Seeing classic cars emerge out of barns after decades of storage is as exciting as automotive things get, especially if the said vehicles are still in good shape. This 1979 Saab 96 is one of those cars, but it comes with an incredible story. Stored in a barn since delivered from the dealership, this Swedish compact has only four miles (seven km) on the odometer.
Yes, this Saab was never driven after it rolled off the assembly line. We don’t know the story behind it and why it was kept in a barn since day one, but it emerged into daylight after around 42 years in December 2021. The car was showcased by the Swedish auction website Netauktion, and apparently, it found a new owner in January 2022.
While it’s not an extremely important or valuable vehicle on a global scale, it’s an interesting piece of Swedish automotive history. Not only because it’s one of Saab’s most important classic models, but also because this particular 96 is one of the last ever built. Built-in 1979, it was put together only a few months before the 96 was phased out in January 1980.
And despite sitting in a barn for more than four decades, the car appears to be in fantastic condition. The video below shows a dirty 96 being pulled out of its resting place, but the two-door comes back to life once it’s cleaned. The Acacia Green paint shows only a few rust spots, while the matching interior with cloth upholstery is pretty much flawless.
The seller states that there was no attempt to start the engine, which makes sense after so much time in storage. The engine bay looks good, though, apart from some surface rust on a few components. As a late model, this 96 is powered by a 1.5-liter V4 engine of the Ford variety. And needless to say, it should be a relatively easy fix.
There’s not a lot of info on how the auction went, but the Swedish website lists a 250,000 SEK price under “market value.” The figure converts to almost $27,000, which is quite a lot for a late Saab 96.
Low-mileage vehicles like this in excellent condition usually go for $12,000 to $20,000 on sites like Bring a Trailer, but I’ve seen a 1966 version change hands for $30,000 in 2021. Either way, what’s important here is that this Saab is off to a better life, either as a display piece or a car that will be driven occasionally.
Saab introduced the 96 in 1960 as a replacement for the similar 93. Also, a two-door compact, the 96 was initially available with a two-stroke three-cylinder engine with 37 horsepower, but output increased to 41 horses in 1966.
Saab began offering Ford-sourced V4 engines with 64 horsepower in 1967. In its final years on the market, the V4 generated 67 horses. In the U.S., the two-stroke delivered 73 horses, while the V4 was rated at 65 (gross) horsepower.
While it was far from powerful and fast, the Saab 96 had a few notable appearances on the rally scene. It won the RAC Rally three years in a row (1960-1962) and scored two wins at Monte Carlo in 1962 and 1963. Stig Blomqvist and Per Eklund won the Swedish Rally in the Saab 96 in 1973 and 1976, respectively.