Scrapyard Gem: 1972 Saab 96

More than a thousand years ago, Scandinavian invaders conquered much of northern England

and Danes came to rule the old Roman city they called Jórvík. The Danelaw is long gone, but I visited that city (now known as York) a couple of months back and found some ancient Scandinavian treasure in a junkyard
scrapyard there
: a Saab 96, as rusty as a long-buried iron Viking sword but still recognizable.

We saw a 1973 Saab 95, the wagon version of this car, in a California boneyard last fall. 1973 was the last year for the 95 and 96 in the United States, but 96 sales continued in the United Kingdom through 1976

.

England is damp year-round and they have a generous hand with the road salt there in winter. The level of corrosion on this car would impress even a Michigan resident.

The amount of vegetation, rodent droppings and moss is impressive. It must have sat outdoors, maybe half-buried, for decades.

Still, I found very few cars built before 2000 during my scrapyard explorations in England (with some notable exceptions) and these old Saabs are cool, so I photographed it.

At first, the 96 was built with a three-cylinder two-stroke engine. For 1967, Saab began installing the Ford Taunus V4 engine in these cars

, and that’s what’s here.

The odometer shows that it reached nearly 100,000 miles (or maybe 200,000 or 700,000 miles— it’s impossible to tell with a five-digit odometer).

Even in freezing Yorkshire winter weather, the mildew in this interior could be smelled from a couple of rows away.

Restorable? Not in this condition, though the 96 has many fans in Britain

.

Would you put the horse behind the cart? Of course not, which is why you wanted a front-wheel-drive Saab 96!