HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1967 Saab 96, a Swedish oddball with 3-cylinder...

Pick of the Day: 1967 Saab 96, a Swedish oddball with 3-cylinder engine

The distinctively aerodynamic compact car was created by aircraft designers


Saab is one of the more-interesting car companies in the past 60 years. Instead of following along with what everyone else was designing, the Swedish automaker seemed determined to go its own way with how its cars were engineered and designed.

The Saab Automobile company was founded in 1945 as a way to expand into a market outside of aircraft. Their first model was called the 92, which was launched in 1948. Utilizing its aeronautical knowledge, Saab built cars that were highly aerodynamic and in many ways well ahead of their time.


The subsequent models to the 92, the 93 and 96, followed the same pattern of aero design. All of these models were originally powered by either a 2-cylinder or later a 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine measuring less than 1 liter.

The Pick of the Day is near the end of the run for the classic model, a 1967 Saab 96. This car like the earlier models is powered by Saab’s 3-cylinder 2 -stroke engine. Later 96 models would switch to a Ford V4.

The 841cc 3-cylinder engine is rated at 46 horsepower and mated to a 4-speed all-syncro gearbox with the shifter on the column.


One thing about this small engine besides the need to add special lubricating oil to the gas tank at every fill up (there is no oil sump), and that people can hear the distinctive “wing-a-ding-ding” exhaust note coming from a mile away, is that it is very efficient, delivering extraordinary mpg numbers that have been recorded as high as 40. The Saab 96 also proved to be very successful in rally racing, most notably at the hands of famed driver Erik Carlsson.

According to the Mooresville, North Carolina, dealer advertising the Saab on ClassicCars.com, this 96 is a transitional model with a slightly longer front end designed to accommodate the Ford V4. It also features greater and more-accessible storage space and a larger rear window. In addition, the radiator in this car was placed in front of the engine for the first time.

saab, Pick of the Day: 1967 Saab 96, a Swedish oddball with 3-cylinder engine, ClassicCars.com Journal

The Saab wears an all-original body with no rust whatsoever, the dealer adds, and has always been stored indoors and well-cared-for its entire life. The extensive photos of the body and floors seem to confirm the car’s rust-free condition.

This 96 looks to be in great condition. The paint color is a respray of its original Saab Olive Green over a nicely finished black-velour-over-white-vinyl interior. The engine compartment looks to be correct and in good shape.

saab, Pick of the Day: 1967 Saab 96, a Swedish oddball with 3-cylinder engine, ClassicCars.com Journal

 A Saab 96, especially in 2-stroke form, is not a classic car for everyone. But if you like to stand out from the crowd, the price tag of $19,987 offers a way to do so at a reasonable price.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


    • I know Richard. I could have written 2500 words about the car but I know I would have been edited down. My personal favorite would honestly be a V4 Monte Carlo but this car is still so neat and looks to be incredibly well sorted.

  1. My first SAAB was a 93; a quart of SAAB oil or outboard oil to 8 gallons of gas. I then got a 1965 96 Special, which was a GT without the trimmings, 3 carbs and oil injection–twice the oil mileage. I used both for rallys and ice racing. The cold weather starting was phenomonal, spark plug life was not!


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