Located in Sturgis, South Dakota, the Saab Heritage Car Museum has a surprisingly extensive collection of immaculate classic Saabs.
For a full look around this museum, check out A bit of Sweden in South Dakota: The Saab Heritage Car Museum.
Saabs competed and won in rallies throughout Europe and the US. This specific car won the 1960 British RAC Rally, driven by Erik Carlsson.
This SUV might not seem too special, but it's rarer than most Ferraris and Lamborghinis. It's a Saab 9-4X, based on GM's Theta platform, which was also the basis for the Saturn Vue (remember those?), Cadillac SRX and others.
Around 800 were built in 2011-2012 before the bankruptcy of Saab.
This beautiful two-tone 96 was owned, lovingly maintained and later donated to the museum by an avid Saab collector named Larry Williams.
This modified 900S features custom-made body panels, bumpers and of course, the eye catching pearlescent paint job.
The creator, the owner of a Saab dealership in Minnesota and his employees, built the car to show off their talents and get buzz for their company at Saab events.
I have a fond memory from my early teen years going on a road trip in the back seats of a red convertible 900.
This example is from 1989.
This Saab is not a Saab, but a Fiat 124 Sport Spider, one of a handful of non-Saabs at the museum. As blasphemous as that sounds.
This big not-a-Saab is a 1957 Seagrave Pumper powered by a 2000-era Chevy Duramax Diesel. Like most of the vehicles in the museum, it still runs and frequents local events.
Activated by a button on the floor, its siren delights little kids... little kids like me (end of the video).
In the 60s and 70s Saab made a series of sports cars called the Sonett, ending with the delightfully angular Sonett III seen here.
This is probably the lowest mileage III in the world, with just 44 original miles.
Unfortunately, the III didn't sell well, and Saab ended production in 1974.
Before the III was the II -- and while outwardly they look different, underneath they were quite similar. The biggest difference was the engine, which was the same 3-cylinder 2-stroke found in other Saabs of the era.
Before the 9-5 Saab had the 9000. Larger and higher-end than the 900, it was in production from 1986 to 1998.
This 9000, from 1998, might have been on a dealer lot at the same time as the newer 9-5.
Your eyes don't deceive you. This is two 900s joined at the back-to-back at the B pillar. It was built by the former technical director for Saab USA and was intended for a fun way for couples to test their communication and driving skills, as one one sit and steer at each end while navigating a cone road coarse.
This beautiful 900 is the part of GM's Heritage Center which extensively restores important classic cars from GM's history. This specific 900, on loan from GM, is from Saab's Special Performance Group which tweaked the engine for 15 more horsepower.
From GM's Heritage Center, this is the rather controversial Subaru in Saab clothing, the 9-2X. But not just any 9-2X, the very first ever made.
Another from the Heritage Center, in this case a 99 from the first year of production. Interestingly, it was originally purchased by Tom Donney, the founder of this museum.
A 1970 Sonett III from the Heritage Center.
The 92 is powered by a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke engine that develops 25 horsepower.
In-house restoration and maintenance.
One of the Saab-powered racers from the Barber Saab Pro Series that ran from the mid-80s to the mid-90s.
One of 6 original Saab Sonett prototypes. Fiberglass body, powered by a 748cc, 3-cylinder 2-stroke which develops a 57.5 horsepower.
One of Saab's race drivers, Erik Carlsson, wanted one of the prototypes, but couldn't get one. So he and some of his people built their own. This is that.
Some delightful paint jobs on these Sonett IIs. The one on the left is an extremely rare V4 Sonett II with a wood dash. Most V4 IIs had fiberglass dashboards.
While both were used for racing, the one on the right is far more modified, and features Minnesota Viking colors.
This 1966 96 Monte Carlo holds two speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats. Topping out at 112.642 mph.
This is a pre-production 95 from 1960. Unlike the production models, it has a dash from a 93 instead of from a 96.
This 1965 96 Monte Carlo is the actual car featured in season 5, episode 5 of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (listed under "Special Blend" on Netflix) where Jerry gets coffee with Fred Armisen.
It's got a 850cc 3-cylinder, 2-stroke that develops 51 horsepower.
Apparently Jerry wanted a Sonett V4, but 4 days before production the owner of the Sonett pulled out. The owner of the museum and his son trailered this green machine to Portland.
One of 300 96 Jubilee models to celebrate the end of production after 20 years. It only has 100 miles on it, having sat under a cover in a garage for 37 years.
Another rare car, this is a 96 fitted with the GT750 package, usually only found on the 93.
It was also used by the factory in brochures.
The 92 was never sold in the US, so the owner of the museum imported this 1956 92B and its incredibly powerful... 27 horsepower engine.
One of the oldest cars in the museum, this 1950 92 is from the first full year Saab mass-produced cars. It has driven across country at least twice, in 1998 and in 2000. Not bad for a 50 year-old car.
This was my favorite from the museum, and unfortunately for my wallet I now desperately want one. It's a 1978 99 Turbo in Anthracite Grey.
This example's velour interior is in fantastic shape.
Couldn't end before showing one of the most quintessential Saab quirks, a key on the floor between the seats.
For the full story behind our tour and this museum, check out A bit of Sweden in South Dakota: The Saab Heritage Car Museum.