1986 SAAB 900 S 16v I4 from North America


Genuine Swedish design and thoughtful engineering still serve this car well at almost 20 years old


Rear brake line rusted and burst (112,600 miles). Replaced myself for about $17.

Clutch Slave Cylinder went out (114,800 miles). VERY DIFFICULT to replace, it took me about 35 hours because you must remove the disk prior to removing the slave, and removing the diss requires depressing the pressure plate WITH THE SLAVE CYLINDER WHICH WAS broken. I ended up depressing each finger on the pressure plate by hand and using 3/8" long pieces of 1/4" round stock wedged between the plate housing and fingers. Parts were cheap though, about $160 for a new disk, slave and pilot.

Fuel "straw" that sucks from the bottom of the tank to the pump developed a hole, and will suck air at about 1/3 tank and cause the car to quit running. I just fill up around 1/2 tank now, which is a shame because I used to get about 400 miles/tank.

General Comments:

I love the unique look of the car. Not many autos have such raw design appeal.

My Saab is a 4 door sedan with a trunk. I added an SPG front air dam and trunk lid spoiler which made it look slightly sportier.

The best way to drive a Saab is to never be a hurry to get where you're going. It drives best when eased along at an almost sleepy pace.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2005

1986 SAAB 900 Carb (Petrol) from UK and Ireland


Solid, basic, and properly engineered


For a 16 year old car, remarkably little - and mostly relatively minor.

Rear shock absorber detached, and rear suspension needed about £700 of work to rebuild, including some welding. This may have been due to rust.

Needed some welding around front suspension area to pass MOT.

Required fix of ground fault in rear lights.

Required carb adjustment to pass MOT emissions test.

Required new distributor cap (replaced rotor arm too) to try and make engine run smoother from cold - burned electrodes. This helped, but the carb was probably needing cleaned out - although I never actually got the time to overhaul this before I have the car away. It ran very rough on cold days, sometimes on only 2 or 3 cylinders if I let it idle with the choke out, but was just fine after warming up for 5 minutes, or if I kept the mixure lean, and foot on the accelerator at idle. It wouldn't go above about 65 mph probably because of this carb problem.

Heated seats stopped working, although not really worth fixing.

Rear demister decayed (expected with age)

General Comments:

A very solid, comfortable, and pleasant to drive car. Nice soft suspension that gave a comfortable ride on the often poor UK roads. For a 16 year old vehicle, amazingly all instruments, the original Phillips radio (after a little rewiring), and the heater all still worked perfectly. Lots of boot space, but had a silly spacesaver spare wheel.

This vehicle was very uneconomic. The 1985cc carburettor petrol engine was quite thirsty, as one would expect for a relatively unsophisticated petrol engine that was being started from cold, and run for short journeys of 10 miles or so, while hauling nearly 1.7 tonnes of steel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th October, 2004

1986 SAAB 900 S 2.0 Liter from North America


Warning: Saabs are addicting and if own one once you'll never buy anything else


The air-conditioner stopped working for a few days and just before I brought it to be repaired, it started to work.

General Comments:

I love this car with all my heart. I am a meteorologist who works and studies at the Mount Washington observatory in northern New Hampshire. I live in Whitefield which is about 25 minutes from the base of the mountain. Every day rain or shine My 1986 saab hatch and I climb all 6,280 feet of very steep winding road to the top. The car has been doing this weather permitting (blizzards) every day. I have never once worried that the almost 400,000 miles would slow it down. To climb the mountain I select third gear which enables the car to climb at about 35 mph at 2500-3000 RPM depending upon grade. (10-20) degrees. Many cars are not able to climb the mountain. The other day I saw a Porsche 911 pulled over with an overheated engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th July, 2004

13th Jul 2004, 23:42

I have a SAAB 900 Turbo convertable and I agree with everything you said, these cars are AMAZING! They are fast and drive like no other. I will own at least one SAAB for the rest of my life.

24th Jun 2006, 20:25

This brought a tear to my eye.