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Autotrader Find: Rare 1990 Saab 900 Turbo SPG

Every Saab is weird. However, sometimes we come across a Saab that is especially weird. Even by Saab standards. Today’s Autotrader find is one of those cars; a 1990 Saab 900 Turbo SPG. It’s an obscure high-performance variant of the Saab 900 that included a turbocharged engine and a rather quirky appearance package.

Special Performance Group

SPG stands for “Special Performance Group” and this designation was only used in the U.S. In the rest of the world, this was the Saab 900 Turbo Aero; a moniker that would eventually be brought into the U.S. Saab lineup. It improved on the 900 Turbo with an aerodynamic appearance package that included a distinct “whale tail” rear spoiler. Other upgrades include a sport suspension and interior niceties like leather seating, premium audio, and air conditioning. Most 900 Turbo SPG models in North America were painted black or silver, but a red one like this was especially rare.

Under the hood lies a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine making 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. An engine like this in a sporty hatchback is pretty common today, but this quirky Saab was way ahead of its time in 1990 when turbocharging was still quite novel. Another thing that made it ahead of the curve was its “Automatic Performance Control” box, which was a boost controller and knock sensor. This could detect the octane of the fuel you’re using in your Saab and adjust the performance of the turbocharger accordingly. The result was stronger performance with higher-octane gas.

Only a Quarter-Million Miles

The example we see here has approximately 230,000 miles on the clock according to the listing, but the durability of this car should not be underestimated. In fact, back in 2006 a gentleman named Peter Gilbert of Glendale, Wisconsin famously took his 1989 Saab 900 SPG across the one-million-mile mark. Saab verified the mileage, he donated the car to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum, and Saab treated him to a new (at the time) 2007 Saab 9-5 Aero.

Don’t count on a free new car from GM if you manage to hit the million-mile club in this SPG, but it’s a car with a good track record of dependability as long as you stick to the maintenance schedule. According to the listing, the current owner is a seasoned Saab technician who has performed some big services on this car including a new head gasket, steering rack, clutch, ball joints, front axles, power steering pump, and the whole exhaust system.

This Saab is offered for sale by a private seller in Columbus, Ohio with an asking price of $11,500. You could get a much more modern used Saab with fewer miles for that price, but you’ll have a hard time finding one as unique as this 900 Turbo SPG. Find a Saab 900 for sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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