 2-door versions with the slim chrome bumpers. They’re suitably quirky and entirely charming.
In 1974, six years after the 2-door saloon version of the 99 was first introduced, SAAB added the 3-door CombiCoupé to the model range, and then two years later we got the 5-door version as well thereby completing the line-up. There was a minor facelift in 1974 as well, but even so, it’s remarkable just how different the CombiCoupé is. Perhaps it’s the extra 11 centimetres in length? Regardless, it’s obviously a much more practical car with its massive rear hatch. And I have to admit, I really do like it!
This particular 99 CombiCoupé is a 2.0GL which the seller says is in very good all-round condition with just a few minor age-related marks of patina on body and interior. Despite being a mid-seventies car, it presents in very subtle white paintwork while its instead a set of factory-correct 99 Turbo alloys and not least a fabulously funky terracotta coloured interior which adds to the excitement factor. Especially those seats, doorcards and carpets are hugely appealing! The advert claims a rather low 51,000 km on the clock equating to 32,000 miles, however it’s unclear whether this is documented in any way, so I’ll assume it’s not. However, the interior does look remarkably unmolested, so who knows? Oh, and did I mention that the interior looks amazing in that excellent seventies hue? To prove the point, here are some pictures which we’ve borrowed from the advert:
The SAAB has been imported into Denmark from a long life in its mother country Sweden. From a small town on the middle of Sealand, it’s now for sale at D.Kr. 49,900 which equates to Euro 6,700 or £ 6,000. If it’s a Danish enthusiast who becomes the next owner, he will need to factor in that the current owner hasn’t yet paid the Danish import and registration tax, but to anyone outside of Denmark, this won’t have any effect.
Are you as tempted as I am? If so, you’ll need the link to the advert: 1976 SAAB 99 CombiCoupé 2.0GL
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek