Out front of the Saab museum – part II

In part 1 of this three-part series, I took you for a brief ride in an original Saab 92 from the Saab Museum.

Today’s part 2 takes a look at another Saab classic that we were fortunate enough to drive on the day. It was pretty special for me, too, as it’s my favourite Saab of all time – the Saab 99 Turbo.

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I hadn’t driven one of these for a while but it was just as I remembered it. Supremely comfortable, great driving position, visibility and of course – the turbo rush. The steering was h-e-a-v-y as usual. The other cars that I was fortunate enough to drive that day were both two-strokers so they had a light engine up front and could steer pretty easily. The 99T, of course, has the big two-litre turbo and it really is quite a heavy car.

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Reasons I love the Saab 99 Turbo:

First of all, it’s an absolute blast to drive. Like the 900 Turbo that followed it, the car just seems to go right where you point it. It’s not super sporty but there’s a great raw feeling to this car, which brings me to my second reason…..

The 99T holds a special place in Saab’s history (and automotive history, really). It was their first foray into turbocharging, a form of power delivery that would go on to define a large part of Saab’s existence. It was also the first successful mass production turbocharged car that a regular worker could aspire to. BMW had their 2002 Turbo, which wasn’t reliable enough to keep going and the Porsche 930 was really quite an elite vehicle. Saab brought turbo to the masses.

It also has the coolest badge ever…..

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The 99 interiors were pretty funky and the turbo version was about as funky as it could get. This pretty much sums up 1970s Saabs for me. Who else could get away with an interior that looks like it was crafted after a wild weekend in the seedier areas of Amsterdam?

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And finally, the shape.

900 owners will probably disagree, but there’s something that’s just right about that slightly shorter nose. It’s a little more aggressive. To me, at least.

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It really was an incredible privilege to drive this pristine 99T and once again, I have to thank Peter Bäckström at the Saab Museum for the opportunity.

As brilliant as this drive was, it wasn’t my favourite drive of the day. That one’s coming up next in this series.

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