Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 21:21:52 +0000
From: C Sutherland <>
Subject: Re: GM plans Saab Restructuring

In article <ThsE9.3820$>, pablo <> writes > >I haven't necessarily taken issue - I have just pointed out no one has >actually made a case stating what exactly is wrong with the Opel chassis, >other than its Opel origins. Granted several traditional Opel chassis are >not reputed for brilliant handling, but that is not necessarily due to a >fundamental flaw, but maybe just due to some engineering compromises (tuned >for comfort etc). I am not stating that is the case, but no one has actually >has said *why* the Opel chassis is bad. Ok. I don't think anyone has said the Opel chassis is fundamentally bad (and I accept that the new Epsilon platform is getting great reviews) but the Ng900/9-3 has never been the kind of chassis that we have enjoyed on the c900. The UK market car that GM built on that chassis was the Cavalier which sold in huge numbers but never, ever for the sheer pleasure of driving it. It had soft poorly controlled handling and Saab never seemed able to transform it completely. I'm not a chassis engineer but front double wishbones on the c900 are also found on F1 cars - not McPherson struts. If you look at a NG900 on a ramp the back suspension assembly is a puny looking affair. Although it is quiet and comfortable the NG just doesn't point with precision and give you the feel on the road that the c900 did. Here's what some experts have to say - Abbott Racing who tune and race Saabs in the UK. Sure they have a vested interest in selling their stuff but when it comes to c900 turbos they don't have suspension bits other than uprated shocks and stiffer springs for those who don't already have them. quote on the NG900: "A rush job following the SAAB/GM Merger, the new 900 was a comfortable and well equipped replacement for the outgoing classic 900. Indifferent steering and road holding resulted in press criticism, but the car broadened SAABs appeal in the mass market and as a result the model sold well, particularly in convertible form - being given the title "best selling convertible of the year" three years running in the United Kingdom. All 900 models can be transformed by our spring and damper combination, Track control arm bushes and Steering rack clamp. All these items are a must, to sharpen the handling and steering to the standard that most customers demand and expect of a SAAB. and on the 9-3: ".......Unfortunately while the 900 was maturing into the 9-3, the automotive world had moved on. Despite the detail changes, the 9-3 in standard form is still not truly a drivers car, with better, but still indifferent steering response and less than inspiring road holding. Whilst the 9-3 is superior in most respects to the 900 model it replaced, it is still not a true match for the 9000 models........" it must be said that their comments on the 9-5 are a lot less critical. I remain a Saab owner so as well as whatever brand snobbishness encouraged me to buy a 9-3, there was a bit of brand loyalty in there also. > The chassis works quite well in Viggen setting - no one has ever >accused that car of being a poor handler that I know of. The Viggen was a very intensive project to remove as many limitation as possible from a mundane chassis to produce a really high performance car. It took Saab's special vehicle unit and TWR to develop it. It is entirely illogical to conclude that just because, with the benefit of a large investment of time and resources something reasonable was evolved from it ,that the original platform was therefore technically good. Abbott racing give a good account of the Viggen development story on their informative website: <> > >I am just curious as to why the Opel frame is perceived here as inferior. I >did a google search and didn't find much. There might be very valid >technical reasons I may not know, or it might be brand snobbism... -- C Sutherland

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