Another SOC North America Story — the 16-valve Saab 99

UPDATED August 1 with information from the owner in comments.

I must say that I love stories like this one — a man with a plan. A plan that was complex enough to hold his attention and just absurd enough to make others scratch their heads about why he’d even attempt such a thing. On top of that, he actually had the patience to overcome some pretty difficult obstacles in the process.

So, here’s the premise: Starting with a relatively pedestrian 1973 Saab 99 four-door, upgrade it to a 16-valve power plant. Sounds reasonable, right? Just drop in a 16-valve B202 power plant (one of the “H” series engines) from a Saab 900 and you’re in business. Not so fast, my friend. Our friend Dave decided that he had to do it without cutting the firewall or any other structural piece of sheet metal; the notion that a minor repair such as a new belt would necessitate major disassembly simply left him cold.  His conclusion: the project had to use a “B” engine block and lower components and the head and upper components from the B202. He succeeded in doing just that — mating the “B” engine block and components with the 16-valve equipment from the newer engine.

By his own estimation, the project took about four years of fiddling and tweaking. The completed power plant uses the heads, ignition, controls from a 1984 Saab 900S and the wiring harness from a 1986 Saab 900 S. The alternator is a modified C900 component, but the water pump, oil pump and gear box are from the 99 (although the gear box was uprated to a 5-speed). Dave and a machinist friend created a completely new timing chain arrangement, and moved the belt-driven components to new positions as needed and created mounts as necessary. Finally, the timing chain cover was a true hybrid, combining the lower portion of the “B” engine cover and the top part of the “H” engine cover.

They say that variety is the spice of life. If so, this is pretty darned spicy.

More photos after the jump.

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