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A short history of the Saab 900 Turbo

A short history of the Saab 900 Turbo

Amazingly, the Saab 900 had a production run of 20 years, from 1978 to 1998, though the first generation 900 was superseded for the last 4 years by the second-generation model, which was essentially a re-skinned Opel Vectra.

Just as remarkable is how little the 900 changed visually, though successive development of its 2-liter 4-cylinder engine brought more power and higher performance from the base model’s single-carb aspiration, through twin-carbs, fuel-injection, turbos, intercoolers and a 16-valve engine. Incredibly, the slant-4 motor originally developed by Triumph for their cars in the early 1960s, or a revised version of it, was in all of them.

The Turbo model was available right from the start, and while turbos are commonplace today, it was a bold and unexpected move for a imported luxury car maker in a mainstream model. 

Turbochargers at the time had a reputation for wild performance increases, but also for their fragility. In the 900 Turbo, however, Saab managed to develop a svelte, fast and characterful car with great durability.

A short history of the Saab 900 Turbo

Amazingly, the Saab 900 had a production run of 20 years, from 1978 to 1998, though the first generation 900 was superseded for the last 4 years by the second-generation model, which was essentially a re-skinned Opel Vectra.

Just as remarkable is how little the 900 changed visually, though successive development of its 2-liter 4-cylinder engine brought more power and higher performance from the base model’s single-carb aspiration, through twin-carbs, fuel-injection, turbos, intercoolers and a 16-valve engine. Incredibly, the slant-4 motor originally developed by Triumph for their cars in the early 1960s, or a revised version of it, was in all of them.

The Turbo model was available right from the start, and while turbos are commonplace today, it was a bold and unexpected move for a imported luxury car maker in a mainstream model. 

Turbochargers at the time had a reputation for wild performance increases, but also for their fragility. In the 900 Turbo, however, Saab managed to develop a svelte, fast and characterful car with great durability.

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