99 Turbo Test cars the first 100 – help to find them all

 

In 1977 the greatest leap into the future for Saab was taken with the launch of the 99 Turbo. The first car shown to public was a pearlwhite at the Frankfurt autoshow that year. That color never made it on the production cars by the way. Saab needed to get experience of the turbo boosted engine and therefore built about 100 test cars. The cars where dived in three groups SW (Sweden) UC (USA/California) and EU (Europe). I have through some research work managed to track down 100% of the SW cars the ones scrapped and the ones alive or near dead. Unfortunately there is only one SW car alive on the roads but that one is 100% rebuilt wrong engine etc. The models made where 2 door sedans based on the regular EMS model, 3 door CombiCoupe (WagonBack) based on the 3 door EMS, 4 door sedans based on the GLE model and 5 door models exclusively for the Swedish police. None of the 100 test cars had sunroof.

So how do You know if there is a test car sitting in the cornfield or in Your best buddys barn. The are all painted in cardinal red metallic and they all have the EMS “Soccerball” wheels. The also do not have the TURBO logotype in metal emblems they where white or in some cases cold stickers. On the fake wood tape under the glovebox there is a small sticker saying TEST CAR No. XXX”. The electric fan is positioned in front of the radiator and is housed in a metal frame, the battery “shelf” is also different from production cars.

Today I know of 3 cars beside my own that is under renovation, will post information on the project(s) as they evolve

Of the UC cars I know the history of 6 of them. 33 of which I have the VIN no. and state it was delivered to and in some cases the first owner. Some of the owners was Jacob Wallenberg while he was a student in New York, 2 US Army officers at YPG (Yuma Proving Grounds) guess they knew how to destruct a vehicle.

My questions to the international Saab community for this research job are:
– Where are the approximate 20 EU cars?
– Where are the US test cars? I have the VIN´s is it any way to trace them by DOT or DMV? If You believe You have a test car send me the VIN no. and I can verify it.
and
– Any stories about the cars would be appreciated.

Good luck tracking down the early Saab Turbo history.

Email to jtrued[at]gmail.com

spacy
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Trued,

This is a good site, but only covers the UK, but it might help a bit.

http://howmanyleft.co.uk/

paddan
Member
4 years 1 month ago

Swedish Motors in Marietta, Pennsylvania has a restored 2 door. Color is slightly off, otherwise very nice.

Linnea Krajewski
Member
4 years 1 month ago
I have the last Test Car out of Trollhattan…I believe that she’s number 197. She is a CombiCoupe….no sunroof. She was driven by the head of the Test Car Programme in Orange…the man’s name escapes me now. John Moss does remember tinkering on her……the engineers in Orange added water injection, Euro headlamps and a few other oddities. At one point, she had AC…the bracket is there for the compressor, which was not on her when she came to live with me. Presently, she is not running…awaiting a full restoration. Besides Rich Kushner’s notchback and my own EMS Turbo, the only… Read more »
duckhead99
Member
4 years 1 month ago
Back in the early ’90s, when I worked for Saab Cars North America, I had either # 934 or 937 (memory is fuzzy) a 2dr sedan. It was in rough, but complete, shape. I sold it in ’92, after the GM buy-in and subsequent SCNA layoffs, to a fellow near Hartford Connecticut to raise money to restart my old Saab repair business. I haven’t heard of it since. I DO, however, still have (somewhere) a file that my boss @ SCNA gave me that has notes and assignment info on the N.A. test car program along with some prototype service… Read more »
Peter Gilbert
Member
4 years 1 month ago

Wow! My Mechanic Larry Gesch, at Country Imports, Neosho, Wisconsin has a burgundy one. It has an original shell in great condition but has a lot of the parts removed ready for re-assembly. It even has the original Pirelli CN36s on the rims

Larry Gesch
Member
4 years 1 month ago

Yes we do have test car #992 and it is one of the rare 2 door sedans. In process of restoration and has not been touched for 10 years. About 52K miles on it. Rebuilt trans and engine with MSS pistons and cam. Suspension pieces powder coated. Might sell for right price.

FRANCIS GREENSIDES
Member
4 years 1 month ago

I am trying to track down my dads original SAAB 99L 1974 in indian yellow UK reg GRA159N.
I look at how many left, I believe there are 3 of this year 1 licenced, other 2 sorn.

spacy
Guest
4 years 1 month ago
FRANCIS GREENSIDES
Member
4 years 1 month ago

Usually the records are struck off if the car has been scrapped, still listed, might still be somewhere.

Doug Majka
Member
4 years 1 month ago

Rich Kushner has #934, Larry Gesch has #992, and the one Marty Adams has is #993. Here’s a page Tim WInker wrote up about #993

http://vintagerally.net/cars/saab/77turbo/

Doug Majka
Member
4 years 1 month ago

You can buy #934 for $28,000, and he erroneously wrote in the comments that it was 1 of 4 notchbacks – the list shows 14 notchbacks to enter the US.

http://www.loosenutbehindthewheel.com/1977_Saab_99_137132408.veh

liftarn
Member
4 years 1 month ago

I have heard that before the turbo there was some 50 test cars equipped with the Triumph Stag V8. That would be interesting to see.

spacy
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Knowing the reliability problems with that engine, they probably don’t exist anymore..

paddan
Member
4 years 1 month ago

From an early 900T owner’s perspectvie, this is one of the most fascinating posts in a long time!

Aero1
Member
4 years 1 month ago

Nice post, nice to read something other than NEVS, GM etc..
I could see many more interesting stories about notable SAAB’s. I would love a story on the 9000 Aero and how many were made and how many are left, maybe a registry on various models could be achieved.

I just purchased a 1994 9000 Aero on Cirrus White, was told only 65 were made for the US. She has just 1 owner and 76,000 miles.

James Laman
Member
4 years 1 month ago

I have a Finnish friend with what I thought was one of these, a notchback 99T. I’ll contact him and see if I was correct.

Liam Kenney
Member
4 years 1 month ago

my dad runs a company that operates at yuma proving grounds, I’ll have him do some digging.

Saablime
Member
4 years 1 month ago

As any of you come across any 1977 Saab 99 Turbo test cars, please suggest they add them to my Saab 99 Turbo Registry – and that includes any Saab 99 Turbos for that matter.

We currently have nine 1977 99 Turbo’s on the Registry (remove the 1977 year filter if you want to see all):
View Saab 99 Turbo Registry 1977 Test Cars

Also, we’re looking for writers so anyone interested in talking about 99 Turbos, contact us.

caspar
Member
4 years 1 month ago
caspar
Member
3 years 6 months ago

http://www.saablink.net/forum/general-99-90-posts-information/24623.htm

how is the tracking of these great models proceeding?

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