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.
– Any stories about the cars would be appreciated.
Good luck tracking down the early Saab Turbo history.
Email to jtrued[at]gmail.com