Junkyard Find: 1996 Saturn SW1 Wagon with Manual Transmission

<img data-attachment-id="1742390" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/45-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/45-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604311123","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"50","shutter_speed":"0.0011834319526627","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-10.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742390" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-9.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-10.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-11.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-12.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-13.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">
We’ve had back-to-back oddball three-pedal cars in this series (a Suzuki Forenza and non-SHO Taurus), so let’s make it three weeks in a row with today’s Junkyard Find! Saturn S Series cars were always cheaper with manual transmissions, but nearly every Saturn wagon shopper insisted on an automatic. I knew I’d find a manual Saturn SW if I kept searching junkyards, though, and here it is: a low-end ’96 with single-cam engine, Ignore Me Silver paint, and a 5-on-the-floor manual.

<img data-attachment-id="1742378" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/30-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/30-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604311071","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"100","shutter_speed":"0.01","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, engine" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, engine – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-15.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-1.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742378" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-1.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-1.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-14.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-15.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-16.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-17.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-18.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">The 1996 SW2 came with a 124-horsepower twin-cam engine, better tires and suspension, plus a bunch of appearance and comfort items. The SW1 got this 100-horsepower single-cam engine.

<img data-attachment-id="1742374" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/27-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/27-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604311030","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"64","shutter_speed":"0.01","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-20.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-2.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742374" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-2.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-2.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-19.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-20.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-21.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-22.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-23.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">The base manual transmission made every Saturn model significantly cheaper in 1996; MSRP for a 5-speed SW1 was $11,995, with the price going up to $12,825 if you insisted on the four-speed automatic (that’s about $20,230 and $21,630 in 2020 dollars, respectively).

<img data-attachment-id="1742366" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/14-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/14-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604310919","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"320","shutter_speed":"0.016666666666667","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-25.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-3.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742366" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-3.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, gearshift lever - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-3.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-24.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-25.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-26.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-27.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-28.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">So, the original purchaser of this car saved $830 by getting a manual transmission … then turned around and spent $920 on air conditioning. We’ll never know if that person just preferred to drive a three-pedal wagon or just preferred refrigerated air to an automatic and could afford just one of the two.

It turns out that a Saturn SC/SL/SW with the DOHC engine and manual transmission can get around a road course very, very quickly in the hands of a good driver, and so we see plenty of these machines in 24 Hours of Lemons. I’d say that an SC2 will beat a same-year Integra, given equal driver skill and the same tires. The SL sedan weighs about 60 pounds more than the SC coupe, and the wagon scales in at 220 additional pounds, so I had to dig through a lot of race photos to find a shot of a sedan on a track (sorry, wagon fiends, I have no photos of Saturn SWs on a track).

<img data-attachment-id="1742376" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/28-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/28-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604311037","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"64","shutter_speed":"0.02","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, door panel" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, door panel – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-36.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-5.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742376" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-5.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, door panel - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-5.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-35.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-36.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-37.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-38.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-39.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">Strangely, this car has the $350 power-locks option but not power windows. The ’96 SW had a $1,940 option package that included A/C, power locks/windows, cruise control, and a few other goodies.

<img data-attachment-id="1742368" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/18-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/18-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604310933","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"320","shutter_speed":"0.1","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, odometer" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, odometer – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-41.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-6.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742368" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-6.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, odometer - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-6.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-40.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-41.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-42.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-43.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-44.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">It made it just a bit past the 175k-mile mark before being forcibly retired from service.

<img data-attachment-id="1742358" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/02-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/02-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604310871","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"50","shutter_speed":"0.00043802014892685","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, CSP red tag" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, CSP red tag – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-46.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-7.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742358" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-7.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, CSP red tag - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-7.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-45.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-46.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-47.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-48.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-49.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">When your car craps out on a Colorado highway and gets left on the shoulder, the CSP will throw one of these red tags on it a couple days prior to towing. During hot summer days, you’ll see plenty of these red tags fluttering on abandoned vehicles on the uphill sides of steep mountain grades; some of those 10,000-plus-foot passes here are real hooptie-killers.

<img data-attachment-id="1742372" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-station-wagon-with-manual-transmission/24-1996-saturn-sw1-in-colorado-junkyard-photo-by-murilee-martin/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/24-1996-Saturn-SW1-in-Colorado-Junkyard-photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg" data-orig-size="3000,1688" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"SM-G960U1","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1604310964","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.3","iso":"50","shutter_speed":"0.00072463768115942","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, windshield" data-image-description="

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, windshield – ©2020 Murilee Martin – The Truth About Cars

" data-medium-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-51.jpg" data-large-file="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-8.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1742372" src="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-8.jpg" alt="1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, windshield - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars" width="610" height="343" srcset="https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-8.jpg 610w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-50.jpg 75w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-51.jpg 450w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-52.jpg 768w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-53.jpg 120w, https://carsnspeed.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/junkyard-find-1996-saturn-sw1-wagon-with-manual-transmission-54.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">This car still has the CSP impound yard’s paint-pen lettering from September. The fines and fees to recover it would have been far greater than the value of a 24-year-old Saturn, and no used-car lot can move a high-mile Detroit econo-wagon with three pedals these days. Next stop: junkyard!

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People are always lookin’ at this car (when it’s driven by a scary clown and packed full of scary stuffed animals).

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You could lease a new Saturn for just 24,000 yen!

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I think the Japanese-market Saturns sold about as well as the Toyota Cavalier.

For links to more than 2,000 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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