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Junkyard Gem: 1983 Saab 900 Turbo

I’ve found quite a few Interesting Saabs Recently in Colorado car graveyard, including a 96 and a 99 (sadly, a example removed of a Saab 92 has eluded me – at least in the US – so far), and now it’s the turn of the factory Saab gave car shoppers more horsepower per dollar than anything they could buy from Germany at the time: 900 Turbo. I found this car a few weeks back a yard just south of Denver.

Saab sold the original version of the 900 in the United States for model years 1979 to 1993 (later the 900 name was placed on a vehicle based on Opel Vectra and closely related to Saturn L-Series), and the early 900s look a lot like their 99 ancestors. Saab was an early adopter of turbocharging, and so the 900 Turbo was here for the entire 1979-1993 sale.

This engine, 2 liters 4 tilt derived from the Triumph design of the 1960s (and first cousin to the engine used in Triumph TR7), rated at 135 hp in 1983. That’s big power for a small car in Late Malayan Eraand it gave the 1983 Saab 900 Turbo a power-to-weight ratio similar to what you get in Mitsubishi Starion and Porsche 944 that year.

Electronic fuel injection has finally made the turbocharger work well for everyday driving (although Maserati Biturbo stuck with Weber carburetors throwing blows since 1986 in the United States), and it wasn’t long before that Supercharger become a magic word.

That’s right, in 1984, you had Ozone and Turbo dance while Ice-T came out with its movie. A few years ago, with Turbo Trans Am’reliability is not so excellent on the screen, Shrimp boogalooYour character will be assigned a different name. Although probable, based on the fact that at least one 1980s boombox built from Saab 900 dashThat Turbo name was inspired by Saab.

Saab will be credited for doing a lot to push turbochargers into the everyday mainstream.

You can get a three-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission in your new 1983 Saab 900, but it adds $370 (about $1,075 in 2022) to the cost of the car, and makes driving much less enjoyable. This one has a 5-speed manual; I suppose E next to the fifth gear stands for “effective”.

The five-door 900 Turbo is listed at $16,910 with a five-speed manual transmission, priced around $49,055 today. A new one BMW 528e priced at $23,985 that year ($69,580 now) and offered just 121 horsepower. That’s 14 horses less than today’s Junkyard Gem, though the 528e’s long straight six-stroke almost matches the 900 Turbo’s torque (170 versus 173 pound-feet). BMW car will sell you a 533i with 181 horsepower that year, but cost $28,985 ($84,085 in 2022).

The Saab’s interior isn’t as luxurious as the one in the 5 Series, but it’s nice enough.

Unreliable, non-abrasive body plus clean interior indicates us that this car the owner or the owner took good care of it. It has covered nearly 190,000 miles in 39 years. Saab 900 coupe and convertible hip nowbut it’s unlikely someone spent real money rescuing a hatchback sedan from its fate.

Saab was born from a jet and the owner of this car has some relationship with jet engine school here in Colorado. Meaningful!

The Saab Viggen . jet It’s about the most beautiful airplane of the mid-1980s, and Saab used it to help sell many 900 Turbos.

The world loves the 900.

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