Saab 96 two-stroke (1960 – 1968) Review

Saab 96 two-stroke (1960 – 1968) At A Glance


+Superb roadholding and charismatic two-stroke rasp

-Busy at speed

The Saab 96 might have been marketed as a new car when launched in 1960, but it was very closely related to the original super-aerodynamic two-stroke front-wheel-drive 92 that had on sale since 1949 - and, which had proved to be such a massive breakthrough in design for the Swedish carmaker. More than ten years on and the 96, with its aerodynamic styling, independent suspension and tenacious roadholding still seemed ultra-modern compared with the opposition despite being a facelift.

The 841cc two-stroke three-pot developed enough power to push the 96 to over 80mph while the standard seat belts appealed to safety-conscious drivers. In 1962, the 96's appeal was widened considerably with the introduction of the Sport model. It was the raciest of the breed and reflected its competition breeding. The two-stroke developed 57bhp and the model soon proved its mettle in rallying. Factory driver Erik Carlsson won the 1960, 1961 and 1962 RAC rallies in addition to the 1962 and ‘63 Monte Carlo classics. Three years later, the Sport was renamed Monte Carlo to reflect its top-level success.