We’re still slightly raw over the decline and disappearance of Saab. Right to the end the Swedish brand made cars that were a little different from the norm and despite General Motors underpinnings in their final few decades, Saab’s cars were uniquely comfortable and frequently offered generous performance.
That performance came from turbocharging, and predictably Saab was among the pioneers of that technology too. While it started with the 99 Turbo, perhaps the most celebrated turbocharged Saab is the 900 Aero – and that’s the focus of the latest The Next Big Thing video with Magnus Walker.
Walker is a Porsche fan at heart (another company that explored turbocharging in the technology’s early days), but The Next Big Thing is his chance to delve into other interesting segments in the classic car market – and for a certain kind of enthusiast, it doesn’t get much more interesting than the 900 Turbo 16 Aero.
Called the SPG in the United States (for “Special Performance Group”, since GM was using the Aero name on a US-market model), the Aero took the regular 900 Turbo and added a body kit, uprated suspension, and desirable options such as leather trim and air conditioning.
Naturally, you got a set of three-spoke wheels into the bargain, a Saab staple, but in its ultimate form the 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder also made 173bhp and could top 135mph.
Riding alongside Walker in this particular SPG is Mark Skinner, who owns Zurich Classic Motors in Brooklyn, New York. Skinner explains some of the history behind the car, including this particular SPG’s paint shade: Talladega Red, a celebration of a record-setting 21-day performance and endurance run at the Talladega Speedway in Alabama.
Being a Saab, they’re practical too, as you’ll find out when Walker uses Skinner’s 900 to do a quick shopping run to a suitably appropriate store. Buy the right Saab and you’ll get a genuinely usable classic as well as a surprisingly brisk one.
If you find yourself wanting your own Saab 900 Aero, or indeed any 900 after watching the video, head over to the Hagerty Price Guide to get a handle on values. 900s remain something of a bargain despite steadily increasing values – almost enough to take the sting out of Saab’s untimely disappearance from the market.