Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saab's Future May Look to the Past

The once and future Saab 9-3 five door?

C H O P S — With Saab's sale to Spyker just about complete (and in the news so often), future plans have been bandied about in the press. Most reports suggest that besides the ready-to-roll 9-5 and 9-4, Spyker will replace the 9-3 at its earliest convenience. The clean-sheet design might include 3 and 5 door versions, historically the most significant of all 99/900/9-3 models. The chop above shows the current 9-3 as it would look as a 5 door. Isn't it a natural? Long after I chopped this 5 door, I almost deleted it from my Photobucket chop gallery, mistaking it for a misfiled original photo! Click all photos to enlarge.

Another rumor mentions the on-again off-again subcompact 9-1, with lines evocative of the original highly aerodynamic 92 models. Though only offered as a teardrop-shaped coupe, the original 2 stroke chopped into quite a striking roadster (above), especially with it's polished, cast aluminum windshield surround/A pillar, more than fifty years before Rolls-Royce would offer one! : )  

C O L O R I Z A T I O N — One of the original 92 coupes showing off it's front suicide doors. This was originally a black-and-white press photo. When I found it online, it struck me as such a surreal Scandinavian setting I had to save it. I boldly colorized it, lending it an even more Die Valkyrie-Meets-Sunset Strip look. The car itself wasn't chopped at all. For a 60+ year old design, I'd drive one today. I bet some people would find it futuristic still. The aero body is said to have had a coefficient of drag of just .30, very good for the '80s, let alone the late '40s. (stat according to Wiki:


  1. I was talking Saabs with a bunch of friends who are Saab freaks (anything from 95s to 9-5s) here in Edinburgh and we thought that the new company should concentrate on just one model, but with a choice of bodies - 3-door, 5-door, estate, and it should be utterly distinctive without being deliberately wacky (see the new Citroen DS3 for a lesson in how to try a little too hard). Plenty of older Saab touches would be worth reviving though - how about a three-door estate with a split tailgate and extra rear seats folding out of the floor, like a 95? A seriously interesting powerplant should be at the heart of it - something really original like an adiabatic, two-stroke, three-cylinder turbo with a exhaust scrubber to capture the nasty oxides of nitrogen. Or a multifuel four-stroke with variable compression ratio and a separate hydrogen fuel cell powering the rear wheels. How much R&D money is there, I wonder...?

  2. Hi Nigel, welcome! your comments are really appreciated!

    "Intelligent Wackiness" is a concept i could get behind for future Saabs. I wonder if the euro 95s and 96s of the '60s and '70s had those small triangles of clear plastic in the corners of the door windows? I think it helped them seal better, not sure. Love those early Saabs.

    fuel cell powering the rear wheels. yes!