Immediately recognizable by its entirely new back end, including large, three-quarter side windows and a panoramic rear windshield, the Saab 96 was introduced in 1960 as an evolution of the model 93. It stayed true to its front-wheel-drive layout and two-stroke, three-cylinder engine.
The Saab 96 immediately became an international success in road rallies, beating many higher-powered cars with its lightweight agility and poor-weather capability. The 96 grabbed one of its first overall victories in the prestigious 1960 Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Rally in Great Britain, driven by Erik “On the Roof” Carlsson.
Saab went on to win the RAC Rally three more times. It also took top honors in the famous Monte Carlo rally in 1962 and 1963, before established giants such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Ford. The Sport model of the Saab 96 was named “Monte Carlo” in 1965-1968, in honor of this accomplishment.
Thanks to its timeless design and rugged reputation that was largely forged in rally competition, the Saab 96 developed an extraordinary long-legged career. Joined in 1959 by an innovative three-door, three-row station wagon called Saab 95, the series soldiered on until 1980 – a lifespan of almost 33 years since the public debut of the 92 prototype.
The 1960 RAC Rally-winning Saab 96 was restored in the early 1990s by an American collector. It was driven nearly 30,000 additional miles before being acquired by Saab USA, and added to the Heritage Collection.
Press release 2007
More cars from the Heritage Collection: http://saabworld.org/tag/heritage-collection/