The Saab 96 is an automobile made by Saab. It was
introduced in 1960 and was produced until January 1980, a run of
20 years. Like the 93 it replaced, the 96 was a development from
the old Saab 92 chassis and, on account of its improvements and
modernisation, it opened new markets for the company. It was the
car for which the marque Saab became internationally known, not
least because of its safety innovations and its motor sport
successes. It was the first Saab model officially imported to
Olympus Rally 2006
Saab 96 Rally Cars
The bodywork differed little from that of the Saab
93, but the rear had undergone improvements in 1960,
providing more trunk space, a larger trunk opening, and
a much larger rear window with better visibility. The
original 'bull-nose' front section of the 96 was
lengthened for 1965 models, in preparation for a new
engine, and the radiator was placed ahead of the engine,
rather than above and behind, a leftover from the
thermosiphon cooling days. Both front and rear windows
were again enlarged slightly for 1968 models. In 1969,
the Saab 99 appeared, which was a much more modern
concept that was designed to replace the 96. However,
the latter continued until 1980, by which time the new,
longer 900 had appeared in 1979, which eventually
replaced the 99 in 1984.
As first designed, the 96 had a 750 cc, 38 hp (28 kW)
three-cylinder Saab two-stroke engine. By 1963 this was
increased to 841 cc, 40 hp (30 kW). An optional 57 hp (43 kW)
version of the engine, with triple carburetors and oil
injection, was used in the Sport and Monte Carlo models. The
additional power was obtained from a modified cylinder head and
filled crankshaft counterweights offering higher overall
compression ratio. The SAAB 96 of 1964 was tweaked to 42 hp
(31 kW). For 1966 models, the standard 96 841 cc, 46 hp (34 kW)
engine, using pre-mix oil, appeared with a three throat Solex
carburettor in which the centre carburettor handled start, idle,
and low speed functions. The same carburetor had been used in
the Monte Carlo and Sport models. A common throttle shaft
minimized carburetor synchronization problems. In 1967 the 96V4
appeared, with the Ford Taunus V4 engine, a four-stroke 1498 cc
V4 engine, originally developed for the 1962 Ford Taunus 12M.
Saab's project to source a four-stroke engine was dubbed
The first V4 engines produced 55 hp (48 kW) and 65 hp (48 kW)
from 1977-1980. The car made 0–100 km/h in 16 seconds. The
two-stroke option continued into 1968. In the USA, the
two-stroke engine was called the 'Shrike' at that time. Its
displacement was reduced slightly, to 819 cc to avoid emission
regulations which exempted engines under 50 in³, while the V4s
used in US cars had a 1700 cc low compression engine.
Throughout its life span, the Saab 96 and its station wagon
sibling, the Saab 95, had the gear lever mounted on the steering
column. This became an increasing rarity in the auto industry
during the 1960s and '70s, but was an appreciated feature among
rally drivers who could change gears faster than with a
The gearbox originally had three gears, the first
unsynchronised. Later, a four-speed option, with synchromesh
first gear, was offered and the three-speed was phased out. In
order to overcome the problems of overrun for the two-stroke
engine, a freewheel device was fitted. This was retained in the
four-stroke variant, until the end of production. In later
models, it could be engaged or disengaged by a control in the
lSAAB 96 limited edition 1979
The front suspension used double wishbones and coil springs,
while the rear suspension was a trailing U-beam axle with coil
springs. Telescopic dampers were used for all four wheels.
Earlier models had drum brakes all around. Later models were
fitted with front disc brakes.
The Saab 96 was also available as an station wagon (estate)
version, sold as the Saab 95 (not to be confused with the later
Saab 96 and V4 (Rally Giants Series) from Amazon.co.uk
Saab 96 in
The Saab 96 was driven most famously by Erik Carlsson, in
many international rallies. His most famous successes were first
in the 1960, 1961 and 1962 RAC Rallies and first in the 1962 and
1963 Monte Carlo Rallies. It was these successive, top-level
victories that put the Saab 96 'on the map' and established its
reputation for reliability and toughness. Carlsson also competed
in the East African Safari Rally. Famous rallying names such as
Simo Lampinen, Per Eklund, Pat Moss-Carlsson, Tom Trana, Stig
Blomqvist and Carl Orrenius have also been connected with the
The last production date for the Saab 96 was January 11, 1980
(VIN 96806002814), the last VIN (96806002820) was produced on
January 3, 1980 .
These cars were built by Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland.
The Saab 96 was outlived by the Saab 99 and ultimately
replaced by the Saab 900, introduced the previous year. A total
of 547,221 were made.
1974 SAAB 96 V4 Rally Car
The Saab 96 features on several postage stamps. A Monte-Carlo
Rally Saab 96, driven by Erik Carlsson, appears on a Swedish
Finding Classic Car Parts
- some useful information
In pop culture
- A Saab 96 tows a bedstead in the 1965 comedy, The Knack
...and How to Get It.
- A Saab 96 appears in the 1987 comedy Throw Momma from
the Train, starring Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito.
- The 96 appears in multiple episodes of the Adult Swim
animated series, The Venture Bros. as Dr. Venture's car ( a
vehicle once produced by Venture Industries). The Venture
Industries logo appears in place of the Saab emblem.
- A Saab 96 appears in the anime Tekkon Kinkreet.
- In the movie Weirdsville, Dexter drives a 96 all
throughout the movie.
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