Save The Saabs: 1968 SAAB 96

The vintage car market is a fickle thing — while plenty of low buck classic marques survive the years due to sheer mass (think VW Beetle, W108 Benz), other oddball classics aren’t worth enough for collectors to pay attention, but they weren’t built in large enough numbers to survive being used as winter beaters and they are slowly becoming extinct.  These are cars like Studebakers, AMCs, and Saabs — particularly the old two-stroke variety that ooze charisma and oil in equal quantities.  Find this 1968 SAAB 96 here on eBay bidding for $2,025 reserve-not-met with 2 days to go.

A similar condition Porsche 911/912 would be scooped up by some “investor” for something in the 5-figure range and restored to 6-figures, but the lowly 96 sits forlornly offered for the price of a set of Michelins for a new luxury/sport SUV.  It’s good and bad — good if you are a buyer on a budget, bad when you consider the longevity of the breed.

Powering this oddball is a 841cc (51 cubic inch) 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine that puts out 40 horsepower into a syncromesh 4-speed manual gearbox.  Power is sent to the front wheels with an odd freewheel setup which decouples the engine from the drivetrain when you lift the throttle — this was an attempt by Saab to avoid oil starvation (the 2-stroke uses oil pre-mixed with fuel to lubricate the piston rings) on long downhill sections of road.

This isn’t a museum quality example, in fact it shows quite a bit of wear/tear on the inside and out (some rust too) — but all the lights work, same for gauges, radio — hey what more can you ask for in a $2k classic?

See another two-stroke classic? tips@dailyturismo.com