I stumbled across this car on Flickr today, a Saab 99 model variant that I’d never heard of: the Saab 99 SSE.
There’s not much written about it anywhere. Do a Google search and all you get is a Wikipedia entry and a bunch of scraper sites that contain the same info:
SSE – Sold in the US to satisfy demand while the EMS was not yet available there. The SSE had a black vinyl roof cover and a BorgWarner automatic transmission.
Here the shot I saw this morning:
And another from the same account, though taken by someone else. It gives a much better view of the roof, which is something I hadn’t seen on a Saab before.
It seems the black vinyl might have been replaced by owners over the years.
Interestingly, this car spawned at least one Saab dealership in the US:
One winter in the early 1970’s, a district representative of Saab-Scania of America was looking for a new distributor. He came upon a small garage on Portsmouth Avenue in Exeter, New Hampshire where a young man was just closing up shop for the evening.
He asked the young mechanic if he was interested in buying a Saab franchise. Full of skepticism, the young man graciously declined the offer and went home for the evening. The next night, the representative showed up again and tossed the keys to a 1972 Saab 99 SSE to the young mechanic… “Take this to the mountains for the weekend, Gary… you’ll love it!” The young mechanic was used to the cumbersome rear-wheel drive configuration of Volkswagen Beetles, so the front-wheel drive Saab was simply amazing in comparison. It wasn’t long until a young Gary Blake opened what we know today as Gary Blake Saab.
Another Saab story. It’s amazing what one car can do, eh?
And by the way, check that Flickr link to see some Saab 9000 Aero seats crammed into a Saab Sonett II. Squeezy.