Saab at one point was the world leader in producing cars for architects and enthusiasts of turtle neck sweaters...
They were the off beat, cool alternative to the traditional German saloon and could be found in business parks around the world. Saab made some brilliant cars over the years but that all came to an end in 2012 as the company stopped production for good. Read on to find out more about Sweden's coolest export.
Saab originally started life as an aerospace company and were responsible for creating fighter planes to for the Swedish air force during the second world war. To quote my new favourite Wikipedia sentence ever, when the war came to an end Saab diligently noticed that 'the market for fighter planes seemed to weaken'. This meant that they had a big factory and a mighty workforce but nothing to produce.
So, what did they do? that's right, they started making cars.
Before they collapsed, thanks in part to GM stopping a deal with new Chinese partners, Saab managed to deliver an interesting catalogue of cars. Here's five of the most interesting.
The Saab-aru (9-2X)
Ok so we're going to start with a car we've mentioned before. The Saab 9-2x or, as its more commonly known - The Saabaru. This car was a cross project between Subaru and Saab which saw the car built and assembled in japan on the Impreza platform before being given Saab styling and some better acoustic insulation. The car was offered in aero trim with the same turbocharged 2 litre engine as the Subaru WRX. The car was only made from 2005 -2006 so is fairly difficult to get hold of now.
The Sonett series
The original Sonett was designed as a purpose built race car, however regulation changes meant that the project was no longer viable. The second generation Sonett was a spiritual successor to the first and was designed as a sports car for the road. By the time the Sonett 3 came around in 1970 the car was using a ford derived V4 engine and had completely redesigned bodywork.
The 99 turbo
The car that arguably made Saab cool, the 99 had been around for quite some time already when they decided to turbocharge it but lets all be thankful that they did. The Saab 99 was one of the earliest cars to use turbocharger technology on the road and in an age where fuel prices were soaring, it was bang on time.
The Saab(?) 600
Another rebadged car on the list, this car was actually a rebadged Lancia Delta. The car itself was a bit of a let down compared to the Delta and came with a less powerful engine but the fact that it exists is kind of cool. This is more of a point of interest than a trophy piece for the Swedish brand.
The Aero X
While it never saw life a a production car, the Aero X may well be the coolest car Saab ever made. It looked like an accident between a Chrysler crossfire and a Bugatti Veyron but somehow, some way, Saab pulled it off. The highlight? the doors and roof that seem to hover above the rest of the vehicle when opened.
Where are they now?
Aside from a brief revival attempt that spawned a few more 9-3 Aero models in 2013-2014, Saab have been out of the car game for nearly a decade now. While they're still a big name in the defence industry and offer a great selection of parts, there's no sign of them returning to the showrooms any time soon. You can always find a great one on the used car market though, and we can help.