My Ride: The 1991 Saab 900 SPG, a Rare Turbo Hot Hatch

"For all Saabs, you have to be willing and able to work on it yourself."

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Luke Sharrett
  • Owner: Kyle Smith
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • Found on: Saabnet
  • Purchase Price: $4,500
  • Years owned: Four

    My older brother’s first car was a . I looked up to him, so when it was time for my first car, I got the same year and model as him: a black 1991 non-turbo 900 that I picked up for $500. Six years later, I gave it to my little brother, and started looking for an SPG. The Special Performance Group was an upgrade from the standard 900 turbo — lower to the ground with more horsepower and the body kit. I had always heard how great they were.

    Yes, the car is a blast to drive, but it doubles as a nice way to accomplish something.

    I found mine on , which is kind of the Saab nerd message board. The SPG had only 119,000 miles on it, crazy low for the age of the car, and it was Beryl green, a color Saab only offered in 1991, limited to 109. Cosmetically, it was perfect, until a month later I smashed into a deer. It was devastating. It could have been a lot worse, but the timing was what really hurt. I had just gotten it!

    For all Saabs, you have to be willing and able to work on it yourself or it gets really expensive. I’ve been troubleshooting an oil leak, but the suspension was the biggest project. Everything had seized in place, and I had to saw parts off to get it moving again. I was nervous because I thought I was going to cut something I wasn’t supposed to. But that’s actually the great thing about owning a Saab. It would’ve been heartbreaking to irreparably destroy it, but I’m willing to take risks because, compared to other classic cars, I don’t have that much invested.

    1988 Saab 900 Turbo
    A 1988 Saab 900 Turbo.
    Getty ImagesHeritage Images

    My job is to oversee office efficiency, which means a lot of time on a computer. Working with my hands is a release. Yes, the car is a blast to drive, but it doubles as a nice way to accomplish something.

    And I love the reactions I get driving it. I took it for an alignment after replacing the ball joints, and the manger pulled me aside. He said, “What is this? Is it rare? I’ve never seen one before.” I really like that because I didn’t spend a million dollars on it, and I’m sure a guy in a Ferrari is getting the exact same experience.

    Saab 900 Turbo
    A Saab 900 Turbo shot in Kampen, The Netherlands.
    Getty ImagesSjo

    A version of this story appears in the November 2018 issue.

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