Just In Time For Summer: 1991 Saab 900 Convertible SPG

Here's a striking Saab 900 convertible in what the seller says is "Monte Carlo Yellow".

For those that don't know, Saab is currently under receivership after declaring itself bankrupt, a sad ending to a beloved manufacturer of solid and reliable cars. How they got to this point is anybody's guess, as they were from one of the wealthiest and most advanced nations on the planet, but a lot of people are pointing to the meddling of General Motors starting around 1989, and continuing through the '90s until their complete control of the company in 2000. Some say General Motors buys the competition to destroy it.

The 900 nameplate lasted for 20 years and 2 generations and was their most well-known product. It was a front-engine, front-wheel drive car available in a range of body styles, from two-door hatchback to sedan to convertible. If you're going to have an otherwise dull front-wheel drive car, the 900 was a great alternative to choices from America and Japan, because Saab gave you more for your money: quality craftsmanship, optional turbocharged boost, and extensive cargo space in the hatchback models. That combination wasn't found elsewhere.

This here is a late model first generation "Classic" 900 designed by Björn Envall. The 900 Classic chassis lasted from 1978 to 1994, before General Motors influenced the creation of a new 900 based on an Opel platform.

It also has a Special Performance Group (SPG) package, which meant a 16-valve 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 160 horsepower. It also featured a sport suspension of stiffer shocks, springs and swaybars. All of the 900 Classic cars had 4-cylinder engines, which, while bulletproof, were not exactly hair-raising. The addition of a turbocharger was a nice touch. Frankly, if you're going to get an old classic Saab, you might as well find a turbocharged version. I can't imagine the appeal in owning anything else, as it would just be like any other FWD four-banger.

The seller states this 900 SPG is 1 of only 300 made in 1991, which was also the last year of production. Apparently only around a total of 7,000 were made, and in varying limited colors each year. This one looks great in two-tone yellow and grey plastic trim over black leather interior, even if it resembles a banana from afar. The SPG cars also came with three-spoke wheels and special body cladding which looks intact here and still presents well after all these years.

This car has an automatic transmission, which is slightly disappointing, but I think automatics are nice on convertibles because half the pleasure is slow top-down boulevard cruising anyways.

The seller says this 900 has no major cosmetic flaws except for a scratch on one of the doors, cracks in the dash, a blemish in the cloth top and some wear on the leather interior, which is actually quite a little laundry list if you're a perfectionist, but these cars were usually trashed, so that all could be considered minor wear. It certainly wouldn't affect usability.

The good news is they say there is no rust.

Mechanically, the seller says there are no major issues as well and that is runs "best as it ever has".

They are asking a buy it now price of $9,700 but have an auction with a starting the reserve at $5,900. Not surprisingly, the listing has attracted no bidders so far, because both of those prices are outrageous. Sure, not many 900 SPG convertibles were built and this one seems to have survived intact, but it's got an automatic and has 150,000 miles on the clock. $9,700 is pristine example money. This should be acquired for under $5k, like in the $2k-$3k range. Any more and it makes no sense. You can get a used '90s BMW convertible for the same price but have more fun in it.

Still you have to wonder, with the brand potentially becoming extinct, this car may be considered a true classic beyond the eyes of diehard fans someday.

Find it here on ebay in Westbury, New York.

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