Saab 900 classic History

The Saab 900 was a model that spanned the entire 80's. This swedish car was popular with drivers who enjoyed the uniqueness of its shapes, comfort, safety, practicalit and highway driving manners. The Saab 900 contained a number of unusual design features that distinguish it from most other cars.
Saab 900i photo by Xavier Lorente-Darracq
Saab 900i hatchback (combi-coupé) - 1989
Photo shot at the Château of Abbadia (France)
The Saab 900 "Classic" : The Saab 900 was a model that spanned the entire 1980s, being in production for some fifteen years. Saab 900’s original charisma remained to be popular and was even made more so because "Classic" Saab 900 vehicles are regarded as one that qualified in the lineup of vehicles that are meticulously fortified to belong with the collectibles teeming with essential rich characteristics. The Saab 900 was of the most loved vehicles of the past decades, bringing the car into the prestigious line of classics is justification enough to make the significant contribution these vehicles have made a resident fact in the automotive industry.

During the late seventies safety standards became the focal point of the Saab/Scania Company and led to the introduction of the Saab 900. During 1979 Saab introduced a new car to their line up.
Loosely based on the Saab 99, the Saab 900 was a major advance in Saabs car design methods. The car was introduced to compensate for new crash test regulations being introduced in the US. Although the Saab 99 could have been made to pass this test with modifications, the Swedish automaker felt it was a more prudent idea to bring out a new evolution of the car.

The introduction of the Saab 900 marked the culmination of the most ambitious development ever undertaken by the Swedish automaker. Starting with the tough objective of building a new, larger Saab with good performance and even better handling, roadholding, comfort and safety levels than the 99, Saab designers and engineers spent untold manhours from concept to finished product in developing the new car. Testing of the new model has been conducted for several years, in the bitter cold of Scandinavia and the heat of California's Death Valley.

Birth of a Legend 1978 : The new Saab 900 was revealed in May 1978 and in production and on sale by the Autumn as the 1979 model year. The model was based on the Saab 99 chassis but had a longer front end to meet U.S frontal crash regulations. The Saab 900 took many of the best features of its predecesor - such as the general styling and engine range - and used these to create their new car.
Being a small car factory, Saab/Scania kept the basic undercarriage fairly unchanged until 1993. The Classic Saab 900 remains to this day a very popular car with many many thousands having been sold around the world. The classic Saab 900 was sold in many variations, including 3 (combi coupé configuration) and 5 door hatchbacks, 2 and 4 door saloons, convertible and of course with a Turbo charger as well as normally aspirated.

Xavier Lorente-Darracq's Saab 900s photo
Saab 900i Classic combi-coupé - 1989 - Shark looking
Photo shot at the Château d'Abbadia (Hendaye-France)
The Saab 900 styling : Viewed from the outside, the lower and longer front section is the first striking indication that the Saab 900 was a new car. The vehicule was 8.4 inches longer than the Saab 99 and boasted a complete redesign from the front seats forward. The entirely new body was designed by chief designer Björn Envall from Trollhättan design department.

Stylistically, the Saab 900 utilized a deeply curved front windshield, calling attention to the marque's aircraft legacy and being far more steep that most cars on the road at the time. The hatchback, or "combi coupé" cars were exceptionally spacious. Also underscoring their aircraft lineage, the Saab 900's dashboard was curved to enable easy reach of all controls and featured gauges lit up from the front.

Saab engineers placed all controls and gauges in the dashboard according to their frequency of use and/or importance so that the driver need divert his gaze from the road for the shortest possible time and by the smallest angle. This is why the oft-used radio is placed so high in the dashboard. The steering column was telescopically collapsible with deformable steel bellows. In the event of a collision, the steering wheel is drawn away from the driver to minimise the risk of chest and head injuries.

For comfort a new heating and ventilation system and, another Saab industry first, a pollen filter to protect the occupants. All models of the Saab 900 were equipped with a low front spoiler made of resilient thermoplastic rubber. The same material was also used as the casing for the famous Saab energy absorbing bumpers. The cellular plastic elements within the bumpers were about 20 percent larger and deeper and have a patented partition designed to raise the bumper's buckling limit.
For performance the Saab 900 was a three or five door hatchback (combi coupé) in the following specifications: GL with 100hp single carb engine, GLS with 108hp twin-carb set up, the fuel injected EMS delivering 118hp same as the GLE and the flagship Saab 900 Turbo with 145hp turbocharged two-litre in-line slant four.


Birth of a Legend - 1978/1979
From 1980 up to 1986
From 1987 up to 1991
From 1992 up to 1994
Unique Saab Prototype
de 1978 à 1994 (en Français)
Bjorn Envall Biography
de 1983 à 1994 (en Français)
Deuxième partie (en Français)

Most informations regarding the Saab 900 Classic
were obtained from Saab Museum website :

Additional infos from websites : &

©2007 by XAVIER LORENTE-DARRACQ / GRAPHIK DESIGNS - FRANCE duplication strictly prohibited