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Good news from the world of Saab: the Swedish manufacturer, now owned by Spyker, has recruited Jason Castriota to head up its design team.

Castriota is best known for creating James Glickenhaus’s amazing Pininfarina P4/5 (pictured above), the Enzo-based, bubble-roofed retro supercar that still stands as one of TopGear’s favourite designs of the last decade.

In seven years with Pininfarina, Castriota also had a hand in the Ferrari 599 GTB and Maserati GranTurismo, before leaving for Bertone in 2008. Last year, he revealed the mad Mantide one-off hypercar before setting up his own design studio.

Working for Saab, Castriota’s first job will be to pen the new 9-3, due to launch in 2012. Talking to Bloomberg, Castriota said the design will focus on aerodynamics.

“It’s absolutely vital we get this car right,” said the New Yorker. “This is Saab returning to its roots, not having to worry about being part of a much larger machine that they were before in the GM organisation.”

It’s reported that Castriota will become part of the Saab leadership, helping to ‘define the strategy for the new models’. Those new models might include a modern version of the classic Saab 92 of the 1950s: Saab is believed to be in negotiations with BMW to use technology from the Mini to create its own city car. That could be very, very cool.

So, Castriota at Saab: excited? You should be.

Sam Philip

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