historic 99 rallycar info??? [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: historic 99 rallycar info???

10th September 2002, 01:50 PM

I'm curious how Sport & Rally team got 270BHP from
SOHC 8v 1999cc?
and-were they running a dogbox transmission?

The 16v head they homologated in 1976 for the EMS rallycar
"only" made 225 BHP...I read somewhere that many of the
head castings were defective & could not be used-I think they were required to produce 100 units,when the FIA came to check
compliance for homologation-SAAB showed them a roomful of 16v heads---but many were defective!!!(who says only the Italians can bend the rules,heh)
Also-the 16v head had a timing belt as opposed to chain-was this just for ease of service?
It's cool to look at pictures of the '76 16v head & see
the future beloved powerplant!!!

Are there any good websites you can reccomend providing
in-depth info about the 99 rallycars?

Do homologation papers exist for the 16v head?
It'd be cool to see them & exact specs!

Anywhere to find info on Stig Blomqvist's 290 BHP
99T rallycross car????

And finally---
is Simo Lampinen the greatest "flying Finn",
or has Tommi surpassed him???

10th September 2002, 01:55 PM
This is one of the best 99 websites out there....


Looks like someone on who has submitted pictures and information on their 99 actually owns one of the ex works 99 Turbos!

10th September 2002, 02:22 PM
Thanx Simon!

I got lost in there awhile!

11th September 2002, 03:08 AM
have you seen this crazy custom 99T16?
på svenska-
:D :o :D :o :D :o
click "mina bilar" & them "ombygge" for quick glimpse,
also has great pix of T16 conversion process

12th September 2002, 02:56 AM
I found this a while back on TSN

"Saab's Sport & Rally department built many 99 turbo rally cars during 1978-80 for Per and Stig. As with previous rally cars, it was a continous development in progress and no two cars were completely alike. While US 99T-78 production cars all had a 4-cyl CIS fuel distributor, the EURO cars came with a 6-cyl distributor (two blocked off), and the 99T rally cars even got an 8-cyl CIS fuel distributor from a Porsche 928, to supply enough fuel. Some other differences from the production cars are:

Compression Ratio 6.5:1
Steel welded plenum style exhaust header with separate large wastegate
Garret T4 turbo
EMS camshaft
Four valve inline throttlebody mounted between head and intake manifold
Individual water injection for each cylinder on intake manifold runners
Steel welded intake manifold with large plenum
2 x dual CIS fuel pumps in sequence!
Ported head with copper O rings
8-cog waterpump
Fuel mileage during competition: 4 mpg
Max boost: 24 psi


I'd really want a porsche 928 fuel distributor =)

Pete Gossett
12th September 2002, 04:48 PM
Yes, that was in reply to my questions about it - I still haven't found much more info.

I have been thinking since that thread(a dangerous activity, I might add...): If they were able to achieve 270-280hp out of the car, I'm guessing they probably didn't have access to any wideband O2 sensors back then for tuning(Anyone know for certain if this is correct?). So I'm wondering, with proper & modern tuning techniques, if 300hp may actually be a possibility!

It seems like the head is really the weak point for 8v power. O-ringing the head/block will remediate the blown headgasket problems, but I wonder what can be done to prevent the dreaded cracking - other than keeping combustion-chamber temperatures down.

I'm also curious, I've read about some people fabricating custom expansion-chambers for the exhaust. Does anyone have any more info on these?

Also, does anyone have some details about adding aftermarket electric waterpumps? How does it instal, do you need to fabricate some type of block of plate for the OEM waterpump?

I'm also looking for specific info on how the factory team went about reducing the compression ratio to 6.5:1. I'm wondering if it was just pistons, or if the crank was de-stroked and/or head spacer installed?

12th September 2002, 10:40 PM
Sorry Pete,I can't help too much on your tech questions!

A few words from misc. sources:

"Rally engineer Borje Jarl talked to me in Sweden recently,and gave me a fascinating insight into the work which was done-in no more than three or four weeks,Sodertalje produced a modified turbo engine,with a 6.5:1 compression ratio,and a bigger turbine;with a standard camshaft this gave only 180 bhp,but when we tested against a 230bhp 16-valve car on our special track we found that the turbo car was faster.The torque curve was 32mkg(231 lb.ft.) and that counted-the car was very easy to drive."

"But all the time we were looking for power all the time,right through the rev range.By reducing the comp. ratio,we arranged that the base engine,really w/o the turbo working,was never in use.By the end we could get up to 300bhp in the rally car,and it was still very easy to drive.On camshafts,our first step was to go from the turbo to the EMS profile,then we tried to raise the lift as much as possible.We got so much power,you know,that we kept down to a 6.5:1 comp. ratio,but we could still have gone back to 7.2:1,the standard comp. ratio,if necessary."

"Borje Jarl's comments on rev limits were even more illuminating-"the drivers could use 9000 rpm for the 16v or the turbo--after which the con-rods & pistons would begin to give trouble.In practice,with the turbos they used 7500 rpm in the intermediate gears(with the 16v they had to use 8500/9000 rpm to keep the car going)-and in top gear they used whatever was available.But above 7500 the torque was dropping away fast."

"Problems with the rallying turbo were all connected with the power being unleashed from the engine.The standard exhaust manifolds,for instance,would quite literally begin to melt at the temps the 250 bhp stage 1 rally engine produced-while similar heat build up conditions led to a wholesale re-design of the inlet manifolds too."

excerpted from:"Saab Turbo by Graham Robson"

"the final gear ratio is lowered and the 0-62mph time is down to 6.5 secs--top speed is 113mph when geared for the normal type of rally."

Doesn't seem to be much tech info out there--I'd love to see a book soley devoted to the factory 99 cars(I have a nice book about the 60s/70s Alfa GTA & it's great--homologation photos,historic racing shots & pix of where the cars are now)--it'd be a good read--interview some of the rally mechanics & get the lowdown from the competition engineers!!

a couple of soudclips can be found at:

scans of 78 sport & rally catalog:

13th September 2002, 01:49 AM
And finally---
is Simo Lampinen the greatest "flying Finn",
or has Tommi surpassed him???

IMO, Tommi has not surpassed anyone, lately. Nowadays he seems to have tendency to drive over every rock or just try to see if his Subaru is a forestry machine by driving it through the woods and retire from races...Yes, he has more titles than anyone, but I think he had the best car/team combo when he drove for Mitsu, just like Ferrari in the F1 at the moment. He (Tommi) really was loved by the media when he was winning, he gave happily interviews for everyone and if I'm not mistaken, he got the price of being the best person to interview or something by the Finnish media back then. Nowadays he just seems to push away anyone asking a comment on his latest f*ck up or 6th place. Greatest respect I've got for Markku Alen, he's truly a character, and Simo Lampinen was probably a bit before my time...Just my thoughts on the subject.


13th September 2002, 04:49 AM
Saw one in the flesh yesterday :lol:

13th September 2002, 09:05 AM
Simon--you saw a flying Finn in the flesh? :oops:
heh heh--j/k,were you in Trollhättan?

VJS-- :lol: :lol: funny comments about Tommi-you are right!

I like Timo Salonen because I saw a pic of him having a smoke in his rallycar :D a chainsmoking WRChampion,it only makes sense he won it in a French car!

fromRALLYby Reinhard Klein about Markku Alén:
"...no doubt the enviroment encouraged him to wear his heart on his sleeve,but Alén's combustible manner was entirely Finnish and best seen on the rally that mattered most,the 1000 lakes.Even at the test stage,his hands would shake so much that he could barely pull on his gloves.An engaging man away from a rally car,the first touch of pressure would turn him into a seething,glowering,monosyllabic tyrant.(!)
"Talk to Kiki!" he would bark at any reporter bold enough to risk a question.It hardly mattered;watching him prowl a service point invariably provided a paragraph and the long-suffering Ilkka Kivimäki would fill in the details.Lancia management soothed and indulged him.For a professional,his development skills were extraordinarily poor,but he had a sublime gift for wringing the utmost from a car.Despite his reputation as one of the highest-flying Finns,he rarely crashed and his 19 World Championship rally wins established a record,yet,extraordinarily he was never World Champion."

I'm glad the French got back into WRC--I was getting bored with the Mitsu/Scooby domination.

Pete Gossett
13th September 2002, 09:08 AM
sitgs: Thanks for that info, every little bit helps!

That's a great idea to publish a book on the factory 99 cars. I wonder how many of the original engineers & team members are still around?

13th September 2002, 11:17 PM
A little more:
from Autosport 1979
interview with Bo Hellberg
(Saab Competition Manager)

Has the policy of Saab to go upmarket had any repercussions?-I see that there are very few private rally drivers using Saabs in Sweden.
"...normally we sell a certain amount of cars,both 99 & 96,to drivers at a special price and we always give every rally driver of a Saab certain discount.We are now developing for the normal 99,a carb tuning kit & also a mod-kit for the turbo.This will convert a standard turbo to a rally turbo or a normal 99 to a turbo.It won't give the same power as we have in our official Group 2 rallycars but it will be something around 220 bhp,still using as many standard parts as possible."

14th September 2002, 05:03 AM
one more thing:

An ex-works 99 in Australia--
found on a 99 registry

twin throat side-draft Weber 48DCOE
extractors close ratio dogbox
LSD hydraulic handbrake on rear
gearbox oil cooler rollcage
reinforced wishbones 2"exhaust
7000rpm redline
Ex Saab Sport & Rally built for Australian Dean Rainsford for competition-then sold to Saab Australia and used as the second car (to Stig Blomqvist) for the 1978 Alpine Rally-as far as I know,the only RHD 99 from Saab Sport & Rally--car is restored & currently for sale.
photographs by email upon request:


14th September 2002, 05:13 AM
Some pictures....




14th September 2002, 06:08 AM
WOW!-Simon,nice pix!

I never noticed the funky front airdam before.

:-?? is that bonnet glasfiber?

Look forward to seeing more pix!!!
Thanx for sharing!!!

Didja get a shot of the big SKF ballbearing at Landvetter? :wink:

Glad to have you back!

16th September 2002, 05:41 AM
Now THAT is a sweet 99! I would give almost anything to take a spin in one of those babies...Excellent that you are "sharing" your visit with us, Simon!


16th September 2002, 05:45 AM
It is fun to see how saab modified the normal cars to fit rallying and other motorsporting classes. They aren't that far from production cars compared for example to NASHCARS where the carbonfiber body is remotely similar to production cars, but everything has been changed.

7th September 2014, 07:37 AM
I know this is an old thread but I came accross this old photo I beleive my father took at Garden City in Newcastle (Australia) from what I can make out from the faded writing on the back of the photo it was 3rd last check point in the Sydney to London rally.

http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab81/saabaus/SAAB/file_zps67599d56.jpg (http://s852.photobucket.com/user/saabaus/media/SAAB/file_zps67599d56.jpg.html)