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1991 Proton Saga 1.3S
Reason why I bought this car
- Pardon my French, but bloody hell the car was in pristine condition
- It is a historical icon for us Malaysians
- It would be a beautiful addition to my car collection
- Cars that are in this condition are extremely rare
Car selection process
- I had a budget of RM5,000
- I was looking for a Saga Sedan or Aeroback as it was a car my family had while I was growing up
First of all, I‘m the type of person who likes to stand out from the crowd. I like owning a car which is rare and meaningful, hence the start of my journey to find a 1st Generation Saga which was in decent enough condition to own and maintain. I personally own a Saga LMST 2007 which was inherited from my father since 2015, therefore I am very familiar with the old Proton Sagas which are using the Mitsubishi-sourced 4G13/4G15 engines. This is a car which is extremely reliable for daily use, and if something does break, there is an abundance of cheap spare parts to fix the issue.
In the process of looking for a Saga, I met up with many Proton Saga and Iswara Owners for car viewings but many of the cars I viewed were not in good condition, and many original parts were swapped out to be replaced with aftermarket parts. One day I was scrolling through Mudah when I saw this Proton Saga being listed for sale at only RM 3,000! I immediately sent the owner a text message and arranged a meeting to view the car.
The car was owned by an Elderly Gentleman who bought it as a family car, as he was in his Golden Years he found it hard to drive a manual car which had no power steering hence his intention to sell the car. Everything on the car was stock-standard and I couldn’t believe my eyes how good the condition was, even the paint was original and in great condition with the exception of the “cancer rust” which was prevalent on the old Proton/Mitsubishi cars in the 90’s. The owner said that he was approached by many used-car dealers but he was not interested as he was looking for an owner that would take care of the car like how he did in the past.
Long story short, we shook hands on RM2,800 and hence I am now proud to own one of the few pristine 1st Generation Proton Sagas on the road.
- I have already done 5000km
This is a car that is made to accomodate the everyday Malaysian driver. The Proton Saga’s 1.3L Mitsubishi Sourced 4G13 Carburetted Engine and the 5 speed manual gearbox is practically bulletproof, having been tried and tested in the worst conditions by taxi drivers in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The car was not made for straight-line performance nor was it made to handle the twisty bends, but it was damn well made for going to hell and back with minimal repairs.
Many people are terrified of driving a manual car in Kuala Lumpur’s traffic, but the Saga had a very soft clutch as it did not need a stiff clutch pressure plate to accommodate its small engine. I am still able to daily the car through KL’s traffic jams without feeling like my left foot has been cut off. I have also modified a power steering unit into my Proton Saga, making it easy to manoeuvre in tight parking spaces.
If you ask my honest opinion, this is a great first car for any enthusiast as you are able to learn the bare basics about how mechanical parts in a car function. There is no Electronic Fuel Injection system, there is no ECU, there is no ABS system or sophisticated traction control system, everything in this car is mechanical, and you are able to get an engaging driver’s experience where you are in full control of the throttle, brakes and steering.
Last but not least, did I mention the Aircon? Old Protons are the undisputed king of “Aircond Sejuk Beku”. With some proper heat-resistant tinting on the windows, the car can be as cold as a fridge on the inside, even under the hot afternoon sun.
Rare and stands out from the crowd
Cheap to maintain
Abundant spare parts
Handles like a boat
Underpowered compared to Modern cars
No driver assists and lack safety features
The Proton Saga is a fantastic car for the everyday Malaysian, but modern technology and innovation is slowly taking over as the new norm. People are now opting for cars which are more well-equipped. However, I am proud to be the owner of a historical icon, and I would gladly continue to keep this car running for the years to come.
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