The Saab 96 was the final evolution of the original aerospace derived and teardrop shaped Ur-SAAB. In typical Saab fashion, the 96 continued in production long after its planned replacement (the 99) was released, in fact the 96 continued in production through 1980. Today the 96 makes a great uncommon alternative to something like the VW Beetle and can be picked up for not a lot of cash. Find this 1968 Saab 96 V4 offered for $2000 in Mountain View, CA via craigslist.
A few months back we featured a cheap Volvo 240 sedan (244) that had a small block V8 attached to a 3-speed manual gearbox. It wasn’t a bad build, but strange that the Muncie 3-speed would have been selected as the transmission, but who cares, it was cheap. A few months later and it is for sale at a new place a few hundred miles away with new shoes and for more than double the earlier price. Find this 1979 Volvo 244 V8 offered for $12,500 in Chino Hills, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Volvo has never been known as a performance brand, but they did dip their Swedish feet into the proverbial speed pool in the early aughts with a few shiny things wearing an “R” badge. It actually started earlier with the 850R in 1995, but that was still front-wheel-drive and only sporty compared to a 4-cylinder powered brick boat house like the 240, but in 2003 Volvo kicked up their speed game with the turbocharged 5-cylinder V70R that put out 300 horsepower into all four wheels. It wasn’t as fast as the German (BMW M, Audi S) or Japanese (STi/Evo) competition, but you could buy one for the family because your wife thought it wasn’t a toy. Find this 2004 Volvo V70R offered for $13,000 in San Bruno, CA via craigslist.
Some say there is a fine line between being a collector and a hoarder. But that’s only partially true. There is a difference and it depends on what you are amassing. If your collection is newspaper clippings related to something interesting — you could be a collector. But if it just every copy of your local rag — you’re a hoarder. Collecting cereal boxes — hoarder. Got more jewelry than Flavor Flav — collector. A few cabinets full of watches — collector? Beanie babies overflowing your bedroom — hoarder. But then we get to the delicate question of automobiles. Jay Leno, is he a collector or a hoarder? One could say that his cars are well maintained and interesting enough to bump him into the category of collector, but what about the Jay Leno wannabee up in the high desert plain who has collection of derelict Saab Sonetts? Collector or hoarder? Find this collection of three 1974 Saab Sonetts offered for $6000, $4000, and $3500 in Lancaster, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Volvo 960 (1990-1998) was the last of the proper longitudinal front-engine rear-wheel-drive Volvos built on a platform that started with the 140 series way back in 1966. It wasn’t the last interesting car to come out of Volvo, but if you like your Volvos to be boxy-but-good, this is the car that’ll last past 340k miles or kilometers or whatever. Find this 1995 Volvo 960 offered for $7000 near Harvard in MA via craigslist. Tip from ME.
Cars are like people. Some are reliable, some are not. Some are nice, and some will try to kill you. All are interesting, many have scars, but the most fascinating ones have some miles on the clock and won’t cost an arm/leg to spend some time with. And this next car is certainly something like an old man with a white beard that you’d meet near some seaside town and talk about nuances of the weather or the local flora or woodworking or how to properly do leatherwork. He certainly wouldn’t know what social media is and he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Find this 1963 Volvo PV544 offered for $5,500 in Oakland, CA via craigslist.
Car enthusiasts love spending money on the hobby. I don’t say this as a bad thing, but it is something that I get reminded when I see things like this next car. The seller has put over $20k of cash in the car, including a stage 4 tune that puts something like 400 horsepower into the front wheels of a simple Saab 9-5 wagon. I’d concede that the seller is asking top dollar for this thing, because you could get a clean 9-5 wagon for a lot less, but then you’ve got to spend the time and money to catch this one. Find this 1999 Saab 9-5 Wagon offered for $12,500 in Westminster, CO via craigslist. Tip from Jeff.
In 2005 General Motors released a Saab badged version of the mid-sized GMT360 SUV platform that shares parts with the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer & SSR, GMC Envoy, Oldsmobile Bravada, and Isuzu Ascender. The Saab 9-7x only survived through the 2009 model year, but it offers an interesting alternative to the various domestic mid-sized SUVs built around the same era. Find this 2006 Saab 9-7X offered for $3,500 in Richmond, VA via saabnet classifieds. Tip from BP.
The Volvo PV444/544 was affectionately called the “Swedish 1941 Ford” even though sales of this 4-cylinder equipped Volvo started in 1947 in Sweden (1958 in USA) and continued through the 1966 model year. It was known for ruggedness, vintage styling, and some surprising wins at SCCA class racing and at the 1965 East African Safari Rally in Kenya. Today’s example is about as cheap as you get for a car that isn’t a total basket case…which means this car is only a partial basket case. If the car is a weekend away from being a drivable restoration candidate…then I think is a steal. Find this 1958 Volvo PV444 offered for $2,400 in Long Beach, CA via craigslist.
This next car is a Saab Sonett III, so that means the 2-stroke oil burner was no longer an option (shame, that would be the one to get IMHO) and it is powered by a V4 borrowed from the European Ford Taunus. The V4 displaces 1.7 liters and puts out 65 horsepower to a 4-speed manual gearbox mated to the front wheels, not exactly a performance nirvana, but at a sub 2000 lb curb weight, it won’t be a penalty box either. Find this 1974 Saab Sonett III offered for $5000 in Ham Lake, MN via craigslist. Tip from Kester.