To celebrate Saab’s 50th anniversary back in 1997, Norwegian auto body expert and Saab enthusiast Per Ekstrøm set out to do something special. He decided to build a one-off coupe, based on the Saab 900, and he received both approval and cooperation from Saab’s headquarters in Trollhättan, Sweden. The result of the collaboration still exists today and is now headed for auction—this 1997 Saab EX Prototype.
The EX Prototype’s body started life as a ’90s Saab 900 II but its body was then Frankensteined together with other Saab body parts. For instance, the rear glass is from a Saab 900 Cabriolet and the widened wheel arches are from a Saab CS 9000. It then received custom bodywork to make it all mesh together. Its roofline was lowered almost three inches. It’s no hatchet job, either, as several sketches and even a clay model were made before its construction to make sure that everything was perfect. It’s even said to have been built by Saab factory recommendations.
Whoever buys this car will get full documentation from its build, including correspondence with Saab, all of the original drawings and calculations, and even approval from the Norwegian traffic authority. The EX Prototype might have been a one-off but it’s completely road-legal. It even had an EU technical inspection as recently as July 2023.
Saab fans will be delighted to see a familiar turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood and a five-speed manual shifter inside. Since all of its running gear is Saab 900-based, parts are relatively easy to find (as easy as parts for any other Saab, at least) and it’s no more difficult to work on than any other 900. So despite it being an extraordinarily rare one-off, it isn’t any more difficult or expensive to maintain than any other Saab.
It looks factory, too. Since the project had the backing of Saab and only used Saab parts, it looks like a prototype for a canceled production car. The design just works, too. I never knew I wanted a low-sloping 900 Coupe before today.
The car currently lives in Belgium and Bonhams estimates it will sell for anywhere between €60,000—€90,000 (that’s $64,301—$96,452). If it stays in Europe, it will be fully road-legal and it should be legal to import to the United States since it’s over 25 years old. Whoever buys this car is going to have something truly special: a one-off creation that will turn the heads of every car enthusiast on the planet, can be driven every day, is easy to work on, and is relatively affordable to maintain. I’d say that’s worth Bonham’s estimated price.
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