1975 Saab 96
Made in Trollhattan by Trolls; solid car for recommissioning; work needed but lots to like; classic Saab with rally potential?
In production from 1960 to 1980, the Saab 96 was beloved by rally drivers and architects alike.
Idiosyncratic – and, famously, built by trolls in Trollhätten – the early 96 was powered by a three cylinder two-stroke producing all of 38bhp, drove through a three-speed gearbox complete with free-wheel and was surprisingly quick cross country. Eric Carlsson was virtually unbeatable rallying them and won the 1962 and 1963 Monte Carlo Rallies in a 96 (well, tweaked a bit but basically the same).
By 1967, the low-powered two-strokes were feeling very dated, so Saab introduced the 96 V4, using the Ford Taunus V4 engine, a four-stroke 1,498 cc V4 engine, originally developed for the 1962 Ford Taunus 15M. Its compact dimensions and 60+bhp were just what was needed, the German Ford V4 being a much more reliable unit than the British version which was seriously prone to head gasket failure.
It wasn’t that easy though, as most of the Saab Board of Directors were fully wedded to the old two-stroke motor. All testing and development had to be done in secrecy and just seven people in the business knew of its impending launch, Saab renting a house and starting a new company so that it could buy the parts needed for the new car to enter production without revealing their identity.
Prior to production start, 40 specially selected staff members were sworn to secrecy and told to report to work to fix an 'issue with the disc brakes' – in reality they were there to reorganise the factory ready for V4 production. You can only begin to imagine the furore that took place when the change was revealed.
This seven owner 96 dates from 1975 and has been with the current keeper since 2008. We are not blessed with any documentation other than a V5C, the car having been off the road since an MOT failure in 2007 at 74,767 miles.
We assume it was purchased as a project, as only two miles have been covered since. As such, the car will need plenty of TLC but the engine turns over and it looks complete so how hard can it be?
Beautifully put together and cleverly engineered, a Saab 96 makes an interesting and practical classic, with lots of opportunities to rally and compete if so desired.
For more information – contact [email protected]
Reg No: GDD791N
Chassis Number: 96752004224
Engine Number: 332732
Engine Size: 1498
Docs: V5C only
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