During late 1949, the first Saab car rolled off the assembly line in a factory that had just been converted from aircraft manufacturing to car production. Some 40 years later, Saab's production anniversary is marked by a continued dedication toward safety and engineering innovation. This consistency in design philosophy had led to the Swedish products being recognized as "the most intelligent cars ever built."
The first Saab production model, the 92, was one of the most advanced cars of its period, thanks to its revolutionary aerodynamic shape. (The Chief engineer had previously designed wings for Saab's military aircraft.) Another technical advance that was rare for that time was the car's front-wheel-drive.
During the 40 years that have passed, every car produced by Saab has incorporated front-wheel-drive, a feature that provides excellent traction under the vast majority of driving conditions, and in addition, allows for optimum space utilization, thereby increasing passenger comfort and carrying capacity.
Front-wheel-drive and aerodynamic styling were two important innovations on the very first Saab, and such attention to detail launched Saab on a continuous path as an automotive engineering trendsetter -- a direction that has been continued with the 1990 Saab cars that will be available at some 360 Saab dealerships throughout the United States on November 1.
The list of Saab innovations that have been widely adapted within the automotive industry is a long one. A few examples are the dual diagonal braking system (in 1963) that allows a car to stop safely_even if one brake circuit is out of commission; impact absorbing bumpers (in 1971), now required on all cars sold in the United States; headlight wipers and washers (in 1972), now required on all cars sold in the Nordic countries -- and for 1990, also incorporated on the Saab 9000 CD and 9000S four-door models; and the first civilized turbocharged engine (in 1977) powering a production sedan. (Saab is now into its fourth generation of turbocharged engines, and turbocharging has been offered by practically every one of the world's automakers.)
For 1990, Saab continues its string of innovations with its own patented Saab Direct Ignition (DI) System, a compact system with individual ignition coils for each spark plug, and no distributor or high-tension wires -- allowing for very smooth running and enhanced reliability. Every Saab 9000 Turbo for 1990 features the Saab Direct Ignition System.
Other major new features for l990 from the Swedish manufacturer renowned for its ability to provide cars which are safe, practical and fun to drive include anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes (ABS) as standard equipment on all 900 and 9000 models. In combination with standard ABS, a driver's side air bag tSupplementary Restraint System) is also standard equipment on all 900 and 9000 models. With such attention to active and passive safety throughout the entire Saab product line, the world's most intelligent cars will be offering even smarter technology for 1990. In a further refinement of its turbocharged engine, a more responsive turbocharger is also fitted on 9000 Turbo models.
For l990, there are four models in the 9000 series: The luxury 9000 CD Turbo four-door sedan, the 9000 Turbo five-door hatchback, 9000S four-door sedan and 9000S five-door hatchback. All feature air conditioning, central locking, cruise control and electronically-tuned stereo radio cassette systems as standard equipment.
All 1990 9000s are powered by a transversely mounted 16- valve, double overhead camshaft, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, which is naturally-aspirated in 9000S models, turbocharged in the others. In addition, all models in the 9000 series are available with either five-speed manual or four-speed overdrive automatic transaxles.
There are eight models in Saabrs 900 series: The high- performance SPG, 900 Turbo Convertible, 900 Turbo three-door, 900 Turbo four-door, 900S three-door, 900S four-door and the price/value leader: the 900 three-door and 900 four-door. All models in the series have air conditioning, central locking, electronically-tuned cassette stereo radios with anti-theft circuitry and fold-down rear seats as standard equipment.
The engine in all 900 models is a longitudinally mounted (flywheel forward) 16-valve, double overhead camshaft, 2.0- liter, four-cylinder. In 900 and 900S models it is naturally- aspirated, in all others it is turbocharged. In addition, all 900s -- with the exception of the SPG -- are available with either a five-speed manual or an optional three-speed automatic transmission.