Original Saab 9000
According to the purists the 9000 isn't really a proper Saab, in that it isn’t ugly or idiosyncratic. It is, however, very pleasant to drive with a decent ride, solid build and executive expense account running costs. I’ve had three, and they were all brilliant.
Saab 99 Turbo
In 1977 it wasn’t just punk that shook the world. When the 99's small turbo spun into action you knew all about it as you wrestled with the steering wheel. Saloons and hatches were available, but two and three-door models look the coolest, in black, of course. The engines aren't exactly unburstable and a few are still spinning on their original turbos. Build quality, devoted owners and those who understand the demands of driving this grenade on the limit are the only reasons why there are any survivors.
For most people this is the classic Saab that established the company’s reputation in the UK for making solid, dependable and safe cars. Launched in 1979, the most exciting model was the Turbo, which developed a hefty 145bhp. Better, though, was the Turbo 16 hatchback and saloon from 1984, with twin overhead camshafts and intercooler producing 175bhp. Turbo 16S had side skirts, spoked alloys, leather and stiffer suspension.
If you want a convertible that looks like a giant shoe, then the original 900 drop-top will fit the bill. It has all of the qualities of the saloon, including a structure that is far stiffer than those of plenty of contemporary tin-tops. So the most solid and, it has to be said, easily the coolest 1980s convertible, and in Turbo form one of the most rapid.
Not nearly as good as the original 900 and everyone makes fun of the fact that underneath there is an awful lot of Vauxhall Cavalier. In hatchback format it is fine (I had one for a few years), but once the roof goes missing so does the handling. It is flimsy, so best for posing rather than pushing hard.
Far better than anyone could have expected, and different enough from the Germans for those who want to stand out from the executive crowd. Like previous the 9-5 it is absolutely huge inside, which has to be a good thing. Safe as houses, of course, and also it will cost far less to run than most rivals, with 53.3mpg from the diesel.
So which ones do you like? Let me know below.