Saab 99 (1965 – 1984) Review

Saab 99 (1965 – 1984) At A Glance


+Quirky, solid, rational and interesting saloon

-Heavy to drive without PAS, tricky to repair structural corrosion

In typically Swedish fashion, the Saab 99 managed to be both rational and interesting at the same time. For a car of its vintage it was technically very advanced, but also a great car to drive. Cabin was a bit on the narrow side for maximum comfort, but that was negated by the commanding view forward and excellent seating. Strong performance and brakes were a 99 strong point – hatchback Combi version offered later.

The 99 ended up being the perfect car to head the range as it was also innovative, quirky and individual. The wraparound screen and impressive aerodynamics packaged a front-wheel-drive car of commendable dynamic prowess. Its 1.7-litre engine had been developed in tandem with Triumph and UK engineering company Ricardo, although Saab developed it further to overcome a number of design faults.

Ask Honest John

I'm looking for a good Saab 99 - where can I find one?

"I am looking for a Saab 99 non-turbo. I know the 99 and 900 very well as from the 1970s to the 1990s I had owned six 99s and two 900s. I am of an age now that long distance driving is very rare and I'm only doing about 5 - 6000 miles per year and I am hoping to finish off my driving years in a Saab, in my opinion, the beast cars ever. Hope you can help my search."
If you're looking for a good example of a classic car, as well as searching the Honest John Classics classified ads here: we would suggest trying Saab owners clubs, groups and online communities. Owners who are members of these groups tend to be enthusiastic about the preservation of their cars and also benefit from the shared expertise of the group, so while it doesn't guarantee a good example it does increase your chances of finding a solid car. Also club members will frequently sell their cars via the group, so being a member yourself is a good way to get access to these cars before the general public. You could also consider placing a wanted ad within these groups as it might catch the attention of someone who is considering selling their car.
Answered by David Ross

Why won't my 1983 Saab 99 fire following a breakdown?

"I have a 1983 Saab 99. Not having used the car for a month, I was driving to my mother's with lower oil pressure than usual at 40psi when the engine suddenly cut out descending a gentle incline. There is fuel in the carburettor, a spark at the plugs, and the recovery man thought that the cause might be a slipped or jumped timing belt, which I find difficult to accept since it is chain cam. I took off the carburettor, cleaned it, replaced the diaphragm and contact breakers and it turns over well but refuses to fire, despite sounding as if it will do so. It sometimes runs very weakly for a few seconds and dies. It does not respond to the accelerator. I don't want to scrap it if I have stupidly overlooked something obvious. I think some time ago you mentioned an organisation that scraps cars and gives the money to charity. I would be grateful if you would pass on the name."
Even a cam chain can slip if it becomes starved of oil and stretches. Also, have a look at one of the spark plugs. If it's covered in oil, the piston rings or valve stem oil seals have failed. If it’s covered in petrol, it’s not sparking. The charity is
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Saab 99 (1965 – 1984) cost?