Home Car Reviews 1986 Saab 900 Turbo: A Timeless Classic

1986 Saab 900 Turbo: A Timeless Classic

by Frank
1986 saab 900 turbo

Unveiling the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo: A Timeless Swedish Marvel That Captured Hearts

Saab, the iconic Swedish car manufacturer, is known for its unique, innovative, and reliable vehicles. One model that stands out is the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo. This car holds a special place in my heart, as it was my first Saab and a true joy to drive. The Rose Quartz exterior and burgundy interior, along with its incredible performance, made it a car that I simply couldn’t forget. In this blog post, we will delve into the history, design, and legacy of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo, exploring what made this car so special.

Saab 9000: A Swedish Classic

The Origin and Development of the Saab 900 Series

Overview of the Saab 900 Series

  1. Years of production: The Saab 900 series was produced from 1978 to 1998, with the first generation running until 1993.
  2. Key design features: The Saab 900 was known for its distinctive hatchback body style, wraparound windshield, and driver-focused cockpit.

Evolution of the Saab 900 Turbo

  1. First generation (1978-1993): The first-generation Saab 900 included several models, such as the base, S, and Turbo versions.
  2. Introduction of the turbocharged engine: Saab introduced the turbocharged engine in the late 1970s, and the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo featured a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivered impressive power and performance.
  3. Technological advancements over the years: The Saab 900 series saw continuous improvements, including advancements in engine technology, safety features, and interior comforts.

The Saab 9000 Turbo: A Deep Dive

Design and Engineering of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

Exterior Design

  1. Unique hatchback body style: The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo had a distinctive and practical hatchback design, which provided ample cargo space and easy access.
  2. Iconic wraparound windshield: The Saab 900’s windshield extended seamlessly from one side of the car to the other, offering excellent visibility and a unique design element.
  3. Aerodynamic features: The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo’s body was designed for optimal aerodynamics, which improved fuel efficiency and performance.

Interior Design of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

  1. Comfortable and spacious cabin: The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo provided ample space for passengers, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.
  2. Driver-oriented cockpit: The dashboard and controls were designed with the driver in mind, making it easy to access and operate various functions.
  3. Innovative safety features: Saab was known for prioritizing safety, and the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo was no exception. It featured advanced safety features such as anti-lock brakes and reinforced door beams.

Engine and Performance

  1. Turbocharged 2.0-liter engine: The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo was powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which provided impressive power and acceleration.
  2. Horsepower and torque output: The engine delivered 160 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque, making the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo a spirited and responsive performer.
  3. Fuel efficiency and emissions: Despite its powerful engine, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo offered reasonable fuel efficiency and low emissions for its time.

Driving Experience and Handling of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

Overview of the Driving Experience

The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo offered a unique and exhilarating driving experience, combining power, agility, and comfort. My personal experience with this car was nothing short of amazing, as it handled beautifully and accelerated quickly. The car felt solid and well-balanced, making for a confident and enjoyable ride.

Suspension and Steering for the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo featured a well-tuned suspension system that provided excellent handling and ride comfort. The independent front and rear suspension, combined with a responsive steering system, allowed for precise control and maneuverability.

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Braking System of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

Equipped with powerful disc brakes on all four wheels and an advanced anti-lock braking system (ABS), the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo provided excellent stopping power and control. This was an important safety feature that helped drivers maintain control in various driving conditions.

Comparisons to Contemporaneous Competitors

Compared to its contemporaries, such as the BMW 3 Series and the Audi 80, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo offered a unique blend of performance, practicality, and design. Its turbocharged engine delivered comparable power, while its hatchback design and spacious interior set it apart from the competition.

Ownership and Maintenance of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

Reliability and Longevity

The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo was known for its durability and reliability, with many vehicles reaching well over 200,000 miles. My own 1986 Saab 900 Turbo had just under 200K miles when I purchased it, and it continued to perform well throughout my ownership.

Common Issues and Repairs

As with any older vehicle, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo was not without its issues. Some common problems included oil leaks, electrical issues, and worn suspension components. However, with regular maintenance and care, these issues could be addressed and mitigated.

Availability of Parts and Support from Saab Community

Despite the eventual discontinuation of Saab as a car manufacturer, there remains a strong and dedicated community of Saab enthusiasts. This community, along with specialty shops and online forums, can provide invaluable resources for parts, advice, and support when it comes to maintaining and repairing your 1986 Saab 900 Turbo.

Tips for Prospective Buyers

If you’re considering purchasing a 1986 Saab 900 Turbo, it’s essential to thoroughly inspect the vehicle, research common issues, and ensure that maintenance records are available. Purchasing from a knowledgeable Saab mechanic, as I did, can be advantageous in ensuring that the vehicle has been well-maintained and cared for.

The Saab 900 SPG: A Swedish Classic

The Legacy of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

Impact on the Automotive Industry

The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo left a lasting impression on the automotive industry, showcasing the potential of turbocharging technology and serving as an inspiration for future models, including the highly regarded Saab 900 SPG (which I also discuss in a separate blog post).

Influence on Later Saab Models

The success and popularity of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo influenced subsequent Saab models, including the Saab 9-3 and 9-5. These later models continued the tradition of innovative design, turbocharged performance, and advanced safety features.

Ongoing Popularity among Collectors and Enthusiasts

Today, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo remains popular among collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its unique design, performance, and history. The car has a dedicated following, with owners passionate about preserving and enjoying these iconic vehicles.


The 1986 Saab 900 Turbo was a remarkable vehicle that combined performance, style, and practicality in a truly unique package. My personal experience with this car was unforgettable, as it delivered an exhilarating driving experience and served as my introduction to the world of Saab. The legacy of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo continues to resonate with car enthusiasts and collectors who appreciate its innovative design, impressive performance, and enduring appeal. As we reflect on the history and impact of this iconic vehicle, it’s clear that the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who had the pleasure of owning and driving one.

Personal Anecdotes and Stories from Owners

Throughout the years, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo has inspired countless stories and memories from those who have owned and driven this exceptional vehicle. From memorable road trips and races to restoration projects and lifelong friendships, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo has brought joy and excitement to its owners.

The Saab Community and Events

The passion for the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo and other Saab models has fostered a strong and supportive community. Saab enthusiasts gather at events, car shows, and online forums like saabnet.com to share their experiences, knowledge, and love for these unique vehicles. This sense of camaraderie and shared passion helps keep the spirit of Saab alive and thriving.

Final Thoughts on the Significance and Appeal of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo

In conclusion, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo remains an iconic and unforgettable vehicle that captured the hearts of many, myself included. Its innovative design, powerful performance, and practicality set it apart from its contemporaries and continue to inspire admiration and appreciation today. As we celebrate the legacy of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo, we are reminded of the passion, creativity, and vision that defined this remarkable car and the lasting impact it has had on the automotive world.

Whether you’re a longtime Saab enthusiast or just discovering the unique charm of these Swedish vehicles, the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo serves as a testament to the ingenuity and spirit of Saab as a car manufacturer. I encourage you to explore the world of Saab, share your stories and experiences, and celebrate the enduring appeal of the 1986 Saab 900 Turbo.

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