Prince Bertil’s 1978 Saab 99: A Majestic Restoration Journey

Reviving Royalty: The Majestic Restoration of Prince Bertil's Saab 99 EMS

In a remarkable feat of dedication and passion, the meticulous restoration of Prince Bertil‘s iconic 1978 Saab 99 Turbo has reached its triumphant conclusion after a journey spanning nearly two years and over a thousand hours of painstaking craftsmanship. The culmination of this endeavor coincides with the present month, marking a momentous achievement that transcends mere vehicular restoration to become a celebration of history, royalty, and automotive artistry.

The Saab 99 Turbo, a rare gem revered for its performance and unique design, was originally available in classic black or cardinal red. However, for a prince whose persona resonated with regal elegance, a shade of “royal blue” was deemed the fitting choice.

Thus, the Saab 99 Turbo owned by Prince Bertil was resplendently adorned in this dignified hue. Remarkably, this particular Saab had been in a state of hibernation for a staggering 29 years before its renaissance began two years ago.

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Restoration in the Hands of a True Saab Enthusiast

The guardian of this restoration mission is none other than Saab enthusiast Magnus Andersson, who operates under the aegis of Nostalgia Magazine (current owner of the car), a revered publication dedicated to vintage automobiles. The chronicle of this undertaking reads like a saga, with Magnus embarking on this journey as a devotee of both Saab automobiles and the rich history of the Swedish royalty.

Saab enthusiast Magnus Andersson next to the Saab 99 at the beginning of resaturation some two years ago
Saab enthusiast Magnus Andersson next to the Saab 99 at the beginning of resaturation some two years ago

Prince Bertil, an ardent Saab aficionado and a member of the Swedish royal family, was renowned for his affinity for the Saab 99 EMS. Born Bertil Gustaf Oskar Carl Eugén on February 28, 1912, he was the third son of King Gustaf VI Adolf and Princess Margaret of Connaught. As the uncle of Sweden’s current monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, as well as the uncle to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Prince Bertil held a significant place within European royalty. From 1973 to 1979, he stood as the heir presumptive to the Swedish throne.

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Saab 99 EMS

The Saab 99 EMS ( (Electronic fuel injection Manual transmission Special)) emerged as the ultimate embodiment of Saab’s rally prowess during its era. Rooted in the very DNA of the factory’s rally department, this model bore the genetic legacy of its rally ancestors. The engine that powered the rally cars first found its purpose in the EMS, transitioning from its high-performance rally origins to a more refined and approachable incarnation.

With a robust 118 horsepower under its hood, the Saab 99 EMS was the epitome of sportiness in its time. It boasted an array of athletic attributes that set it apart from its contemporaries. The integration of disc brakes on all four wheels ensured exceptional deceleration capabilities, instilling a heightened sense of control and safety. The EMS further distinguished itself with stiffer springs and dampers, a combination that translated into impeccable road-holding capabilities.

Notably, the EMS addressed a trait that plagued the less potent iterations of the Saab 99 – its sluggish handling. The EMS shattered this stereotype with its agile demeanor, a result of meticulous engineering. The steering system, finely tuned for more direct responsiveness, reduced the turns required from lock to lock to a mere 3.4, a departure from the 4.1 turns of the non-EMS models. This transformation, coupled with the inclusion of a sports steering wheel, rendered the EMS a delight to maneuver, further solidifying its position as a trailblazer in dynamic handling.

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The restoration journey

The restoration journey, orchestrated by Saab enthusiast Magnus Andersson from Nättraby, encountered both anticipated and unforeseen challenges. In an interview conducted at the inception of the project, Magnus acknowledged the substantial task ahead and optimistically predicted completion by the autumn of that year. However, as the intricate nature of the restoration unfolded, the timeline expanded, stretching the journey into a two-year odyssey.

A testament to the restoration’s complexity, the princely Saab had traversed various ownerships over the years, leading to its dilapidated state when it entered Magnus’s capable hands. The rejuvenation process was no mere task but a labor of love, a meticulous dance with time and history. Hours upon hours were invested in refining each detail, each component, transforming rust into brilliance.

Magnus’s dedication to the restoration extended beyond daylight hours. It became an integral part of his existence, intertwined with his daily thoughts and actions. “Every bolt and connection was nothing but rust, rust, and rust!” Magnus exclaims, encapsulating the journey’s challenges and rewards. “Breathing, eating, and sleeping with the car” became more than a metaphorical description; it embodied the symbiotic relationship between the restorer and the vehicle, a bond that transcended the mechanical.

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The first public display of the restored Saab 99 EMS was at the beginning of this month

The culmination of this magnum opus is as spectacular as the journey itself. In early August, the newly restored Saab 99 EMS graced the presence of royalty, presented to the king Carl Gustaf at Solliden Castle. And soon, a more democratic audience, including those not belonging to the Swedish royal family, will have the privilege to witness this automotive marvel. The current custodian of this regal automobile, the publishing house “Albinsson & Sjöberg,” who entrusted Magnus with its restoration, will unveil it during their 50th-anniversary celebration, a grand occasion punctuated by various commemorative events, including an exhibition of vintage automobiles.

As the Saab 99 EMS basks in its restored glory, it stands as a testament to the power of dedication, passion, and the intertwining threads of history. This journey, spanning generations and continents, encapsulates the essence of a prince’s admiration for fine engineering and the allure of the open road. In every meticulously polished surface, every carefully tuned engine note, the Saab 99 Turbo becomes more than just a car; it becomes a living relic, a bridge between eras, and a testament to the enduring spirit of craftsmanship.

Rare Opportunity to Witness Prince Bertil’s Restored Saab 99 Turbo -78 at Albinsson & Sjöberg’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Karlskrona!

On September 1st and 2nd 2023, a unique chance awaits to admire the newly restored Saab 99 Turbo -78 that once belonged to Prince Bertil, now proudly owned by “Albinsson & Sjöberg”. The ‘Motor Prince’s’ Saab has undergone meticulous restoration, with its aquamarine-blue paint, reportedly custom-ordered by Prince Bertil, gleaming in harmony with the car’s exquisite details. The renovation, largely carried out here in Karlskrona by Saab enthusiast Magnus Andersson, in collaboration with several esteemed partners.

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Recently showcased to King Carl XVI Gustav at Solliden Palace, the spotlight now shines on Karlskrona. Don’t miss this and much more at Albinsson & Sjöberg’s anniversary festivities!

All activities and admissions are complimentary throughout the jubilee weekend. No advance ticket purchase required.

Konstantin Jokić
an automotive journalist and dedicated Saab enthusiast hailing from Novi Sad, Serbia, is a valuable contributor to With a wealth of experience in the automotive industry and a strong affinity for Saab cars, Konstantin brings a unique perspective to the blog's content. His in-depth knowledge, engaging writing style, and passion for Saab automobiles enrich the platform, catering to both local and global Saab enthusiasts. Through his articles and insights, Konstantin strengthens the sense of community among Saab lovers and helps elevate as a trusted source for Saab-related information.

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