Saab for 1981



SAAB FOR 1981: 900 Sedan Joins Saab Line -- New Features Include Automatic Turbos; Lighter, Redesigned Engine

A new four-door notchback sedan has joined the Swedish Saab 900 model line-up for 1981, as an addition to the hatchback models which have been Saab standbys for a number of years.

The Saab 900 four-door is available with either the normally aspirated Saab four-cylinder engine; or with the Saab Turbo engine.

The sedan is just one of the many innovations for 1981 -- the most since the Saab 900 was originally introduced in 1979 -- available when the new cars go on sale at Saab dealerships throughout the nation in early November. Other innovations include a radically redesigned and lightened engine; automatic transmission for the Saab Turbo models; larger fuel tank (16.6 gallon capacity); and revised and simplified model designations.

The Saab 900 Sedan, which has the same outside dimensions as the 900 hatchback models, has a slightly curved rear window and a trunk lid that extends right up to the rear window trim. The four-door incorporates Saab's well known fold- down rear seat feature, which allows the rear seat to be folded down to provide a flat floor and thus a luggage/cargo space almost six feet in length.

The interior design is the same as in the comparable three-door models, with a new plush velour upholstery material, softer to the touch and even more durable. For 1981 all Saab cars also have back seat cushions and backrests with five tints as many coil springs as in previous models, which makes the seat thinner and still more comfortable.

Like all Saab cars since the very first one, introduced in Sweden in 1949, the Saab 900 has front wheel drive and safety construction. As in previous years, most models also include as standard automatically electrically heated front seats.

Automatic Saab Turbo For 1981 the Saab Turbo is available with both a manual five-speed transmission and, new for 1981, an automatic transmission. The new, stronger automatic is a further development of the one previously available only on normally aspirated Saabs.

Matching the automatic transmission to the powerful Saab Turbo engine has involved the installation of a new torque converter, raising the reduction ratio of the primary drive, and fitting extra bands and a special shift governor into the transmission.

The five-speed transmission originally introduced in 1980 is now the standard manual transmission on all 1981 Saabs. This gearbox, too, has undergone some modifications, primarily by getting a lower gear ratio in first -- about 6 percent lower than in 1980 -- for more low end traction. New Engine - Designed for Future Demands The Saab two-liter overhead camshaft engine has been in production since 1972, with more than half a million units produced so far. It has been proven as an economical and reliable engine and has been continuously updated throughout the years. A common feature of all versions of this engine has been its low fuel consumption in relation to output.

The engine has also been the basis for developing the Saab Turbo engine, which since its introduction in 1977, has been a forerunner in automotive engine development.

For 1981 the Saab two-liter engine has been further developed to meet both current and future demands on emissions control and fuel economy and to allow more rational production methods.

The result of this work is a radically redesigned powerplant called the Saab HEngine, which is 25 pounds lighter than its predecessor and which has helped to reduce the overall weight of the 1981 Saab car between 45 and 90 pounds, depending upon model variations and equipment, as compared to similar models for 1980.

The lower weight of the Type H engine is primarily due to a number of simplified features. For example, it has been found possible to eliminate the auxiliary drive shaft (idler shaft), which in the past was used to drive distributor, and oil and water pumps. The distributor is now mounted directly on a new cast aluminum camshaft cover and is driven by the camshaft, which has resulted in a very compact arrangement. The water pump is powered by the alternator belt, while the oil pump is driven directly by the crankshaft. The Saab H-Engine has fewer moving parts than the earlier engine, while at the same time, thanks to the redesigned auxiliary components, the engine block itself is appreciably simpler and easier to service.

New Turbocharger and Wastegate The turbocharged engine has been the subject of even further refinements. Besides incorporating all of the modifications done to all 1981 Saab engines, the turbo has a new turbocharger with an integrated wastegate (charging pressure control valve), which is controlled by the pressure in the intake manifold instead of by the pressure in the exhaust manifold as in the past.

In addition, the new turbocharger for 1981 uses a redesigned turbine, which gives better throttle response, especially at low speeds.

The output of the 1981 Saab engines remains the same as in the past: For the normally aspirated Saab, 110 bhp (SAE Net) at 5,250 rpm and 119 ft. lbs. torque at 3,500 rpm; and for the Turbo, 135 bhp (SAE Net) at 4,800 rpm and 160 ft. lbs. torque at 3,500 rpm.

New Model Designations With the introduction of the 1981 Saab line, a new system of model designation has been adopted for the United States market, simplifying the earlier model line-up.

The basic Saab 900 in the 1981 Saab line is designated "Saab 900", and is available as a three-door hatchback with five-speed manual or automatic transmission. The earlier "upscale" normally aspirated EMS and GLE models are replaced by the Saab 9005 models, in three-door hatchback and four-door notchhack configurations, again with five-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Equipment in the Saab 9005 range is approximately the same as in the Saab Turbo versions, featuring such items as: low-profile Michelin TRX tires mounted on special TRX aluminum alloy wheels; sliding steel sunroof; deluxe velour upholstery; rear seat headrests; and gas-filled shock absorbers. Tachometer with clock is now standard equipment on all Saabs sold in the United States, while integrated air conditioning is standard on all 1981 Turbos.

Many Other New Features Other new features on the 1981 Saab 900 models include: -- New front seat belts with plug-in clasps, replacing the earlier locking bar mechanism. -- New four-spoke steering wheel for all models. The energy absorbing properties of the wheel have been improved, and the field of vision over the instruments has become wider. -- Power windows on the front doors are now standard equipment on the four-door Turbo. Window controls are right on the instrument panel. -- New outside rear view mirrors, adjustable from the inside, are fitted on all 1981 Saabs. On the Turbo models the mirrors are electrically controlled from the instrument panel. -- More luggage room is now available in all models, thanks to the relocation of the spare wheel to a space under the trunk floor, together with jack and tools.

New Colors - New Interiors On the outside the 1981 Saabs can be easily distinguished by a new wider side molding, just above the rocker panel, and by a number of new body colors. These include Pine Green and Indigo Blue metallics, Cirrus White, Cameo Beige and Terra Cotta.

Complementing the outside colors are completely new upholstery materials and patterns, featuring a new velour material, which is softer to the touch, yet more durable and resistant to wear.


Return to 1981 Model News Index

The content on this site may not be republished without permission. Copyright © 1988-2020 - The Saab Network - saabnet.com.
For usage guidelines, see the Saabnet.com Mission and Purpose Page.
[Contact | Site Map | Saabnet.com on Facebook | Saabnet.com on Twitter | Shop Amazon via TSN | Site Donations]