Life Style

Look!Saab’s Holy Grail

Marc Vernon, 57, Naperville, Illinois, author and host of the CarGuys Report podcast in 1980.

Saab

96 Jubileum, as told by AJ Bame.

I took a serve when I was in high school. I loved the shape of Saab 96. Some say the 96 is a car that maps Saab internationally. It made its debut in the 1960s and was the first serve to be imported into the United States in numerous numbers. Saab also built a reputation for winning rally races. Manufactured in Sweden, the 96 was the first to become popular in the United States because it was great in the snow. Front-wheel drive, excellent heater. The serve was small and didn’t have a huge budget, so the company kept making 96 for 20 years.

I bought the first 96 after my freshman year in college and by around 2014 I owned 10 serves. Still, I haven’t owned 96 since the 1980s. I was creating my own car collection, so I decided to look for 96. It’s not just 96. At the end of the 20-year production period, Saab created the last 300 96s, all in the same color scheme. Light blue interior, and these 10-spoke wheels. The company named these 96 “Jubileum”. This means Jubilee in Swedish.


Photo: Serve worth celebrating

Mark Vernon will showcase the 1980 Saab 96 Jubileeum.

Mark Vernon searched the world for the 1980 Saab 96 Jubileeum. He found it in northern Sweden and bought it for $ 14,000.

The Wall Street Journal Taylor Glasscock

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There weren’t many 96s yet in 2014. It was by no means an expensive car or collector’s car. Those who owned them expelled one from them and removed them. Therefore, it will be difficult to find 96. Trying to find one of the last 300 built will be more difficult. Are you trying to find one of the last 300 builds in good condition and for sale? It was like finding a needle in a pile of hay.

In the summer of 2014, I came across a car job ad on a Swedish website. It’s all in Swedish, and when I looked it up, 96 jubiles were for sale. I thought like this. I can’t believe it. “I sent an email to the owner, and about two weeks later he came back to me. He said he sold the car. But he had another — he told me it was probably the best 96 jubileum in Sweden. He sent me some pictures. This was the Holy Grail for me.

It took about 10 months from finding a car to shipping it from northern Sweden to southern Sweden or across the sea. I paid $ 14,000. I thought this was a reasonable price. When I put it on the road, it all came back to me. I haven’t been driving Saab 96 since the late 1980s. This was basically a car designed in the 1960s. It’s narrow. There is not much sound insulation. But driving is hard. My 96 is Euro spec, so there is a Swedish sticker on the speedometer and dashboard at kilometers per hour.

Sadly, Saab no longer builds a car.. At some point General Motors purchased and the last Saab manufactured was the 2014 model. So my 96 is an orphan car, which makes it even more special to me. You cannot buy a new serve. And the 96, in my opinion, is the car that made the brand in the first place.

Write to AJ Bame myride@wsj.com

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Look!Saab’s Holy Grail

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