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Auction Set for Unique 1997 Saab EX Prototype

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An exclusive prototype of a Saab vehicle, known as the Saab EX, is slated for auction in the near future. The vehicle is due to be auctioned at a Bonhams event on the 8th of October.

Constructed to commemorate Saab’s golden jubilee in 1997, the EX was not assembled in Sweden, Saab’s homeland, but in Oslo, Norway, under the craftsmanship of Per Ekstrøm. It was a joint effort involving the Saab factory and the Norwegian regulatory authorities, thereby ensuring its full compliance with road laws and a driving experience that mirrors that of Saab production models from the same era, as indicated by the auction details.

The EX shares its wheelbase with the Saab 900 of the same time period, and features an exaggerated coupe form with a lowered roofline and extended fenders. The aesthetic design underwent the traditional automaker process of sketching and clay modeling.

Initially starting as a standard Saab 900 body, the vehicle underwent significant alterations. The roof was reduced in height by 2.7 inches, and the rear-window glass was sourced from a 900 convertible to construct the tailgate. The broader wheel arches were taken from a Saab CS 9000, and the entire customization process required an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 labor hours.

Minor design enhancements for the 1997 Saab EX prototype also comprise a repositioned fuel cap and an integrated rearview camera, which was a cutting-edge feature in 1997. This camera is embedded in the tailgate lock mechanism and is interfaced with an Alpine audio system’s control unit.

Engineered for practical driving, the vehicle is equipped with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 220 horsepower. Although the engine itself has covered 95,691 miles, the vehicle’s mileage is significantly lower, according to auction details. For the past five years, the vehicle has been exhibited at Gjestrum Larsen AS, a specialist in Saab vehicles based in Norway.

The prototype, presently situated in Belgium, underwent a technical inspection by the European Union earlier this year, confirming its road-legal status in the majority of European countries, as noted by Bonhams. Additionally, the vehicle is registered with a VIN from a 1987 Saab 9000CC, bestowing upon it the status of an “old-timer” in Europe. Regardless of whether age is determined by the VIN or the year of fabrication, the EX also satisfies the 25-year rule that eliminates several restrictions on importing cars not initially marketed in the United States.

The auction of the Saab EX prototype will occur without a reserve price. It is projected to fetch a hammer price between 60,000 and 90,000 euros, which equates to approximately $63,000 to $95,000 based on current currency conversion rates. This presents a unique opportunity to acquire a distinct piece of automotive history from a manufacturer that is no longer in operation, yet offers a drivable vehicle in certain jurisdictions.

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