Junkyard Find: 1986 Saab 900 S Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 saab 900 s sedan

The original Saab 900 was a favorite of Colorado car shoppers during its 1979-1994 sales run, and I still see many of these cars during research expeditions to my local yards. So many, in fact, that I neglect to photograph most of them.

When I visited some of Phoenix’s excellent yards while on my way to work at the final 24 Hours of Lemons race before the Covid-19 menace shut down such gatherings, though, I spotted this ’86 900S and realized I need to document more of these interesting machines.

The 1986 900 S came standard with a naturally-aspirated, four-valves-per-cylinder engine displacing 2.0 liters and generating 125 horsepower. If you go back far enough in this engine’s ancestry, you’ll find the Triumph Slant-Four as its grandfather. That makes the Saab 900 first cousin to the Triumph TR7.

The 900 S came between the entry-level 900 and the factory-hot-rod 900 Turbo on the Saab Prestige-O-Meter, with the 900 S sedan starting at $16,295 that year (about $38,120 in 2020 dollars). The ordinary 900 sedan went for $12,685; you couldn’t get a 900 Turbo sedan, but the three-door hatchback started at $18,695.

Not many miles on the odometer for a 34-year-old car.

The 24 Hours of Lemons race that weekend had a Saab 900 Turbo team, which sent a representative to the junkyard (several hours away from Inde Motorsports Ranch, located near the New Mexico border) in order to harvest some much-needed parts of today’s Junkyard Find. That’s a numbers-matching Saab 35 Draken in the background, by the way (though the original “Born From Jets” Saab — regardless of whether you’re talking about the car or the airplane— wasn’t quite as slick-looking as the Draken).

I’ll need to follow this up with a Saab 9-3 in the near future, and perhaps a few more discarded 9000s.

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  • Flybrian Flybrian on May 26, 2020

    Buy - Maxima. Its tidy and handsome in ways the Maxima never was nor ever would be again, sadly. Drive - the 929. Because. Its there. Burn - the Taurus. Or really let itself burn.

  • Bobbysirhan Bobbysirhan on May 26, 2020

    I remember every horrible detail about these clunkers. The worst thing GM ever did was draw out Saab's collapse by a couple of decades.

  • FreedMike “…former president Dmitry Medvedev recently took a trip to China and praised the country’s cars as being on par with Mercedes-Benz.”is that before or after the Tik Tok integration?
  • Pig_Iron I'm willing to bet most of these were improperly torqued. 🔧
  • Pig_Iron You can buy a focus sedan right in the USA. It's called a maverick. 😒
  • Pig_Iron Brown bag a ploughman's lunch. 💼
  • Pig_Iron I thought IBOC was supposed to bring about a renaissance in terrestrial radio? Too bad the FCC went with a proprietary standard. I listen to AM every day because it offers superior geopolitical current affairs news and analysis, and because it offers non-English language programming also. EVs and less choice make driving drudgery. 😔