Digestible Collectible: 1988 Saab 900 SPG

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1988 saab 900 spg

The contrast was so stark, it was breathtaking.

Dad was driving his company car, some sort of GM A-Body, as we pulled into the parking lot of a golf course north of Columbus. Golf, of course, is another hobby my dad introduced me to that is as sure as car collecting to drive me into debilitating debt. Anyhow, we were meeting a friend of his for a weekend round, and we parked next to his new Saab.

I was blown away. Of course, I read all of the car magazines, so I knew what a Saab was, but dad’s buddy had a 900 SPG — the high-performance, limited edition hot Swede. Black, with grey three-spoke wheels just like the car shown above. The buff book photos did not do the car justice. It’s such a vivid memory of a not-that-exotic car that is so overwhelming.

This 1988 Saab 900 SPG is being sold by the original owner, and it looks to be nearly perfect. There are a few bubbles on the glovebox door, and the cloth covering the moonroof is sagging a bit, but considering how clean the rest of the car is, these are minor complaints.

The black paint gleams like the new car I recall. The lower-body cladding doesn’t appear to have faded or cracked, like so many Pontiacs. The grey leather interior looks sumptuous, and barely creased, considering 143,000 miles on the odometer. It’s $7,000 asking price seems like a bargain.

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of driving an SPG. It’s probably another situation where one should never meet their heroes, as 175 horsepower in a nose-heavy, torque-steering beast is likely not as entertaining as it sounds. But I can’t help but dream of flying into Seattle and driving this pristine car home cross-country. And it looks like there’s even plenty of room in the hatch for a few sets of clubs.

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  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Nov 10, 2015

    Nice shape, but for $7K I'd rather buy an old Volvo 120-series, and use the rest on some basic upgrades.

  • Autoboy Autoboy on Nov 15, 2017

    I currently own a 2008 SAAB 9-5. Except for my 1991 Toyota Cressida, this is the most reliable car I've ever owned. Also had a 1985 900 Turbo, black over tan leather. Never gave me a bit of trouble. That replaced a 1982 Volvo GLT Turbowagen, silver over blue velour. Still on the road today as a chicken delivery vehicle in Manhattan. I agree about newer Volvo's electrical issues. That's why I bought my 9-5 over a Volvo S80 or V Wagon.

  • Tassos Government cheese for millionaires, while idiot Joe biden adds trillions to the debt.What a country (IT ONCE WAS!)
  • Tassos screw the fat cat incompetents. Let them rot. No deal.
  • MaintenanceCosts I think if there's one thing we can be sure of given Toyota's recent decisions it's that the strongest version of the next Camry will be a hybrid. Sadly, the buttery V6 is toast.A Camry with the Highlander/Sienna PSD powertrain would be basically competitive in the sedan market, with the slow death of V6 and big-turbo options. But for whatever reason it seems like that powertrain is capacity challenged. Not sure why, as there's nothing exotic in it.A Camry with the Hybrid Max powertrain would be bonkers, easily the fastest thing in segment. It would likewise be easy to build; again, there's nothing exotic in the Hybrid Max powertrain. (And Hybrid Max products don't seem to be all that constrained, so far.)
  • Analoggrotto The readers of TTAC deserve better than a bunch of Kia shills posing as journalists.
  • Lou_BC How do they work covered in snow, ice, mud, dust and water? Vibration?