1989 Saab 900i Automatic.


Okay...so the last thing I was looking for was another car.  I had the 107 and the 306 as my daily runarounds, and the van as the project.  Was happy with that.

Then a friend dropped me an email with a link to a classified listing on eBay, simply titled "thought you might like this."  The link was to a classified ad for a Classic Saab 900i, with tax and test, 113K on the clock, for 495.  Photos weren't stellar, but it didn't look too bad.  It was only an hour and a half drive from here, and that that price I figured had to be worth a look.  Even if it wasn't great it was surely worth more than the asking price.

The main photo from the listing is shown below.  This is all I really had to work with at the time.  There were a few photos from other angles as well - but nothing of the engine bay or of any of the usual rust traps, and none of a high enough resolution really to show any useful detail.

I spoke initially with the dealer on the phone, and they seemed very nice actually, even in spite of my query being about what was quite obviously just a trade in to clear.  They were quite willing to stay back a bit later even on a Friday afternoon to wait for me to get there from Aberdeen.  Turned out that someone had tried to buy the car while I was on the way, but were turned away on account of us being on our way.  I know plenty of places where that would have been a case of tough luck for us when we got there!

Given the low price, I certainly wasn't expecting miracles - and to be honest was expecting quite a dog of a car.  I was surprised, very surprised.

Not a mint car, no...but a heck of a lot tidier than any I've ever owned.  Some rust, sure enough on the driveshaft tunnels.  Welding done, it looks like for the most recent MOT involved a patch over the surface, and I'm not 100% happy that the dodgy metal has actually been cut out - so further investigation and a proper repair will need to follow there.  The engine bay was a disgusting mess - but a disgusting, reassuringly original looking mess with no apparent bodgery and save for an engine in need of an oil change, nothing which set alarm bells ringing.  Sure enough the timing cover was leaking oil like a sieve, but that appeared to be the only place it was escaping from.  It also seemed distinctly reluctant to start from cold, tending to flood if you gave it anything resembling a chance, but once up and running, despite idling a little fast it sounded like the sweetest 8 valve engine I'd heard in many a year.  No hint of any smoke whatsoever, no untoward noises and it was idling as smooth as you could ask.  A quick test drive and I was sold.  The car drove like new.  Few quid short of 500 changed hands and I set about arranging a lift back the following day to retrieve the car.

Below shows what I got, after a (very) quick skim over with the polish.

The radiator grill has also been changed here for a chromed one which I've had rattling around for about the last five years.

Note the paper mats still here from the dealer.  Hoping I can track down some blue original Saab mats to finish it off in there.  Aside from the compulsory sagging headlining, it's pretty much factory fresh in here!

...Those bumpers *really* needed a bit of back-to-black on them!

Have done some very brief cleaning up of the worst grime here, but a lot still to do.  Several vacuum lines have also been replaced as they were either kinked or perished.  Not much else has changed here yet though.

Compared to the doors of the previous two 900s I've had, this is positively factory fresh!  A serious rust-treatment and proofing session will be happening to this door shortly.

This one too - probably the cleanest example I've seen this one.

In addition to the car itself, I also got an inch deep pile of documents, which I reckon must be pretty much every bit of paper ever to relate to it - right back to the original new vehicle order form and invoice.  Not to mention thousands of pounds worth of invoices for work done over the years, and a service log stamped all the way up to 99K of its 113K miles.  That, and the Saab Owners Club (which I really need to get around to joining now of course!) sticker in the front window suggest to me that this has been a well looked after car which has been the pride of its owner over the years.

Will probably have more detailed summaries and photos of the less pretty bits in the coming weeks - for now, have a wallpaper I spent half an hour putting together...

Full size version is available on my Deviantart page.

All in all so far however, I am a very, very happy person.  This one will definitely be making its way to a few shows this year.

If this is your car that you recently traded in - hopefully you're happy to know that it's landed in the hands of an enthusiast rather than into the hands of someone just wanting a cheap, disposable car to last them until the MOT runs out as so often happens to cars in this price bracket.


I had a bit of an issue a few years ago where I was short on time due to family matters, during which time the cylinder head gasket in this car failed.  I knew that I simply didn't have the time to sort it so it was sold on to another enthusiast.  They sorted the head gasket issues and invested the best part of a grand in sorting out a few of the bodywork issues that had been starting to surface in the last year or two, so it looks like she should hopefully still have a future ahead of her.

Definitely the best Saab I've owned and a car which will always be remembered fondly.



Manufacturer: Saab.
Model: 900i 3-door Automatic
Engine: 2.0 litre (1985cc) 4-cylinder inline, "Slant 4" layout.  (SOHC, 8v with mechanically controlled continuous fuel injection.)
Gearbox: 3-speed automatic (Borg Warner Type 37).
Power output: 118bhp.
0-60mph: 13 seconds.
Max speed: Unknown.


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25th January 2021: Minor page formatting changes to improve mobile usability.


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