This Saab 95 Wagon Has a 502-CI Big-Block V8, If You Can Believe That

The swap has twice as many cylinders and over four times the torque of the original Saab V4.

byLewin Day|
Builds photo


Saab is known for making some of the quirkier cars of the 20th century, as much as it is now known for not building any cars at all. It’s actually hard to make a Saab more unusual with modifications, though the builder behind this all-black weapon on Bring A Trailer has certainly put some effort into doing just that.

The car began life as a humble 1971 Saab 95 wagon, and appears virtually stock to the uneducated eye or a passing glance. Any car enthusiast that cares to linger, though, will quickly spot the immense tires tucked under the rear wheel wells, and surmise that something is afoot.

Indeed, under the hood, the Saab’s original Ford Taunus V4 has been replaced with a massive 502 ci (8.2L) Chevy big block V8. Naturally, this necessitated serious modifications to the whole car, including conversion to rear-wheel-drive, with power sent to the back via a two-speed automatic transmission. 

Said conversion has seen the Saab receive a custom multi-link rear live axle suspension setup. A stout Ford nine-inch differential is fitted to handle the output of the big motor. Meanwhile, there’s some frame reinforcement visible under the car, which you like to see when the new motor delivers four to five times the torque at a conservative estimate. There’s also a bit of cutting and shutting to accommodate the huge rear wheels and the driveshaft going front-to-rear.

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The interior has been treated well, too, with the seats finished in tan, fitting nicely with the car’s handsome glossy back exterior. There’s a competition shifter and four-point harnesses, too, though infotainment is limited to just a simple Saab Bendix AM radio. Wagon fans be warned, though: the rear storage is pretty much gone, what with the rear suspension (and potentially a fuel cell) taking up that space.

As part of the conversion, the brake and clutch master cylinders have been installed in the cabin, along with the ignition box, but that just makes them easier to service, right? Just don’t spill on the carpet.

Notably, despite looking like it’s more than ready to line up at the Christmas tree, there’s no word as to the car’s power numbers or any time slips from the drags. With that said, you’d expect the new setup to easily best the original 95’s 14.5 second 0-60 mph time and roughly 19-second quarter mile. 

The car was previously listed for sale in 2016 for an asking price of $59,500, though there’s no word as to whether it actually sold at that price. As of the time of writing, bidding on the car today stands at $12,500, but with days left in the auction, expect the number to climb further from there.

Where some love quirky old Saabs for their oddball engines and curious design choices, others choose to undertake serious modifications to give these handsome European steeds serious performance even by modern standards. Whichever way you go, it’s easy to appreciate the classic lines of an automaker that has now long been passed by.

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