“Operation Kajsa”: ’69 SAAB 96
Most of us know what a SAAB 96 is. It is a quirky little Swedish import with a huge and loyal following. We all know too that they were very capable cars in rally sports. What we didn’t know, until we did a little snooping, is the intrigue surrounding the switch from the 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine to the the V-4 introduced in 1967. We’ll skip the names of the players and just tell the story. A few ambitious Swedish engineers began testing a V-4 replacement in 1962. Operation Kajsa is what they called it. The team worked in earnest testing different sources for engines. Engines from Volvo to Lancia were in the running. The CEO at the time ordered them to stop and continue developing the 2-stroke solution. The engineers were a disobedient lot and went behind the back of the CEO to the son of the largest shareholder of the company. Work resumed in total secrecy. Nobody at the factory knew what was going on until just weeks before production began. The V-4 introduced in 1967 has an engine sourced from Ford because it fit easier than their first choice – the B18 from Volvo. The front fenders and hood were stretched a bit to accommodate a front mounted radiator. Today’s find is a stunning example of a ’69 SAAB 96. It is all original and appears to be in perfect shape. The interior is remarkable even with the 73,000 miles showing on the clock. What a great car little car that we are sure would be boatloads of fun. We would lose the whitewalls instantly. Click here for the eBay auction with a Buy It Now of $14,999. A huge number but when will we see another?