In November 1967, the SAAB introduced the 99. It was revolutionary in design in a socially turbulent time and would serve for a quarter of a century as the foundation of the heart of the SAAB program. Today, the foundation of the 99 still looks modern in some respects, and it combines that qualification with classic elements. At Gerard Kramer Classics in Wolvega, we found a gem from the 99’s penultimate year of construction: a white SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed from 1983 with only 170,000 kilometers of life experience.
SAAB impresses with its wedge-shaped and clear lines. With its white color with black accents. It is a beautiful, tectyl and stainless steel example, which became even more tasty thanks to the mounting of the light-alloy American Turbo rims. SAAB shows us the typical gadgets, such as the cut-out thresholds, the electric thermostatically controlled seat heating and the wipe / wash installation on the headlights. The folding rear seats, none custom in a two-door model. This SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed is equipped with the 45 degree tilted 1985 cc H engine with a horizontal Zenith Stromberg carburetor. It is a very reliable, fine and quiet four-cylinder block with two valves per. cylinder and a power output of up to 100 HP. Moreover, black sludge is largely ruled out with this early H variant.
Upright and rock-solid
When we step into this SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed, the rock-solid feel of the construction immediately reveals itself. Immediately there is the recognition. That Sit up straight, the excellent position in relation to the steering wheel, the experienced space, the perfect placement of buttons and handles, the view all around, the location of the pedals and the excellent furniture (with safety seats) provide the necessary expectation. In the same interior reveals the dashboard that was built in this SAAB a long time ago. The instrument panel, the watch shop, the narrow cut, the hand choke, the curiosities of knobs that are all different from each other and the patina strip: they are contrary to SAAB 99’s body design, and it gives the car-historical shine, which is enhanced on the outside by the shock-absorbing bumpers, also children in seventies and eighties.
Excellent handling, solid feel
We have to drive. One looks in vain for an ignition lock on the steering column. It is located between the front seats. The H-power source is running, the operation of the perfectly functioning heat is now a child’s play. We bring the gearbox in its first gear. Then it immediately seems that the long poker is perfect within reach. The gears can – as it turns out along the way – be operated with pleasant long strokes and a pleasant form of back pressure. The interaction with the clutch, which offers a lot of emotion, is flawless. And that applies to the entire operation of the car. The braking system is suitable for its task, the operating system obeys the commands obediently.
High degree of stability
The stability straight ahead is even excellent, even on poor road surfaces. The chassis supervises the balance between a resolute damping and the smooth spring characteristics in that situation excellent. This term also applies to crosswind sensitivity. The wide track, chassis and weight ensure that very windy The Saturday before then, proper gusts of wind will not catch SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed. Also nice: with SAAB 99 you can calmly take a big turn with speed. When accelerating in that situation, when rounding a solid curve, you notice that the front wheel drive SAAB remains neutral for a long time before any understeer appears. The whole thing is accompanied by a carriage that only tilts a little late.
Safe and smart on all fronts
Not only the active security impresses. The passive safety information is also recorded with the correct pen by the manufacturer. Curling zones, reinforcement bars in the doors, a safety steering column, continuous A-pillars: these are just a few of the features that SAAB moose proof to make. You can feel it all in all, the 99 ‘is extremely well designed and provides optimal protection against external disasters.
The unblown power unit of the SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed impresses. He does not invite the driver to drive to the forefront. Apart from the fact that a consumption of 1 in 10 can be achieved with a quiet driving style, the car – witnessing a factory-specified peak of 165 kilometers per hour – is not a cock. Not necessary. From 3500 rpm, a suitable acceleration is also possible, but in combination with the five-speed gearbox’s longer gear ratio, the 1985 cc H engine mainly encourages calm, while the torque reserve is quietly waiting to be used. When that happens, the SAAB makes itself heard, but it does not become a nuisance. Certainly not.
We feel comfortable in the SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed. Both indoors and on the highway, the car feels extremely comfortable, especially at normal speeds. In that case, there is certainly still a stretch in the performance curve, but we are not challenging SAAB. It is not necessary. He offers autonomy without showing the urge to manifest. No clumsy left-wing stuff, but high level, dignity and class, a lot of class. They are pure ingredients for the independent equestrian spirit.
This late and mature 99 shows that the model is one of the better built and most original cars in history. A car that still has some timeless features. Nevertheless, in our maritime climate, a SAAB 99 is ultimately not insensitive to rust (rear wheel arch edges, frames, bottom doors, chassis beam in the engine compartment, shock absorber mounting points). So care, maintain and preserve. When you do, you will enjoy it for many years to come. You are still hooked on it if you have ridden on it. Without a time limit attached to that devotion. If you are good at a SAAB, then it will give you life. And this certainly also applies to this beautiful SAAB 99 GL 5 Speed, which has now found a new owner.
Many thanks to Gerard Kramer Classics, Wolvega