“Project Laura” – SAAB 96 Restoration by the RMSC

Posted on 17. Mar, 2007 by in 1970-1979, 2000-2009, 96, Saab Clubs, United States

The Rocky Mountain Saab Club of Colorado initiated a club restoration project on a 1970 SAAB 96 V4 in 2002 known as “Project Laura”.

Here is a writeup as well as a wonderful video on this project from the folks at the Rocky Mountain Saab Club, that are hosting the 2009 Saab Owners Convention by the way. Thank you tremendously for your effort and contribution to the Saab community!


Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Saab Club

“Laura” is a blue, 1970 Model 96 Saab, with the standard V4 engine. Donated to the club in January of 2002, the car was initially very solid but in definite need of restoration, or at least refurbishing. In the 3-year period from 2002 through 2004 dozens of work parties totaled more than 1000 hours of club member labor. The effort, RMSC’s third major car project, culminated in tying for Best of Show at SOC04 in Crystal Mountain, WA.

Laura, the name of the vehicle donor’s girlfriend, also became the chosen designation for the project. The couple used the vintage Saab as a daily driver in the Seattle area and always worked on the car
together. Tragically, Laura’s life was cut short in a traffic accident while in another vehicle. Her boyfriend soon moved to Boulder, CO bringing along the Saab 96 in hopes of one day restoring the car to pristine condition. Yet, the memories evoked by the old blue Saab, of Laura driving it, proved altogether too painful. Eventually he realized he had to let it go.

After showing Laura at SOC04, the club allowed each member who worked on her to take her home and drive her for a week. Following a suitable period of time the RMSC Board of Directors elected to put Laura up for sale; she was purchased in 2005 by board member Tom Nelson who couldn’t stand the thought of her leaving Colorado.

RMSC members agree that our project objectives should be: to learn helpful restoration processes, get better acquainted with vintage Saabs, have some fun, and find the great satisfaction of saving a
vintage car from the crusher. In addition it will be a chance for hands-on driving and shop experience with a vintage Saab for members that might never have the opportunity of personally owning one. Members are currently working on Project RedBull, a Red 1961 Bullnose that hopefully will provide even more learning opportunities for our group as well as a chance to bond with fellow RMSC members in the process.

Perhaps, with the passage of time and the sight of Laura’s favorite blue Saab in tip-top shape, our project can somehow aid in the healing of one man’s loss.

Enjoy this video, produced and provided by Tom Nelson of the RMSC, that chops down the 1000+ club hours spent, into a well put together 30-minute piece covering the entire restoration/refurbishment process of “Project Laura”.

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9 Responses to ““Project Laura” – SAAB 96 Restoration by the RMSC”

  1. Jim Martin

    23. Mar, 2008


    I have just seen the Rocky Mountain Video…..great stuff, very interesting. Thanks

    Jim Martin, Scotland, UK

    Reply to this comment
  2. Chris Ivory aka Zaphod

    24. Mar, 2008

    Fanastic effort, everyone.

    I have a 1972 96V4, with just 11 (eleven) thousand miles on the clock, having been forgotten in a garage for over 25 years, and has gone through a similar, but less intensive restoration.

    30 minutes of pure viewing joy!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Martti Peräaho

    31. Dec, 2008


    I just watched the video about “Laura”. Great stuff – such dedication is a joy to behold. The video also brought back memories as I owned a blue 1970 V4 myself some ten years back. Unfortuneately it suffered an accident and had to be scrapped. Currently I am painstakingly putting a 1976 model 95 estate back on the road again. Your video provided just the inspiration I needed to proceed. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Tom Nelson

    31. Dec, 2008

    Good to hear that people are still viewing our work…… Project Lisa – ’74 Sonett III …our current RMSC refurbishment project is almost complete, but the video production has not even started….. got lots of footage; just need to get going with the editing.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ryan

    31. Dec, 2008


    As always, we’re looking forward to your next video production!

    You guys really serve as a beacon of light for Saab experience , knowledge and community!


    Reply to this comment
  6. andreas

    27. Jan, 2009

    Super Film über eure Restauration von der Laura.
    Bald wird mein Saab auch wieder so glänzen


    Reply to this comment
  7. Ryan

    29. Jan, 2009

    It seems like the 1970 SAAB 96 V4 was the choice car to restore, in the same color even as done again in Maine!


    Reply to this comment
  8. Bruce Robbins

    09. Nov, 2010

    Absolutely fantastic job guys! I’m another Scottish viewer and this has made me feel like tracking down another old Saab. A 96 was the first car I bought when I passed my test 28 years ago and I can’t believe I scrapped it because I was having trouble with the gearbox linkage!

    It was canary yellow when I bought it but it but I had it resprayed a Vauxhall colour called starmist garnet. This was a metallic reddish-burgundy and was so beautiful that the first guy who saw it after it had come out of the spray shop went and got his car painted the same colour. Or course, being 21 and with a lot to learn, I didn’t think too much about changing the original colour of the car. I wouldn’t make the same mistake again 😉

    Unfortunately, the chances of me finding a 96 restoration project with bodywork as good as yours are about zero. Scottish winters and the amount of salt they put on the road rots everything that isn’t galvanised.

    Since then I’ve had a second 96, a 95 and four 900s including two turbos. I gave up on Saab when they lost that traditional Saab feeling with the mark two 900. It’s maybe heresy but I think that Audi now come closer to that feeling than Saab.

    Reply to this comment


  1. Saab History Project Laura SAAB 96 Restoration by the RMSC | low cost car insurance - June 17, 2009

    […] Saab History Project Laura SAAB 96 Restoration by the RMSC Posted by root 14 minutes ago (http://www.saabhistory.com) Donated to the club in january of 2002 the car was initially very solid but in definite need of restoration or at least refurbishing Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Saab History Project Laura SAAB 96 Restoration by the RMSC […]

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