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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys, I'm about to buy a ’93 900 Turbo Conv ( my first :cheesy: ). It has been a mechanics toy car for the last few years after he bought with a salvage title at auction. Its now in great shape--I am going to have this independently verified by another mechanic--and the seller seems very true. He's someone who's open to helping me maintain the car after i buy it.

The car hasn't really been driven since he got it three years ago, and he's only getting ride of it because he needs the room in his shop. He's selling it below market value on account of the salvage title, and set the price to recoup some of the work he's done on the car (head gasket, clutch slave cylinder, distributor, and driver’s side front end). The accident that got the car salvaged involved something like a metal pole going through the driver's side head light.

Do you guys think this is a good deal? Anybody have any experience with how a salvage title affects insurance and resale value? Finally is the damage I described consistent with a salvage title three or four years ago?

The car has 130k miles and I’ll be getting it for $3500. There is a small tear in the rag top, and I may need to replace the clutch in a year or two. He was in a rush to get it road worthy when he first got it and didn’t bother to replace it with the slave cylinder.
 

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I'm not sure what a salvage title is but I'm guessing it's the same as an insurance company write off, where the car is uneconomical to repair and the owner takes the payout. Mine is a write off and sat in a scrapyard for 3 years. Insurance is no problem on it, but the resale value is a bit poor with 5 previous owners and a Cat C - wrecked but capable of repair title. I'm very happy with it though, and didn't plan to sell it again anyway.
 

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wow jezz, your car loooks incredible, from what pics i recall, one of my fav cars on this forum, i've never seen inside pics but the exterior looks immaculate. what needed repair from the scrapyard and how many miles you got on it?
 

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Interior is very good really - couple of minor flaws but nothing much. It's done 178,000 miles. There's some small holes from welding sparks in the rear spoiler and two Aero panels are a bit bent, causing water ingress and some minor rust in the rear wheelarch where the car was picked up on a forklift.

The previous owner lived in Bristol and had a big sound system in the car which cost £££. The car was broken into and the stereo was stolen. They forced the driver's door lock out, cracked the dash where they pulled the stereo head unit and pulled the speakers and amp out of the boot, breaking the lock there as well. I don't know how much he had insured the car for but the insurance company decided that the loss of the stereo equipment combined with the minor damage made it uneconomical to repair. Crazy really, looking at it now :cheesy:

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah Wow Jezz, How much did you pay for the car in yard and how much did you have to put into fixing it? Its definitly a keeper :) i only hope i'm that luck.

How did you find out so much about the previous owner? I looked it up and a Salvage Title is defined like you stated, and i'm really curious what exactly happened to my prospective car.

The damage doesn't look bad, but i figure it had to exceed some $5-6k three years ago. Given its the driver's side front end i figure the the lamps, fender, hood, maybe the air mass meter needed to be replaced. Does that add up?
 

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I didn't buy it direct from the yard, I got it from a garage that had got it from the yard. They had the V5 registration with the previous owner's name, and I did an AA data check on it all (like carfax) and it all fitted with what the garage said. They told me that when they found it where it had been sitting for 3 years, they pumped the tyres up, put a jerry can of petrol in it, put jump leads on and it started right up and drove 30 miles. Blew the head gasket on the way though. It needed a few things doing. I got the garage to get locks replaced, coolant hoses, new window and door seals (they were leaking), new windscreen and driver window, new FPR and injectors, and a few other bits. The paint was pretty bad, so they agreed to throw in a full respray, do a new headgasket and a new 200W stereo system and multichanger, for just over £2000. I think it's a great car - rather quick as well :cool:
 

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Hi, I feel a salvage vehicle is ok as long as the frame was checked to be straightand true . I always was amazed at how badly bent up some people straighten.I would have it checked at a alignment shop just to play it safe before spending a dime .Last week I saw a 2001 nisan optima come to my shop with a $5,700.00 estimate that I feel should be parts only car. But the body shop bought all used parts for $1300.00 and the rest is labor to weld in panels ,pull bent badly front frame and refinish . The book is 10,000.00 us The customer has only had it for 6 months . When its completed it still will have a clear Ohio Title!:eek: I can't believe it! New parts would have totaled it for shure. The little girl who ownes this is deaf . I feel it is dishonest to repair this car under this circumstance and I tried to stop repairs , but they wouldn't listen because she and her dad " liked the car". ;oops: I failed! :cry: Pat
 

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salvaged title? a metal pole through the headlight? the mechanic will "help" you maintain the car once purchased? (of course he will,this is your first saab), the selling price is only 3500.00? ..............YIKES!

In my experience in the car buis. a salvaged title is a serious red flag, my first thought is to one third its real value. you know that it will need a new top soon, so figure another 800.00 to 1200.00. DIY= 600.00.
Always figure that a seller always has something to gain on a transaction(no duh) there are reasons that the seller tells you about and generaly many more that you will only find out about when its too late.
I guess my point is don't be smitten by the inherant charm of a saab and a seller that has much to gain. those two factors will always cloud good judgment and you may find yourself wanting to be sold.
keep looking would be my advice but learn from this experience.

allen
92 900s vert
 

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My '87 900 8v has a salvage title. I bought the car in '98 from a guy that fixed Saabs after purchasing them from Insurance companies. $3,400 at the time. The mileage was 68,000 miles when I bought it and I've put 100,000 miles on it since then. Usual repairs along the way.

The car was rear ended, but I've never figured out what really happened. The only sign was new paint on one side.

I actually like the salvage title, because on the title it says something like "Odometer reading is not applicable." So, when the odometer stopped working, I was like, Oh well, time to get one from the junkyard.

I agree with getting the alignment checked if it was in a collision.

Saabs can be written-off easily. Just think how little it takes to run up a $1,500-$2,000 body work repair on something like hitting a dear. Yup, done that.
 

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You can hardly walk in to the front door of a body shop nowadays for less than $1000. In my state, a damage estimate of 70% of the book value of a car totals it. Which basically means, even mild damage to any Saab over 7-8 yrs. old, often technically totals it out.

I'm not sure if I would ever buy one with a salvage title. I've always ruled them out in the past. I think I would want to see the 'before', to be convinced to buy the 'after'. The insurance-auction center for our region is just down the street from where I work. It costs a $200 fee per year to bid on the cars. A fellow I work with has bought many cars out of there for repair and resale. He has bought salvage-title cars occasionally, but usually focuses on theft-title cars. He's driving a really nice '97 Audi right now that was a theft recovery.

I think I would pass on the one you're looking at, too much $$$ for what it is.
 

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I bought an '88 9000 turbo with a salvage title in 1993. It had 34,000 miles and was mint (other than the accident aftermath, that is) -- it was totaled after a front end accident that didn't affect the frame or drive train.

I sold it in 2003 with 153,000 miles. The usual repairs. It's still running around in southern Minnesota, driven by a guy who lost his last Saab at 380,000 miles when he hit a deer.

A salvage title requires extra scrutiny to determine why the car was totaled. I'd never buy a car that had been totaled by flooding, for example.
 

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Personally I would think long and hard about the car. They didn’t total it out without a reason. And defiantly take it to be checked and measured out to make sure everything is straight, Saabs deform something terrible, same as all the other unibody cars out there.

Insurance might be a bit tricky, liability is probably all you will be able to get, or at least want to get. You can get full coverage on a salvage title, but if it is totaled again, there's where the fun begins. Can you prove that the reason it was totaled this time wasn’t because of shoddy or inferior repairs from the previous accident? Not a joke, rewelding and reworking panels will weaken that area, blah, blah, blah, metal fatigue and all that wonderful stuff. Plus they will work the salvage title in there. At the end what you would get for insuring it for “full coverage” wouldn’t be enough to warrant paying for “full coverage”. :confused:

Resale value, after a certain age, kind of doesn't matter. However finding a buyer for a rebuilt title is what can be hard, 95% of people are going to run after they hear the word, “rebuilt title”, the other 5% don’t know what “rebuild title” means.:cheesy:

You might try ebay, especially for the price, I'm not sure that 3,500 is any grand deal, not for a rebuild at least.

I had my Blazer in a body shop a while back and I observed an interesting repair on a Acura. It was only a year or two old and was totaled. For good reason too, it had gotten on the bad side of a 18 wheeler. :lol:

However the owner bought it back from the insurance and decided they wanted to have it fixed. Mind you this vehicle was in horrible shape. But they said fix it and so they did. The body shop had to cut the vehicle in half, get a donor car, cut it in half, then weld the two pieces together. I saw the car after it was finished and painted and it looked like a brand new car, you would never have known it had been ran over by a 18 wheeler, cut in half, and mated to another half of a car. :eek: Scary. :eek:
 

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It may work slightly differently over there, but in this country the categories of insurance write-off are:

  • Category A - Must be crushed. All of it.
  • Category B - Vehicle may not be returned to road. Parts may be sold.
  • Category C - Repairable. Possibly structural damage. Cost of damage (at dealer prices and labour rates) is more than book value of vehicle.
  • Category D - Repairable. Probably non-structural damage. May have been economic to repair, but insurer doesn't want to.
  • Category X - Repairable. Minor Damage.

I was wrong in my earlier post - mine was a Cat D, with no structural damage. This was confirmed by an AA inspection and an independent mechanic. I would be very wary of buying anything with structural damage. Anything other than a Cat X and you can forget about ever selling it as well.

The body shop had to cut the vehicle in half, get a donor car, cut it in half, then weld the two pieces together.
That would be known as a cut and shut here, and would never be allowed on the roads.
 

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My 2 Cents' Worth

As you will all know, I ask many more questions about cars than I could ever hope to be able to answer!! So I'd like to have my little say.

Gerard, I've always found the guys in here really know what they're talking about and they've saved me from making quite a few (potentially v. costly) mistakes myself.

Given that Australia has a much higher price of its used vehicles and $3,500 AUD would be what you'd pay for a C900 in excellent condition that requires absolutely no work, I personally would be steering well clear of one that's $3,500 US and that has been written off previously.

There are plenty of good cars available, they won't cost you nearly as much and will be much easier to insure than the one you're currently considering. My advice: look around, compare prices and ask these guys lots of questions - they're all really nice and very obliging.

PS Welcome to the world of Classic Saab 900's. They really are a great car - if in doubt, check the technology that has been put under the bonnet (hood?) and compare it to what is being offered today. You will be quite surprised.
As one of my friends said in relation to my car (1983 900 GLi Sedan) "Jeez, you couldn't kill it with a stick"!!

Cheers
Rosie & Ruby
Saabina83
 

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Jezzadee said:
.

I was wrong in my earlier post - mine was a Cat D, with no structural damage. This was confirmed by an AA inspection and an independent mechanic. I would be very wary of buying anything with structural damage. Anything other than a Cat X and you can forget about ever selling it as well.



That would be known as a cut and shut here, and would never be allowed on the roads.
Just one more thing to think about . All of a convertibles center body integrity is the floor. Check the door closing.That is a give away.It don't take much to misalign the doors. My friend had a welding job at a body shop for several years that only pieced brand new camaro and firebird write off halfs together for resale . Said they looked perfect but he would never but one. Then his boss resold them at the auction to unsuspecting bidders.At least in gerard's case he knows it was hit and salvaged. Might still be a decent car ???Not all sellers are dishonest ,but the big $$$$$ to be made is there is a tempting one.
 

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Hey Gerard, I just bought a 94 900 turbo convertable, I love it!. I do not know much about SAABs but I do know alot about rebuilding wrecked cars in Canada. I bought a 944 that had been rolled and fixed it up.

First things first. Look under the hood to try and determine what has been repaired. You can write off these cars very easy with very little damage. What you are looking for is deformation of the main engine support frame rails. The best thing to do is to get under the car if the mech. has a lift then get him to lift the car up so you can inspect under the car for damage to the frame. If you see different colored paint or any damage it may mean trouble. As commented before check how the doors, roof, trunk, and hood open and close. They should all be straight and close without binding. If this all looks good (Rust can be a big problem with cars from eastern Canada, Is it rusty?)and the car is a runner, than thats a go.

You will need to get the car registered. This may be a problem because if the car has been written off there are only a few places that can recertify them. Before you give the guy any cash I would get insurance and registration for the car. This will identify any major issues befor you give away your money.

As for resale, its a $3500 car. Its a convertable, if it runs and is in good shape you will not have a problem selling it. If we were talking about a $35,000 car I would be concerned about resale.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi People. Just wanted to update you ... i'm now the proud owner of my third saab 900 and it IS .... *drumroll* an '89 SPG. :cheesy: :cheesy: I was seriously contemplating all your advice over the weekend and planning to take a day or two this week figuring out what happened to the salvaged '93 turbo conv ... when this SPG came up for sale.

I test drove it monday and i was immediately convinced i couldn't go wrong for $2000. The seller is a really nice banker who got the car as a parting gift from a good client leaving town. He's had it for less than three months but it was impractical for him to keep. After the response he got within hours of posting his ad, he has really tempted to go against his wife and keep it ;) Luckly i got there first and struck a good rapoir.

I was the first to check it out and i honestly told him he could probably get more than his asking price; but he appreciated my sincerity and saw that my hear was set. All around great guy; he said he'd be opening to buying to back from me at the end of the summer if i didn't drive it back to Canada.

(I'm in the Bay-Area for an internship. I was thinking about driving down my '91 900 before my mechanic vetoed me. I've been renting for two weeks and came to the conclusion i could save money by just buying a used car for the summer)

Anyways the body and interior is immaculate shape (minus headliner), going to have the engine inspected but it looks well maintained but high-milleage (185k miles). I have all the documentation from the first two owners, but last major owner did a lot of maintainence himself. The seller was under the impression the engine and tranny were redone by his client within the last 60k miles but didn't know for sure (x-fingers). The only major work that i could immediately tell needs to be done is a new suspension (shocks at least).

Regarding the covt. I think what really changed my opinion was the work necessary to figure out what salvaged her, and then the small tear in the rag-top. I'm still convinced the seller was sincere because he was prepared to help me with the investigation, even lent me the car for a day. I typed in the wrong price he's actually asking $3200 and it has 121k miles. If anybody interested in following up on it msg me its in Sunnyvale CA.
 

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:cheesy: Hi, I'm glad you got the SPG! Don't let the miles scare you, the one you bought would be easy to sell and I like the price.And the clear title. Congradulations.;) Pat
 
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