This identification guide has been written for the Saab 99 Turbo, including the Combi Coupe, 2 door sedan and 5 door hatch. The 99 Turbo is widely regarded for its early adoption of turbocharging, and marked the beginning of Saab’s future passenger car styling philosophy, making it a unique and desirable vehicle.
As the Saab 99 Turbo gathers increasing interest, prices are starting to reflect the same. With the car being based on the standard Saab 99, there are specific features which must be assessed by a purchaser in order to identify a genuine 99 Turbo. This guide provides a summary of the various items to look for when identifying these cars, including the external features, internal features, paint colours/codes, mechanical features and the correct engine and chassis numbers.
Production numbers: 10,607 turbo models were built (includes all body styles combined).
Period of manufacture: 1977 – 1982 (only available in the U.S. during 1978).
Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe need to be made to this page, please contact us by clicking the button at the top of this page, or comment below.
The Saab 99 Turbo had the following external features, which make a good starting point in identification of an original or genuine car:
- Three-door hatchback (otherwise known as the Combi Coupe, represented the majority of cars produced, and was the only body style available in the U.S. for the 99 Turbo).
- Two-door coupe (1,000 two-door coupes were built for rally homologation. This included a special edition available in Marble White and Acacia Green Metallic sold in the Swedish, German, Swiss and Dutch markets. This car was also available in non-special edition form in other colours including Aquamarine Blue and Black.)
- Five-door sedan (produced in Cardinal Red only during 1978, with approximately 100 units built).
- Cars up to and including 1980: Trim code was printed on a metal plate.
- Cars from 1981 onward: Trim code was printed on a blue/white sticker. Note, these may have peeled of with age, or otherwise be missing if the vehicle has been restored.
The Saab 99 Turbo was available in the following paint colours / codes (also detailed in the attached chart):
Location of paint code:
The paint code on the 99 Turbo is either printed on a metal tag, or a sticker located in the engine bay, depending on when the car was built. Naturally, with the age of these cars, the stickers are often no longer present, and are usually removed if a car has been restored.
Up to and including 1980: Body colour tags (metal tags riveted to the inner guard) were usually located at the back LHS engine bay, on the inner front left mudguard just in front of the firewall/windscreen.
Cars from 1981 onward: Body colour stickers were usually located at the back LHS engine bay, on the inner front left mudguard just in front of the firewall/windscreen. See images for a better description of the location, and the blue example sticker provided.
The chassis number format for a Saab 99 Turbo will be determined by its date of manufacture, as the format was changed from the year 1981 onward. Both chassis number formats are outlined below, and can be decoded based on the attached tables in the images.
Location of the chassis number:
The chassis number on a Saab 99 Turbo will appear on the chassis plate in the engine bay, and is also stamped into the body of the car, underneath the rear left seat cushion (on the crossmember that supports the rear seat). The location of the chassis plate in the engine bay will differ depending on the year of the car, as outlined below, complemented by the attached images. Note, U.S. cars have an additional chassis plate located on the B piller (door slam panel), on the drivers side. An example of the U.S. VIN plate is provided in the images.
The Saab 99 Turbo was fitted with the Saab B type engine, which was a Saab built engine with roots trailing back to the original Triumph engine block, which was originally supplied to Saab from the mid 1960’s. The same engine block was also used in early Saab 900 Turbo cars.
The Saab 99 Turbo should have an engine number with a prefix of BS120P, followed by a unique 8 digit engine number.
Location of engine number:
The engine number is stamped into the Inlet side of the engine block, at the front left of the engine. There is a flat section where the block meets the head, directly below the thermostat area. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to get a photograph of an example, as the number is well hidden behind various pipes etc. If anyone has an example on the bare block, please email it to us by contacting us on the button above.
Example engine number: BS120P05001234
The Saab 99 Turbo had the following mechanical features, which should be present on an original car:
The following sources, among input from many enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.