This is a rally-prepared Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850, a rare homologation special built by the Swedish automaker as an homage to Erik Carlsson and his wins in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1962 and 1963.
The Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 is an unusual machine, it’s powered by a two-stroke, inline-three cylinder engine with a displacement of 841cc and an output of 57 bhp. This may not sound like much but the car itself weighed only about 873 kgs or 1,925 lbs.
Fast Facts – The Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850
- The Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 was based on the Saab 96, one of the most important cars in the history of the Swedish automaker. It remained in production from 1960 to 1980 and helped establish the marque’s reputation.
- Thank to drivers like Erik Carlsson, Pat Moss, Per Eklund, Stig Blomqvist, and Arne Hertz the Saab 96 soon began winning rallies at the international level, including the Monte Carlo Rally in ’62 and ’63.
- When it was first introduced the Saab 96 was powered by an inline-three cylinder, two-stroke engine sending power the front wheels via a three-speed transmission.
- The Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 was a special edition version with an uprated engine producing more power that was made to celebrate rally wins by the likes of Erik Carlsson and Pat Moss. Interestingly the two of them would later get married, have a child, and spend the rest of their lives together.
The Saab 96
The Saab 96 was developed as the successor to the earlier Saab 93, it had more storage space and was designed to be a more practical vehicle for daily use. Like its predecessor it was powered by a two-stroke engine, though this would be phased out in 1967 when a new model powered by the four-stroke Ford V4 engine was unveiled.
The Saab 96 has a steel unibody shell with a front-mounted engine that drives the front wheels, initially through a three-speed transmission however this was later upgraded to a four-speed.
The engines used in the 96 varied over time, the car was introduced with the 841cc version of the inline-three two-stroke engine making 38 bhp. This was then upgraded to 52 bhp as an option thanks to triple carburetors and oil injection.
In the mid-1960s some engineers at Saab began to realize they needed a four-stroke engine and so experiments were performed on a few suitable engines – the Volvo B18, the Ford V4, the Lancia V4, the Triumph 1300 and a number of others.
Though the Volvo was deemed the most reliable the Ford Taunus V4 was more compact and would fit into the Saab 96 engine bay with no modifications needed to the inner bodywork. As a result, the Ford engine was chosen and it would power the 96 for the rest of its production run in various configurations.
The 96 would prove successful in the world of rally, thanks in no small part to its small size, low weight, and front wheel drive system, winning a slew of major events including the Monte Carlo Rally and the International Swedish Rally.
The Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 Shown Here
The vehicle you see here is a Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850, one of the most desirable variants of the 96 thanks to its power upgrade and trim improvements.
The 841cc inline-three was upgraded with triple carburetors, an oil injection system, a modified cylinder head and filled crankshaft counterweights resulting in a power increase from 38 bhp to 57 bhp.
The Monte Carlo version of the 96 is recognizable thanks to its Monte Carlo specific badging, unique front seats and the rear bench seat, unique door cards, dual chrome strips running down the side of the body and of course the rally-ready wood trimmed steering wheel.
The example you see here was modified ready to enter the British Historic Rally Championship however these racing plans never came to fruition and the car has remained in race-prepared condition for over 20 years.
It now requires a recommissioning before any driving or racing is attempted, but it does appear to be an excellent example of a historic rally car that is already fitted with the required modern safety equipment.
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here on Collecting Cars. It’s being offered out of the United Kingdom.
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars
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