Oldie But Goodie: 83k-mile 1973 Saab 96

The Saab 96 was produced from the remarkable length of 1960 to 1980. It was based on the 93, which was based on the 92, which was introduced in 1949 (!) and was Saab's first production car.

In today's car manufacturing years, 20 years for the same body and chassis is a lifetime. But unusually long duration was just one of Saab's many quirks. In fact, a lot of European auto manufacturers tended to keep body styles for what is now considered long periods. But back then, a lot of European cars, even in the '50s, '60s, and '70s were still innovative and very well made; so from the manufacturer's point of view, hey, if you make a great product, why replace it when it's still got a lot of shelf life left?

Such must have been part of Saab's strategy with the 96.

The 96 was an important and iconic car for Saab, sort of like what the Beetle was for VW, though on a much smaller scale. It was a two-door coupe featuring a front-engine and front-wheel drive. The Saab 95 was a two-door station wagon variant.

The engine was a very small Ford V4 that produced a measly 65 horsepower. This one is mated to a 4-speed synchromesh manual transmission. The gear lever is mounted on the steering column, a rarity. This was appreciated by driving enthusiasts as it is easier and quicker to shift nearest the steering wheel than it is to reach onto the floor.

The seller is a dealer and doesn't elaborate on any back story with this example. Although over 547,221 were made, most were probably sold in Scandinavia and you can bet not many are here.

This one looks great in flat tan over caramel seats. The pictures don't show any close ups but the car looks whole, clean and tight. I can't see any major damage. The interior looks amazingly clean and neat. The engine bay only shows typical wear.

While not a sports car and no other really standout features, these are still unique little vehicles, and with Saab going out of business, it's the old survivors that will bring a twinkle to a fan's eye and be a hit at the local car show.

Find it here on the dealer's website in Lisbon, Maine for $5,995.

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