1991 Saab 900 Turbo Carlsson


  • Owned by a Saab Owners Club member for 25 years
  • One of only 600 Carlssons made in this spec
  • One of 200 in red

The Background 

Saab’s contribution to the motoring world is insurmountable.

They have repeatedly been uncompromising in design and were famously the first to adopt the use of turbochargers in a mainstream car. The 900 was designed to replace the famous 99 model and in the usual tradition for Saab had many design innovations.

The engine was an extensively reworked slant four derived from Triumph and in various guises came fitted with either a low-pressure turbo or in the more fiery versions, a larger high-pressure one.

Handling was always considered a great trait of the 900 as it had a double-wishbone front suspension that had been refined over several years and the rear beam axle had a Panhard rod attached in a way that resembled a ‘Watts Linkage’.

The 900 also continued with the aircraft-inspired windscreen which was deeply curved and gave excellent front vision. The dashboard too curves around for better visibility and the instruments and controls are laid out in order of frequency of use, quite astonishing attention to detail.

The 900 Carlsson was produced in recognition of Swedish Rally Driver Erik Carlsson and were produced between 1990 and 1992. Only 200 were made each year and all were only available in the UK in white black or red.

Each was fitted with the ‘Air-Flow’ body kit, a ‘Whale-Tail’ spoiler and an uprated turbocharger which would provide 185bhp from the 1985cc engine.

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The History 

This particular car has an envious history. It was initially owned by a member of the Saab Owners Club UK who had it in his care for 25 years. After passing through the hands of another owner it underwent something of an overhaul.

This owner maintained the car meticulously and treated it to a gearbox rebuild, a minor bit of welding in the transmission tunnel and a full professional respray. The car then came up for sale in 2019 and our present owner bought it to add to his 9000 Carlsson he already owned.

The previous owner passed on the details of the people that had done the work over recent years to allow things to be discussed. The car was sent directly to Tettenhall Saab after purchase to be checked over and serviced.

The Pandemic was to put pay to any other involvement with the car so it was put into hibernation until recently where it was returned to Tettenhall to have a few jobs tackled such as replacing the aerial, re-aligning the sunroof and giving it a good clean and polish.

Only a few hundred miles have been put on the car since 2019 and now due to a change in home life, our owner wishes to offer it to a good home.

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The Paperwork 

There is a large folio of receipts, invoices and service records to accompany this car.

All of which provides ample evidence of a car well cared for.

There is a valid V5 with the car.

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The Exterior 

The bodywork is finished in a bright and shiny red which shows little in the way of damage or fading.

All four wheels have been expertly refurbished in a slightly different colour than standard but do look the part.

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The Interior 

The black interior has a truly retro feel and all the upholstery is in great condition. The front seats are not standard as they are from a 9000 Aero which means they are electrically adjusted and they too look fabulous and are comfortable and supportive.

The lacquered dash has a couple of minor chips but I have been reliably informed by the owner that all the instrumentation work as it should. The only thing that appears not to work at the moment is the rear wiper and washer.

There are two chips in the windscreen on the driver’s side but again the owner is sure they are outside the area to be an MOT issue.

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The Mechanics 

The efforts taken to maintain this car have reaped dividends because the engine is smooth and quiet without any signs of smoke. It starts instantly from the key and has a smooth idle.

Gear-change is quite positive considering the mechanism and the long throw which is standard for the 900. An aftermarket cam cover is fitted to the engine although the engine remains in standard tune.

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The Appeal 

Saab has always set itself apart from other manufacturers with a particular way of doing things. Their cars have always stood out from the crowd and the 900 Carlsson is no exception. 

There is a low slung feel to the car with a very purposeful stance which is enhanced with the big boot spoiler and those distinctive 3 spoke alloys. With an unprecedented history in Motosport, you can always rely on Saab to give you something more than the average car. 

It is still a car that will stop most car fanatics in their tracks. And reliable? Most certainly, a 1989 900 owned by Peter Gilbert of Wisconsin racked up a million miles on the original turbo and engine before being donated to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum. 

Saab gave Mr Gilbert a shiny new 9-5 Aero in recognition. 

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1991
  • Make Saab
  • Model 9000 Carlsson
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 148,731 Miles
  • Engine size 1985
  • Town Bridgnorth
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location West Midlands
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
16 bids
  • DC•••• £17,000 14/04/22
  • DC•••• £16,750 14/04/22
  • De•••• £16,500 14/04/22
  • DC•••• £16,250 14/04/22
  • De•••• £16,000 14/04/22
  • De•••• £15,750 14/04/22
  • DC•••• £15,500 14/04/22
  • DC•••• £15,250 14/04/22
  • De•••• £15,000 14/04/22
  • Ne•••• £10,200 13/04/22

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