Archive for the 'Saab 99 Turbo – Articles' Category

Saab 99 Turbo Celebrating 40 Years

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

I just realized as we pull in to 2017 it’s been 40 years since Saab introduced the Saab 99 Turbo! This article is my reflections on my experience with what is my one of favorite cars of all time.

Ten years ago I launched the Saab 99 Turbo Registry which also coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Saab 99 Turbo. The 99 Turbo remains my favorite Saab and in fact my favorite car I have ever owned. Astonishingly, I had been a Saab fan for over 20 years before I even knew about the Saab 99 Turbo. I first became familiar with Saabs in the early 80s, growing up in St. Louis, Missouri where they were popular.

Saab 99 Turbo

My 1978 Saab 99 Turbo. In this photo I had driven 3 hours through the beautiful Fall colors in the mountains of Northern California and vineyards of Napa Valley to be with family for Thanksgiving. One of my favorite memories of that car.

A few years later in 1985-1987 when I was in college in Boulder, Colorado, the Saab 900s – particularly the SPGs – were a coveted car to have. I was a bike racer and I also noticed on long training rides you’d see two kinds of cars in the small towns high up in the mountains: 4-wheel drive trucks and old Saabs.

However it wasn’t until 2000 that I bought my first Saab: a 1993 Saab 900 Turbo convertible. A year later I bought my 2nd Saab: a 1982 900 which I got for $800, so I now had two Saabs. I actually really loved the simplicity of the ’82 900, making it my daily driver and keeping the convertible for weekends. By 2005, with a baby in the house and another on the way, I had sold the convertible since it was no longer practical and was just driving the ’82 while I figured out my next car. My wife suggested I look at the newer, GM Saabs, which I resisted, considering myself a ‘classic Saab’ fan. However, I discovered the Saab Viggen and fell in love. In the Summer of 2005 I bought a gray 2001 Viggen and was absolutely crazy about that car. Yes it was a ‘GM’ Saab but I felt like they really did a lot to stay true to the classic Saab ethic and the Viggen felt like an SPG approach to the standard 9-3. My addiction to Saabs was really taking off at this point. The guy who sold me the Viggen – like many Saab owners – was so cool. He included a collection of Saab magazines, articles and books. An evening ritual became hunkering down with a glass of wine and delving into the old articles and especially the books to explore the history of this incredible car company. There was so much to love about the company, its people, its history and of course, its cars. I was in love with so many of the models, but the one that really found its way into my heart was the Saab 99 Turbo. It was similar to the 900 I was so familiar with, but had more of a snub nose and unique details that made it so close to the iconic 900 but also set it in a class of its own. A particular eye-catching detail was the Inca rims. There never was nor has been a wheel as uniquely cool as the Saab 99 Turbo’s Inca rims.

While I had my Viggen in the garage (which I loved) and the 1982 900 as well (which I also loved and drove regularly), I became obsessed with the 99 Turbo. While I continued to immerse myself in the history and details of the car, I also found myself regularly in the classifieds of Saabnet and eBay, drooling over the 99s. By later that year I had found “the one” and somehow convinced my wife to let me get it, in spite of having just brought our latest baby into the home. My 3-year-old son and I caught a flight from Redding, California to Seattle where we met the sellers that same day and started our trip home.

It was a great way to start my relationship with that incredible little car. We spent the first night right outside Seattle, then continued on down through Oregon. The 99 Turbo was such a fun car to drive. It did not have power steering so you really felt the steering and had to put some muscle into turning at times. The kick of the turbo was unique to the 99 Turbo as well: it had a very raw power in the way it kicked in that you really have to experience to understand how it is different from other turbos such as in the SPG.

Mainly I think because of its age, the Saab 99 Turbo just had a simplicity that made it feel simple, classic, raw. There were also a number of features that made the 99 Turbo unique.

It has a turbo boost gauge on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. It also had unique “Alligator Clip” seatbelt that did not have a clip. This always threw anybody off when they got in for the first time and started searching for the clip part of the belt. With these belts there was just a strap and you put into the Alligator Clip. You can see it in the video I produced which was another awesome day I spent with my 3 kids, again driving from Redding, spending some time in Clear Lake, California before winding through the mountains down through Napa into Sonoma County.

I sold the 1982 900 as part of my deal with my wife to be able to buy the 99 Turbo. Those were certainly incredible days with my two dream Saabs and to this day it would be hard to choose one over the other. That said, I have to conclude that the Saab 99 Turbo was my favorite of all the cars I owned. It uniquely captured the spirit and history of Saab and was a special pivot-point for such a cool company. It had the classic lines of the 900 but also had a raw edge and power that made it so damn fun to drive. Sadly I had to sell my 99 Turbo a few years back. Of all the cars I’ve owned, it’s the one I miss the most and I can’t help but hope I’ll find myself behind the wheel of one again someday.

Saab99Turbo.com is managed and sponsored by Santa Rosa web design company Abra Marketing.

To the Customs and the Classics

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

I’ve always been more of a lover of the stock versions of vehicles. Saab did such a great job on the design table, I’ve always loved them as they came off the factory line and mostly cringe at custom versions. But I’ve come across this article a number of times and just love John Webber’s orange 1978 Saab 99 Turbo.

Let me know your comments. Classic or Custom? Which do you prefer? Send us your photos and I’ll append them to this story.

John Webber orange 1978 Saab 99 Turbo

John's Webber's orange 1978 Saab 99 Turbo

See the original article on Motormavens.

Saab 99 Turbo in the Digital World

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Great image of a Saab 99 Turbo from the Forza Motorsport Xbox game. I have to give the development team credit – they did a beautiful job recreating the Saab 99 Turbo with beautiful attention to detail.

Beautiful Cardinal Red Saab 99 Turbo from Forza Motorsport Xbox game.

You can see the original, full-size image here.

Saab 99 Turbo now on XBox through Forza3 Classic Car Pack

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

A 1978 Saab 99 Turbo is now available in a video game for Xbox. Registry Member Dennis Lin’s beautiful black 99 Turbo was used by the Microsoft team to photograph and create the digital version.

The 99 Turbo was one of 10 classics released on 12/14/2010 as part of the Forza Motorsport 3 Classics Car Pack available for purchasing on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

I welcome input from anyone who has greater insight into the Forza Motorsport 3 XBox game.

Here are some great videos showing the game:

The Billy Graham Story

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Billy Graham is the young man featured on the Saab99Turbo.com poster. You can also read about him on his Registry page.

What follows is a bit more about Billy’s story from conversations I had with his mom and dad, one of the many special experiences I’ve had running Saab99Turbo.com.

Not for Everyone. Essential to a Few.
Billy Graham’s father Dan remembers coming across his young son in the living room reading a giant SAAB repair manual of all things. The sight of his son absorbed in this thick document was particularly strange since it was hard to get Billy to read
anything.

“I want a SAAB,” Billy excitedly told his Dad. Dan quickly brought his son back to reality, suggesting it would be more realistic to get an old VW.

Dan described to me how Billy walked sullenly to his room, his Mom saying to Dan, “You just took away his dream.” He went into Billy’s room and sat down with his boy.

“Billy, this is America. You can have anything you want. But you have to be willing to work for it. If you want a SAAB, then I’m sure you can figure out a way to get one.”

Within a few weeks, Billy had a job in a burrito factory. His mom Karen remembers the smell of refried beans as soon as he’d walk through the door over the next year.

The day before his 16th birthday, Billy bought his first car: a 1978 SAAB 99 Turbo.

As with most SAAB owners, Billy’s love for this car went above the normal call of duty. He taught himself to work on the car, apprenticing with a local mechanic until he could perform most of the work himself. Eventually he earned a reputation as a decent SAAB mechanic, working on SAABs from around the Bay area. As for his own SAAB, Billy lowered his 99, rebuilt the engine, repainted it, and increased the boost. His 99 Turbo was chosen as the ‘Car of the Month’ in his high school newspaper in January 1988.

In 1992, Billy was diagnosed with malignant melanoma (skin cancer) at the age of 21. Billy – and his family – were determined to fight this disease. What had seemed like a pesky mole, however, unbelievably took its toll and Billy died on March 2nd, 1994 at the age of 22.

We at Saab99Turbo.com are grateful to carry on his spirit and the love of special things that make life worth living.

Dedicated to Billy Graham: August 5, 1971 – March 2, 1994

Saab Addicted – Chapter 2

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Here is the latest addition to the collection of 30 Saab 99 Turbos in our Registry for a single owner: #13 of 30+ Saab 99 Turbo’s.

We also added a pretty image to one of the previous listings. It’s letter from the Saab marketing department about this Limited Edition, 5-door Saab 99 Turbo. Click here to view the listing.
Here is the letter’s content:
Dated: 13 October 1978
To: Turbo Dealers
From: SAAB marketing Department
Content:
Gentlemen,

99 Series – 5 Door Turbo – Limited Edition

We have now received the ‘Type Approval’ certificate for this model.

As most of you are aware from various ‘leaks’, we only have a limited number of just over 100 of these, therefore they are and will become “collectors pieces”.

The 5-door Turbo is:

In Cardinal Red Metallic

GLE specification, with the addition of:
Manual gearbox.
Turbo wheels.
Rear and front spoilers.
Stereo radio and stereo cassette player.
Sun Roof.

Retail price of £6,350

We are now awaiting your orders. These cars will receive no publicity or normal promotion but have been mentioned to the press.

Yours sincerely,

R.S. Clements
Marketing Manager

Addicted: Saab 99 Turbo

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

December I’m dedicating my efforts to helping one of our members get all of his Saab 99 Turbos added to the Registry. It’s taking quite an effort because he has more than 30 Saab 99 Turbos. I’m curious if this is the biggest car collection of a specific make and model.

He’s asked to remain anonymous so you will find the listing under the name ‘Saab 99 Turbo Heritage.’ Here is the latest addition to the Registry, a black 1981, right-hand-drive Saab 99 Turbo originally from the UK.

While I love the hatch on my 1978 99 Turbo, there’s definitely something cool about the sloped back of these models. His photos really capture the beauty of the red interiors. Stay tuned for our daily additions to the list.

In closing, I welcome any comments about other fanatical Saab collectors out there. I’ve heard of some brothers in either Oregon or Washington who I believe collect old 2-stroke Saabs. Please share your stories.

Saab Still in the Hot Seat

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Congratulations to Steve Wade of Saabs United. Great to see you on CNN.com. Click on that link for a great article by Steve giving a good snapshot of the current state of affairs of Saab and reflecting on the history of the company.

Something’s telling me that things are going to work out the way they are meant to be for Saab. It is certainly exciting to see all the energy around Saab and reading the posts and comments. Nothing like something dying to bring out all the previously missing appreciation.

Part of me feels I should be caught up in all the excitement. But maybe it’s my health, or the stress of my profession and family issues, but I find myself feeling my place is to continue where I’ve been – enjoying my Saabs and my own personal Saab experience where I can. If Saab ‘dies,’ none of that is going to change. I’ll still be driving one of my three Saabs through the mountains every week. Tinkering on them and finding repair parts when I can afford to. And working to keep improving this site.

This month I’m focusing on adding the Saabs of one of our members who has more than 30 Saab 99 Turbos. It’s going to take me the rest of the month if not into January. But it’s been a hell of a lot of fun along the way.

Cool Saab Article on Car

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Well done, albeit sobering, article on CAR magazine website:

Saab: 1947-2009? Gavin Green pays tribute to Saab

Have your own thoughts on these strange times for Saab or the history of Saab? I welcome your input. Send me your stories/comments/etc. I’ll publish them here as a story or compilation of everyone’s input.

Great Article Comparing Turbo X to 99 Turbo

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

thanks, Swade at Trollhattan Saab,

This is a great article I hadn’t seen.

http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2008/12/saab-turbo-x-vs-saab-99-turbo.html