Image credits: © Saab. © Saab Automobile AB

1978 Saab 99

The Saab 99 was produced from 1969 through 1984 and served as a replacement for Saab 96 model. The design for the 99 was courtesy of Sixten Sason, a designer who began working with Saab in 1939. The result of the work was unveiled to the public in Stockholm on November 22nd of 1967.

Under the hood was a 1.5-liter engine. A larger 1.75-liter followed later, and was eventually replaced with an even larger, 1.85-liter unit. The 1.5-liter unit was a Triumph motor fitted with a Zenith-Stromberg CD carburetor designed specifically for the Saab 99. It was installed at a 45-degree angle, similar to a V8 engine, but with half of the cylinders. Horsepower was adequate, producing nearly 90 from the watercooled unit. The engine was unique, in that it was one of the few engines to be equipped with an electric cooling fan. Mounted to the engine was a freewheel transmission, carried over from the Saab 96. When the 1.85-liter engine was introduced, the freewheel was removed, partly due to the additional power produced by the engine.

There were 48 examples of the Saab 99 equipped with a Stag V8. The V8 engine was dropped in favor of force-induction.

The car was wide, sat low, and had a wrap-around windshield. The hood was forward-hinged, opening in the opposite direction of the traditional hoods. The US versions had sealed beam headlights to comply with regulations, which featured a special front facia with two round headlights. Other markets had a single rectangular unit.

As the years progressed, improvements were made to the car, both mechanically and visually. In 1974, a 3-door hatchback combi coupe, known as the wagonback in the US, was introduced. It was nearly four-inches longer than the sedan version. The following year, the brakes on all Saab 99's were improved. The engine was tuned, now producing 100 horsepower. A fuel-injected version using Bosch K-Jetronic injection system boosted power even further, to 118 horsepower.

In 1977, the lights, both front and rear, were enlarged. A turbocharger version of the car came available in 1978, giving the car a top speed of 200 km/h.

Production of the Saab 99 continued until 1984, with production reaching 588,643 worldwide.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2007

Concepts by Saab

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Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1978 99
1978 Saab 99 Price Range: $5,995 - $9,999

Model Year Production

1983Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,175,200)Toyota (1,068,321)26,323
1982Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,297,357)Toyota (1,068,321)83,556
1981Chevrolet (1,673,093)Renault (1,295,713)Toyota (1,068,321)66,392
1980Chevrolet (2,288,745)Renault (1,492,339)Ford (1,162,275)65,754
1979Chevrolet (2,284,749)Ford (1,835,937)Renault (1,405,330)83,758
1978Chevrolet (2,375,436)Ford (1,923,655)Renault (1,240,941)72,516
1977Chevrolet (2,543,153)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,840,427)76,498
1976Chevrolet (2,103,862)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,861,537)95,927
1975Chevrolet (1,755,773)Toyota (1,714,836)Ford (1,569,608)90,962
1974Chevrolet (2,333,839)Ford (2,179,791)Renault (1,355,799)92,554
1973Chevrolet (2,579,509)Ford (2,349,815)Fiat (1,390,251)89,467

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