1983 SAAB 99 GL 2.0 H-engine from Denmark


Cheap repair when something goes wrong


The clutch has been rebiuld for about three years ago. It had sometimes been very difficult to start the car in the winter time. I had therefore got a new ignition and a engine heater. The other repair to this car has only been standard services.

General Comments:

The car is not that fast from 0-100 km/h, but when drives about 80-100 km/h on the road in the highest gear, it's going fast up to 140 - or 160 if you want:-) It is not that good in fast corners, because the front of the car weight about 61 % of the cars weight. But the SAAB 99 goes nearly like a train on rails, when you drives on a long straight road. The economy is up to about 35 miles/Gallon, so that is pretty nice, but only about the half in the city. The Cw of the car is 0,37, so it not as aerodynamic as the mostly new cars from today. The model from 1983 weight 1025 kg, so it's not that heavy what it's look like. But it's also a pretty save car to drive in. It has for example plate brakes both rear and in the front. Remember: It's produced since 1968, so it's design may look a bit oldish for a lot of people. The last model 99 was made in 1984 with break free ignition, so I with go for one of the latest models if I was you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2003

1977 SAAB 99 GL 2.0L petrol from UK and Ireland


A modern car in a classic shape


Exhaust fell off almost immediately after purchase. However this was due to having been sitting around in the garage that I bought it from for a couple of months.

A certain amount of rust which required bodywork repair.

Losing a little coolant.

General Comments:

The Saab 99 is undoubtedly built to an extremely high standard and is a very solid car indeed. In fact my brother drove the car into a nissan micra which was written off and there was not a mark on the Saab, helped by it's huge bumpers. However due to the weight of the solid body the fuel consumption is rather poor.

Also the weight of the car makes performance a little sluggish, but the 2.0L Triumph derived engine is smooth and completely unburstable.

The rust on the car is only to be expected considering I original paid £800 and also considering the year of manufacture.

The steering is not assisted and is excruciatingly heavy during parking, but lightens up at speed and makes the car very relaxing to drive on fast A roads.

The suspension is firm and provides a well controlled ride although outright grip is a little low, but this is more to do with the 70s style of tyre than anything else.

Overall these old Saabs are stronger than any other car of the era except perhaps the old Mercs and if you want a classic looking continental cruiser look no further. There is of course the rare and collectable turbo version if you want truly brisk performance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th April, 2002

29th Dec 2003, 06:20

You're right - the Saab 99 is built like a tank, but the heavy gauge metal and all the complex pressings mean weight, and the 2.0 litre Triumph engine (1/2 a Stag V8 - now there's a pointless engine, but that's another story) is no powerhouse.

I found that my driving adapted to the car, from the 'sitting up straight' driving position to the need to plan ahead with respect to braking and acceleration.

Not a great car, but an interesting one.

21st Nov 2006, 19:21

I've had a 1977 Saab 99 four-door for six years in New Zealand and I agree with the comments above. Mine has survived virtually rust-free and has been a joy to own. I'm only the second owner in 29 years so that says something I think - it is still in its original shiny sky blue paint! I have the 1985cc automatic version which accelerates very well when it's tuned up by a knowledgeable mechanic - it accelerates very quietly past plenty of modern cars! I'd like to echo the solid description of the car; I've also had a Saab 900 Turbo with power steering, but the 99 feels much more solid to drive with the unassisted steering, and just seems to sit more sturdily as it drives. I recommend buying one if you're on the lookout for a classic Saab! Iain.

1st Nov 2008, 14:51

I think they are very good cars, the only thing that dates them IMO is the lack of 5th gear, they sound far too busy at motorway speeds.

31st Jul 2009, 10:46


Saab hadn't a lot of money to make their own 4 stroke engine in the beginning.

They bought at first Ford engines (Saab 96 etc), then Triumph.

It was lucky for Saab, Triumph built this silly engine (they could have taken the Rover V8, but...)

The 2.0 Litre was remade by Saab and therefore no more a real Triumph and a much better engine.