1940s / Saab / Swedish

Auction watch: 1949 Saab 49 pre-production prototype

One of the very first cars built by Saab is scheduled to cross the auction block in France this Sunday. Auction house Bonhams is offering one of the 20 pre-production prototypes assembled before Saab began series production of the 92.

The 92 De Luxe up for grabs in just a few short days wears chassis number 92009, which makes it the ninth prototype built, and it’s one of just three survivors. The very first example currently resides in Saab’s official museum in Trollhättan, Sweden, while car number four is in the hands of a private collector. The 17 remaining prototypes were destroyed by the factory long ago.

Bonhams explains chassis number 009 was first registered to Saab on July 19th, 1949, and sold to Olaf Öhlander, one of the company’s engineers, in November of 1953. During his ownership, the car was retrofitted with an opening trunk lid and repainted light gray. It was green when it rolled off the assembly line, and the auction description notes the original color is still visible in a handful of places.

It later went through no less than four owners scattered across Sweden, and ultimately ended up in the hands of a farmer named Torsten Johansson in 1980. He drove the 92 sporadically until he stuffed it in a barn in 1980, and it didn’t see daylight again until the current owner purchased it in 1997. The car has been maintained throughout its life, and it had some bodywork performed on the front fenders, but it has never been fully restored. It runs, drives, and it comes with a Swedish registration.

This 1949 Saab 92 De Luxe will cross the auction block at Bonhams’ Chantilly, France, sale on September 10th. It’s expected to sell for anywhere between 15,000 and 25,000 euros, which seems like a steal for such a rare part of Saab’s history.

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