SAAB 96 De LUXE COUPE
CONCOURS STANDARD – POTENTIALLY ONE OF THE BEST AVAILABLE IN EUROPE
As stated in the original sales brochure from 1961.
Standard features include:
Asymmetric headlights, self-cancelling direction indicators, automatic dome light in the interior, fuel tank with self-acting oil mixer, factory installed reinforcements for harness fittings, built-in anti-theft system, mud flaps behind rear wheels, manual clock, individually adjustable front seat backs with seven settings, adjustable rear seat height, double windscreen wipers, two padded sun-visors, windscreen washers, twin horns,
Passenger seat back can be locked in position to prevent swinging forward on sudden braking. Full size spare wheel, jack, tool kit, hazard kit, reverse light, lockable fuel tank. Large lockable glove box, ashtray, door side storage paniers, chrome exhaust tip.
Capable of being transformed into a double bed for two adults.
Conceived when SAAB were still actively involved in aircraft construction, being one of the first mass produced models to be wind-tunnel tested. This resulted in achieving an aerodynamic design, with a low centre of gravity, aiding both fuel consumption and road holding. Intelligent and practical innovation can be seen all over the 96 Coupe. This “Bull-nose” example has front hinged bonnet, wide doors which assist while accessing the rear seats, rear ventilation cowls, steep raked front screen and larger curved “wrap-around” rear screen than previous model. The front of the 96 has a pure and individual character all of its own. The proportions and lay-out of grill, headlights and chrome strip embellishments seem totally correct for the era, underlined by the pristine chrome bumper. All the bright-work around the car is totally faultless and gleams as if brand new. The wheels are all in beautiful condition, painted Bottle Green, (echoed in the body seam seals) with bright chrome hub-caps.
SAAB was also way ahead of the game in terms of corrosion prevention; something other manufacturers took many years grasp, being rust-proofed and undercoated in factory.
The entire exterior and bodywork can only be described as in first class order, faultless.
Once again, a lesson in simple, efficient design and quality.
Since all transmission elements of the SAAB are in the front of the car, the floor of the 96 is completely flat. This, together with a re-design of the overall interior space, and wider back seat, creates more leg and head-room for the occupants. Five, fully grown adults, can now travel long distances in comfort.
Safety has again been considered, features such as padded dashboard, with a non-glare finish, padded sun-visors and seat-belts are fitted. There is a new instrument panel for this model with a very clear and easy to read “ribbon-style” speedometer, four dials under the speedo that house temperature gauge, fuel gauge, ammeter, and clock. A cowl shields all dials to illuminate windscreen glare. Heater and lighting controls have all been grouped to the left of instrument cluster, along with the manual choke.
The original headlining door cards and seats all remain in a superb condition, with no sign of fading, damage or wear. Muted subtle tones of greens and grey are blended to create a superior level of comfort and luxury; this is after all the De Luxe model. Door cards are further embellished with coated gold braided piping. The rear passengers are treated to their own personal arm-rests. Floor coverings are a mixture of grey carpet and practical rubber matting, all faultless. Cavernous boot capacity of 13 cu ft / 370 litres.
WHEELS & TYRES
The 15”inch steel wheels are all in beautiful condition, painted Bottle Green, (echoed in the body seam seals) with bright chrome hub-caps, displaying the SAAB logo. Tyres are all matching White-Wall cross-ply, in keeping with originality. B.F. Goodrich Silvertown tubeless.
SERVICE HISTORY & PROVENANCE
First registered in Sweden on 1st January 1961, this 96 remained with the same owner until its full restoration in 2010, when more than 25,000 Euros was invested in its preservation. Registered on 1st March 2016 by the only U.K. owner, who has enthusiastically maintained, shown and enjoyed this very special and almost unique classic.
Following an invitation from the Goodwood Road Racing Club, the SAAB 96 De Luxe was proudly exhibited in 2016 at their Annual Vehicle Display.
We hold two keys, a file containing recent MOT’s and invoices for works carried out by Bell & Colvill in Horsley, Surrey, some wonderful original advertising and promotional material from the 1960’s period.
THE DRIVE & ENGINE
The two-stroke SAAB 96 came to prominence in the early 1960’s through its success in international rallying. Erik Carlsson won several rallies, including the Monte Carlo and RAC, introducing the famous and much admired, “Swedish” driving technique.
The three cylinder 841cc engine produces 42bhp at 5000 rpm, powering the front wheels. Designed to start instantly, even in sub-zero temperatures, and is lubricated with oil from the very first stroke of the pistons, thus reducing wear. The two-stroke has only seven basic moving parts, three connecting rods, three pistons, and one crankshaft which is supported by four single-row ball bearings, the con-rod big ends have double-row roller bearings.
Engine, clutch, gear-box and differential are all assembled to a unit, mounted between the driving wheels up front. Single dry plate clutch. Column gear change with three forward gears plus reverse, with synchronized in 2nd and 3rd. A four speed was available at extra cost as a factory option. Rack and pinion type steering with lock to lock in 2.25 turns. Suspension is coil springs front and rear, independent front wheel suspension, transverse wish bones, U-shaped tubular, rigid rear axle, hydraulic shock absorbers all round. Front disc brakes were provided by a 1964 rally 96 and expertly installed by classic SAAB guru Graham McDonald.
Designed for both rough terrain as well as normal roads, the ground clearance is excellent and said by the manufactures to, ”pull itself through the sharpest of turns”, courtesy of the majority of weight being placed above the driving wheels.