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Saab: a small TG.com tribute

  1. It may have spent the last decade churning out rebadged Vauxhalls but, like your decrepit spaniel who spent its final few years limping and smelling odd, let’s not remember the bad times.

    Instead, let’s remember stuff like the 900 Turbo - replete with cheeky upright windscreen and tombstone seats - and its awesome 96 rally car and its 9-3 Viggen. The latter a clear winner in the entirely fictitious Unhinged Hot Hatch-Saloon Thing segment.

    Most of all, let’s remember Saab - independent, weird little Saab - for its bloody-minded desire to be wilfully different, often, seemingly, for the sheer sake of it: sticking with two-stroke engines when the rest of the world had gone four-stroke, pioneering safety and turbocharging technology, daft lights, freewheeling clutches, even inventing the 4x4 system in the new Fiat Panda…

    Click on for more reasons why you’ll be missed, Saab.

  2. Rally drivers loved it. The rest of the world found the high-mounted shifter a bit weird. So, with characteristic obstinateness, Saab hung onto it. Until 1980…

  3. Only suitable for very tiny eggs. But, even in bastardised GM form, still entirely cool. As were the oh-so-breakable pop-out cupholders. Minimalist.

  4. “Hang on, I know it’s round here somewhere. Isn’t it, er… nope, that’s…what do you mean he’s writing us a parking ticket?”

  5. Ooh, it’s like sitting in the cockpit of a jet fighter. Only slower, and with more Ikea catalogues scattered over the rear seats.

  6. Sticking these dead-cool light clusters on the 9-3 X was one of the very, very few things that GM did right. Along with, um… that thing with… no, it’s gone.

  7. The 96 was cool enough to appear on some high-value Swedish stamps. No, really…

  8. The 92 was an early pioneer of streamlining. This thing’s actually slipperier than a Ferrari F40. We would like one please.

  9. OK, so most concepts are pretty redonculous, but the 2006 Aero X is utterly, utterly knee-weakening. It ran on pure ethanol and made 400bhp via a twin-charged V6.

  10. Admitedly, Saab shut down its competition department in 1980. But it left with some fond memories. Like Stig Blomqvist rattling second place out of a 96 in a local rally during the winter of 1964 - the same year he passed his driving test.

  11. Saab also built civilian aircraft and big, scary military planes. The Viggen jet: like its namesake - prone to vigorous torque steer.

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