Saab 900 – The Quirky Hatchback from Sweden
The iconic Saab 900 was the car that really put the small Swedish automaker on the map in the late 1970s. With its aircraft-inspired engineering, full of innovative features and quirks, the front-wheel-drive 900 became Saab’s most successful model ever. For a generation it defined the unique Saab ethos of fun, forward-thinking and functional vehicles. The 900’s idiosyncratic style and performance made it a hit with enthusiasts seeking an alternative from the mainstream.
The Saab 900’s versatile hatchback bodystyle offered useful cargo flexibility paired with a surprisingly spacious interior for its size. The comfortable, nicely appointed cabin seated four adults with ease. Split-fold rear seats allowed owners to mix passengers and cargo hauling. Clever storage solutions throughout kept the interior organized. Family-friendly roominess and utility made the 900 an everyday companion. Saab had injected Swedish practicality into the hatchback formula.
Advanced Turbocharged Engine
Saab pioneered turbocharging in 1978, becoming one of the first brands to successfully market mass production turbocharged cars. The 900’s 2.0-liter turbo engine generated impressive horsepower from a small displacement without compromising efficiency or reliability. Later intercooled variants upped power to official ratings over 175hp, with real-world outputs substantially higher. This innovative motor provided accessible performance for a mainstream audience.
The 900 encapsulated Saab’s unconventional engineering perspective through clever details. The ignition slot required inserting the key at an angle. The parking brake activated by pulling out rather than up. The wraparound windshield and blacked-out roof pillars enhanced visibility. Inside, the console angled towards the driver. The 900’s ambidextrous features celebrated innovation and championed functionality over conformity. These details charmed buyers seeking something different.
Leading Edge Safety Technology
Saab’s aircraft engineering pedigree informed the 900’s excellent safety credentials. It pursued innovations like side-impact door beams and self-repairing bumpers long before rivals. The 900 achieved exemplary crash test performance for its era. Yet safety additions avoided impacting driving enjoyment. With reassuring crashworthiness paired with Saab’s signature fun-to-drive experience, the 900 delivered a carefully balanced package.
Rally Racing Dominance
The turbocharged 900 proved itself a potent competitor in world rally racing, taking championships in 1979 and 1980. Saab legend Erik Carlsson, nicknamed “Mr. Sideways,” piloted the rally 900 to many victories against established rivals. This success spotlighted Saab’s real-world performance capabilities, backstopped by rally-derived strength and durability. Beyond a road car, the 900 cemented Saab’s reputation for speed and engineering excellence by conquering the world’s toughest rally stages.
An Automotive Individualist Favorite
The 900’s uniqueness and character attracted devoted enthusiasts. Well-maintained examples remain coveted today for preserving Saab’s; quirky engineering spirit. With mainstream brands converging on styling and engineering consensus during the 900’s era, it stood apart. The 900 built the Saab brand awareness that allows its unconventional perspective on automotive innovation to live on in modern vehicles. For drivers seeking an alternative to the ordinary, the Saab 900 endures as a paragon.