Every decade or so, one car comes along that overhauls accepted wisdom. In 1978, the British automotive magazine Autocar wrote, “this car was so unpredictably thrilling that the adrenalin started to course again, even in our hardened arteries.” They had just road tested a Saab 99 Turbo. Saab took all other car manufacturers by surprise when they announced the world’s first turbocharged family car, which promptly went on to be the first “blown” car to win a World Championship rally.
All the best concept cars show themselves at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show, and so it was when Saab presented their brilliant Aero X in 2006. This streamlined coupe was a scene stealer, attracting admiring crowds to the chagrin of Ferrari, whose 599GTB on an adjacent stand had been expected to grab the limelight.
The flagship of the Saab 900 Classic series, the 900 Turbo Classic demonstrated just how effectively Saab shared the automotive and aviation experience within the company. Though it derived, like all 900s, from the Saab 99, the 900 Turbo Classic was a revelation. According to what you wanted it to be, it was a four-star luxury car, a fast and spacious family car, or a sporty executive saloon. Continue reading “Saab 900 Turbo Classic – 1979”
The actual Saab 99 Turbo launch car was an almost iridescent pearl white. It stunned the 1977 Frankfurt Auto Show. The unique body colour dramatized Saab’s revolutionary solution to every auto manufacturer’s problem of maintaining performance in the teeth of increasingly strict emissions controls, in Europe and more importantly, the USA. Continue reading “Saab 99 Turbo – 1977”
Most Brits had only seen pictures of Saab cars (if they were even aware the Scandinavian marque existed) until the unique 96 burst onto the scene in 1960, becoming the first Saab officially exported from Sweden to the United Kingdom. In truth, it did not look very different from its predecessor, the Saab 93, but this distinctive coupe was still a novelty in Britain. By the time the 96 was canned 20 years later, nearly 550,000 would have been built.
For a car powered with a transversely-mounted, water-cooled, thermo-syphon, two-cylinder, two-stroke engine of modest proportions, the Saab 92 was influential beyond any reasonable expectation.