1978 Saab 99 Turbo – Heritage Collection Saab USA

Making its world debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1977, the 99 Turbo instantly became one of the most emblematic cars in Saab’s history. The launch car, finished in a unique Pearl White, is part of the Saab AB factory collection in Trollhättan, Sweden.

The four-cylinder 2.0L Turbo engine offered 135 horsepower, compared to 115 for the standard engine. However, torque was increased dramatically. Saab was first to offer a turbo tuned for low-speed torque in a sedan for daily driving, as opposed to high-speed power in a pure sports car such as the Porsche 911. A four-speed manual transmission was standard.

Saab avoided problems previously encountered in turbocharging carbureted engines by providing electronically controlled port fuel injection on the 99 Turbo. Emissions were controlled with one of the first “closed loop” catalyst systems controlled by an oxygen sensor.

A total of 10,607 Saab 99 Turbo vehicles were produced, starting with 100 test fleet cars in 1977 and continuing through 1982. It was offered in two-door, three-door and (very few) five-door body styles in Europe.

Despite mostly understated exterior colors, each 99 Turbo was immediately recognizable by the specific “Inca” alloy wheels, front air dam, rear spoiler, interior upholstery, instrumentation and steering wheel.

The 99 Turbo three-door hatchback was offered in the United States only during the 1978 model year, available in Black, Cardinal Red, Grey and Silver. After an imported total of 4,233 cars, the 99 Turbo was replaced by the larger Saab 900 Turbo three- and five-door hatchback in 1979.

Press release 2007
More cars from the Heritage Collection: http://saabworld.org/tag/heritage-collection/

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1 Comment

  1. I owned one of cars for several years, and it was amazing how much different they were from C900s. The 99 turbos had a 4-speed tranny, Bosch mechanical fuel injection, and a rather large Garrett turbo that lagged badly until 4000rpm, when it came into its own. No AC or power steering, built like a tank, solid and safe, it was no ordinary 1970s ride. The major trouble spot was the water pump, which ran off a layshaft gear inside the crankcase, and was a major PITA to replace or keep from leaking. A simple, unrefined car compared to the later 900s, with an upgraded Triumph engine the Saab engineers bored out to 2 liters. Great example of Saab taking tech from other sources and making it their own. The later 900s refined the engine, eliminating the troublesome gear driven water pump for a belt driven one, up-dated the fuse box, and made many other changes. While most Saabists overlook the 99 models, without them, and the 99 turbo, we would not have the 900. I’ve had many good times behind the wheel and under the hood with this model. And I believe it started the Saab tradition of sagging headliners…

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