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1981 Saab 99 Turbo Two Door – A Collector’s Dream

Rare Find: 1981 Saab 99 Turbo Two Door - A Historic Gem at Auction

1981 Saab 99 Turbo Two Door in Red: A Collector's Classic at the Upcoming Auction

The 1981 Saab 99 Turbo, a rare and ground-breaking model, is now available at an upcoming auction. This desirable two-door model is known for its superior handling, a hallmark of the Saab brand. In 2015, the engine of this iconic car underwent a significant upgrade with the fitting of a TurboDynamics turbo, enhancing its performance and reliability.

Restoration and Readiness

This Saab 99 Turbo has been meticulously maintained and improved upon, ready to be taken to the next level by its new owner. Its status as a historic vehicle adds to its appeal, exempting it from MOT, tax, and ULEZ. The car’s pioneering role in the mass-produced turbocharging segment, spearheaded by SAAB, is a testament to the brand’s innovation, especially in safety and performance.

Rear View of 1981 Saab 99 Turbo: A Solid Project Base Despite Visible Bodywork Wear
Rear View of 1981 Saab 99 Turbo: A Solid Project Base Despite Visible Bodywork Wear

Historical Significance

This particular model, a very rare survivor, was discovered as a barn find in 2007 and has since received ongoing mechanical and structural investment. Its history as a leader in the sporting saloon market is well-documented, with the two-door version acclaimed for its stiffer shell and enhanced handling.

Documentation and Ownership

Regarding its history and paperwork, the car was first registered on April 15, 1981, and has been under the current owner’s care since October 27, 2007. The extensive history of the car includes parts invoices and records of welding work, demonstrating the careful maintenance it has received over the years.

Interior of 1981 Saab 99 Turbo: Well-Preserved in Iconic Cardinal Red, Exuding Vintage Charm
Interior of 1981 Saab 99 Turbo: Well-Preserved in Iconic Cardinal Red, Exuding Vintage Charm

Condition and Maintenance

The condition of the car, though complete, requires some attention, particularly in the bodywork and interior. Welding work has been done in various areas, as visible in photographs. The interior, complete and factory correct, does require refurbishment, with the driver’s seat worn and the headlining needing replacement.


The front spoiler is broken and requires repairs. It is fitted with Minilite-style alloys that need refurbishment, and the attractive later 99 interior features complete switchgear in fair condition. The replacement speedometer shows approximately 8,000 miles more than the car has actually covered.

Extensive Repair History

The extensive history covering parts invoices and welding work is a testament to the car’s ongoing improvement up to 2019. This work included welding and replacement parts, all undertaken by marque specialists. The invoices date back to the 1990s, with the speedometer replaced after the March 2019 MOT test, showing 152,000 miles at that time. The last MOT expired on March 31, 2021, with advisories for corrosion.

Engine Bay of 1981 Saab 99 Turbo: Featuring Upgraded TurboDynamics Turbo and Meticulously Maintained Mechanics
Engine Bay of 1981 Saab 99 Turbo: Featuring Upgraded TurboDynamics Turbo and Meticulously Maintained Mechanics

Mechanical Details

The mechanics of the car are noteworthy, featuring a 1985cc ‘slant four’ SAAB engine with an upgraded TurboDynamics turbo. Standard cars deliver around 145bhp through the front wheels, but this model’s performance is enhanced by the upgraded turbo. The engine was rebuilt in 2015, and there is no blue smoke from the engine, indicating its good health.

It has been run up every week for the last few years. The Bosch Warm Up Regulator has been refurbished, and the vendor reports slight hesitation mid-range, which could be due to its low usage. The non-power steering model is feted by enthusiasts for its steering feel, and the engine bay has been resprayed the correct color during its recent history.

Auction Opportunity

This unique 1981 Saab 99 Turbo Two Door, with its blend of historical value, mechanical integrity, and restoration potential, is a must-see at the upcoming auction scheduled to begin on November 29, 2023, in Cardiff, United Kingdom. This auction presents a rare opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of automotive history.

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