1967 SAAB 96 V4 1.5 from UK and Ireland
Brilliant - wish they still made them
Clutch failed 5 times in 27 years, but the car can be driven without the clutch due to the freewheel, if you start in first & switch the engine off at lights.
Engine needed rebuilding at 210,000 miles as the oil warning light glowed on tickover.
Cylinder head cracked at 290,000 miles due to overheating, & spare head gaskets are no longer available for early engines, so had to fit a later engine.
Lots of other things went wrong in 27 years ownership, but due to its robust build quality, the car was always worth fixing, especially as I only paid £5 to buy it.
Body rusted in many areas, and I spent roughly £400 on welding repairs each year.
A really brilliant design. Superb steering column gear change combined with freewheel and superb handling to make it one of the most enjoyable drives ever.
The V4 engine has a delightful engine note, sort of a burble that builds to a steady thrum, nice to listen to on a long journey.
On the downside, car was very under geared so was flat out at 85 and drank fuel at 70. Best speed was about 55 when it would do about 35 to the gallon.
Body panels were very thick and strong, so rust took a long time to come through.
Seats fold forward so the car is able to carry long loads & the boot area is huge.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th September, 2009
18th Dec 2009, 23:03
1967: SAAB96V4, early model. Not a total HOS, but close. Had one from new. Inner drive shaft joint and gearbox bearings failed by 7,000 miles. And naturally dealers wriggled out of warranty commitment until the one-year/12,000 miler period was up. Brake lines inside was a good idea, but only if the windscreen didn't leak. In my case, brake and fuel lines simply became rusty sooner. Supposedly had a built-in rollover bar, but never had the opportunity to confirm.
Good traction in snow for a front wheel drive. Needed a special puller for the rear brakes. Swinging caliper meant front pads came as a set of four, rather than two sets of two. But did stop well. Nice paint quality. Not much performance (65bhp). Understandable considering the drive joint and gearbox weakness. Front suspension a little soft, but you could replace with cut-down Toyota coils. Column gear change was not a problem, but never used the free-wheel device. Essentially turned me off SAAB for life. Sold it at 17,000 miles and went to Japan. “It was my karma”. So not sorry to read of SAAB's demise. When you spend some £700 of your hard-earned money at age 25, you tend to take being ripped-off a little personally.