1994 Saab 900 S : To buy or not to buy

Hi there. I’ve been looking for a fun daily driver for a while now. I had been interested in some other early 90’s European convertibles, but was unsure of their prior maintenance records. I think I may have found the car I want. It’s a 1994 Saab 900S convertible, 5-speed, 4cyl with approx. 160,000. Car has been well maintained and the owner has receipts. It has a new exhaust, new clutch, new front rotors and pads. Top is pretty worn and would probably need to be replaced.

So two questions:

1. On average, how much per year do you think I would need to put into this car to maintain it?

2. I will bring it to a mechanic of course, but what parts would potentially need to be replaced in the near future and how much would that cost?

3. Should I buy it!

Thanks in advance!

Oops, sorry. I guess that was three questions :wink:

How long has the current owner had it? What’s the price? Finally, how bad is the top? Long-term water leaks can cause problems. If it passes your mechanic’s inspection (does he know Saabs?), and you really like how it drives (it’s not a sports car, but can be fun), then go ahead. If you could deal with something smaller, a used Miata would likely be more fun.

It depends on financial considerations but you seem to have considered that already. Buy it and you can drive it in parades because convertables are always needed for that. It isn’t going to cost enough to really upset your plans for fun driving.

Current owner has had it for 8 years. Bought it at 80,000 mi. The previous owner bought it at 20,000 mi. The price is $2400. Top doesn’t leak. Window in the back is in good condition. There are some small rips but doesn’t cause a lot of noise (has 3 layer roof). There’s a guy who specializes in Saabs near where I live, but the actual saab itself is about an hour away from here. I will look for a mechanic in that area on saabnet.com or one of the other Saab sites. Considered a miata, but would like a car that was front wheel so I could drive it a little easier in the snow.

European cars cost more to maintain and repair than popular US and Japanese cars. The average US driver spens about $1200 per year on maintenance, repairs and tires, while driving 15,000 miles or so.

I would budget about 80% more than that, or about $2200 per year, for a Saab of that age, if you drivbe asimilar amount. Prorate this if you drive more or less. If you do not do that, there will be some nasty surprsies, and your other half will likely say “I told you so”

$2400 sounds fine, assuming it passes inspection, and yes, better in the snow, for sure!

Actually passed state inspection and emissions this past June.

The car is 14 years old. The most important thing is that it was well maintained. If you and your mechanic think so, then you might have yourself a deal. If you trust the Saab mechanic near you, then bring the car to him. You get an hour’s test ride each way and the inspection you need.

Any aged car with well into the 6-digit mileage can be a crap shoot no matter who manufactured the car.

About all you can do is improve your odds by checking it out as thoroughly as possible and even that is no etched in stone guarantee against future problems.

SAAB engines and transmissions are about as bullet-proof as you can get. Any problems that occur will likely be with the peripherals and that can be true of any car.
There is really not a set answer to your questions.

For your criteria - a fun daily driver - it sounds perfect, assuming that you have a plan B if it does ever need expensive repairs. That top affects the economics of buying the car, but it still sounds like a reasonable price from what you describe.

Somebody beat me to it! Maybe next time :frowning:

Hi there. I’m back again.

The car that was described in the intial post was actually sold already.

I found another which I think is even better. Saab 900T Commemorative Edition Convertible. 150,000 with maintenance records. Seller is the second owner.

It’s been looked over by a Saab mechanic already. It has a small steering rack leak, but otherwise in good condition. Recently replaced exhaust, clutch, ignition, roof. There’s a small amount of rust on the body and on the panel between the driver and passenger windows.

What is a fair price for a vehicle like this? KBB says around $3,500 but Edmunds is much lower at $2600. Asking is closer to KBB value.