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Motorsport Monday: 1970 Saab 96 Rally Car

This post is in our archives. Links in this post may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.

Wondering what a SAAB 96 is doing here? Well, here’s a little known fact: the vaunted Audi Quattro won Rally Monte Carlo once; the SAAB 96 won it twice. But there was not much snow there, you say? Okay, how about Rally Sweden, where the 96 equaled the Quattro’s 4 victories? Still not convinced? How about the RAC Rally in Great Britain? Sure, the Audi won it three years on the trot – 1981, 1982 and 1983 – but then, so did the SAAB, in 1960, 1961 and 1962, with two more victories that followed. But great names drove the Audi, you say. Names like Stig Blomqvist Per Ekland, perhaps? Yup, they drove for the Swedes, too. But beyond the wins, there was something that was just neat and quirky about the 96; an idea that would see evolution right through the takeover of SAAB by General Motors. They always did things differently, and you know what? It worked, and we liked it, so today let’s look at a Swedish neighbor:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Saab 96 Rally on eBay

Year: 1970
Model: 96
Engine: 1.85 liter V4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 20,238 mi
Price: $24,900 Buy It Now



3266 POST RD


203 256 9800



VIN 96563 275

The Classic Car Gallery is proud to offer this very rare 1970 SAAB 96 V4 RALLY CAR. This particular car has been written about extensively in SAAB circles, is well known, and one of a very few SAAB rally cars produced. With full FIA papers, and known history from new, this car is the most collectable of all SAABS, and would be a great addition to any collection. This in no garden variety SAAB 96. With a bare metal race car interior, full roll cage, racing seats with 5 point harnesses, HALDA TRIPMASTER, gauges, dead pedal for the navigator, dual fire extinguishers, battery cutoff switch and many extra toggles on the dash, this car screams RACE CAR!!! Opening the hood reveals many unobtainium SAAB race bits both seen and unseen. The 1850 cc motor was built by SAAB engine guru Bengt-Erik Strom, (Strom built virtually all of the factory rally engines, including those of Per Eklund and Stig Bloomqvist), and features dual cross flow manifolds, feeding the dual Weber Carbs. The valve train, for instance, include many one off Machined pieces, and the engine is good for 145-150 horsepower. The front wheel drive car features a close ratio gearbox, and Limited slip differential. The interior is pure race car, with racing buckets, harnesses and race gauges. The car runs and drives well. Her steering is heavy due to the limited slip differential, she must be great fun on the dirt and snow!!! This may be the best value on the collector car market today. If this were a Porsche or BMW race car, you would have to add at least one zero to the price of the car, and in some cases two!!!! Bid with confidence, as this car has been well maintained, and extensively documented. Feel free to call 203 256 9800 or email if we can answer any questions

Life certainly is too short to drive boring cars, and this is anything but boring. From the bespoke engine to the very pretty blue exterior with matching interior, this is a neat car. It’s got a limited slip differential to help transfer power to the ground, and with around 150 horsepower on tap in a very light car, it won’t be slow. The seller is correct; were this a well built Porsche race car that was period correct, the price would be triple the asking price. Of course, it’s not a Porsche, and no one will confuse it as such; but it’s ultra cool, well setup and you’re not likely to find another anywhere you go. That’s a lot of win – almost as much as these 96s did back in the day!

This car has been on Hemmings about 2 years ago and much more recently on Jalopnik and Sports Car Digest, which did a very thorough writeup worth reading.



  1. sofaman
    sofaman March 3, 2014

    Another connection worth mentioning to rationalize the GCFSB entry is the Ford of Germany developed V4. These cars are hugely fun to sprint around in and I suspect it was only their quirky styling that prevents them from being considered a predecessor to the 2002 as the first mass produced sporting sedan. They were very popular in SCCA racing in their day. No connection, but the Classic Car Gallery is a great little gem of a car gallery.

  2. Carter
    Carter March 3, 2014

    Great point, sofaman! Thanks for the input. We’ve shown a few of the CCG cars before including a gorgeous 3.0CS in Tiaga Green; you’re right, they have nice cars!

  3. markiteight
    markiteight March 3, 2014

    To further the SAAB vs. Audi comparison, Audi really should have taken a page from SAAB’s engineering book when developing the quattro system. On the 99 and later cars SAAB came up with the novel concept of turning the engine around, laying it almost on it’s side, and placing it on top of the transmission. Voila: longitudinal, front wheel drive, with the engine located BETWEEN the wheels, not ahead of them. Just imagine it…an Audi quattro that isn’t an understeering pig!

    Due to packaging constraints this configuration could really only work with inline engines, so it’s possible that had Audi gone down that route they never would have given up on the iconic 5 cylinder. One can only dream…

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