Interesting Tidbits about The Saab 900
- Upon hearing the words "Saab 900," some people would think that it sounds very familiar. If you have read any James Bond novels published in the 1980s, then you would immediately figure out that this is the preferred vehicle of the master spy as described by writer John Gardner Bond. Nicknamed "The Silver Beast," it was special in that it was not provided by Q, but was Bond's own car. The novels became so well-known that in 1982, a Bond Saab 900 Turbo was manufactured, complete with gadgets fit for a secret agent.
- One of the reasons why the Saab 900 is one of the memorable vehicles in the 1980s is because of its turbocharging technology, a concept unknown amongst European cars during its time. Retaining its unique visual style, it greatly appealed to the average man for its perfect combination of affordability, practicality, low emissions, and high performance. In fact, it can pull off such an amazing performance that it can stand up even to the most modern vehicle today.
- During its production run, the Saab 900's design and shape never changed in a major fashion. This made the vehicle instantly familiar among enthusiasts. The black moose-proof bumpers, huge back haunches, and massive doors are iconic for the model's exterior. Inside, the memorable aviation-inspired dashboard and surprisingly spacious seats always give off a nostalgic feel.
- As if it was not enough, the Saab 900 jumped into popularity once more when they designed a "convertible" model to the already well-loved vehicle. Displayed in 1983, it quickly gained a great amount of interest and was immediately put into production. Because the full name of the vehicle is "Saab 900 SE," it became better-known as "The Goose" for the way the name spells similarly.
- During its second generation, Saab developed an innovative new feature for its prized model. Called the "black panel" design, the illuminations of the panel could be turned on and off either manually or automatically.
- As a true testament to its lovable design, throughout the years the Saab 900 has been sold in a multitude of variations. There were three and five door hatchbacks, a convertible, the infamous Turbo, and two and four door saloons.
Saab 900 Common Problems
The Saab 900 is simply of the classics. Anyone who knows cars is aware of its unique design and stellar performance on the road. Because of this, it is still a car many people would want to acquire. However, issues do arise in some of its parts, so it is best to be aware of them when buying one. Here are a few of its most common problems:
One of the common problems the Saab 900 has concerns its performance. The issue arises when it meets a particular condition, specifically when the area is very cold and the car has experienced multiple cold starts. At some point, ice could start to form up around the throttle area. When this happens, the vehicle is going to start experiencing problems with its deceleration, leading to greater stopping distances. This could be a major problem especially during accidents, where the driver's life will depend on how fast your car could stop.
In 1979, over 61,000 units were recalled to upgrade its engine intake system, which makes the heating of cold air much more effective.
Another concern you should take note is the car's brakes, the discs/pads to be more exact. The brake shield, which is part where the discs/pads should be protected from harmful debris, sometimes does not work. This results in a much weaker braking performance. If ignored, it could result in a road accident.
Over 7000 Saab 900s were recalled in 1994 to have the brake shield replaced with a newly-designed one. The replacement has a larger cover plate to keep water and road slush away from the discs/pads.
Lastly, the Saab 900's electrical system is sometimes not up to standard. To be more precise, the wiring harnesses are installed incorrectly. This leads to them slowly tearing because they are too close to sharp edges, and the short circuit may occur, causing a fire inside your vehicle.
It was reported in November of 1988 that 70,000 or so units of the Saab 900 were recalled to fix this problem. Rubber strips and plastic cases were installed, in order to prevent sharp edges to getting in contact with the wiring harnesses.
How does a country that isn't known for its technical expertise develop a popular sedan?
In 1938, the Saab factory started out as an aircraft manufacturer for the Royal Swedish Air Force in Trollhattan, Sweden. Towards the end of the Second World War, Saab began working on non-military aircraft for private ownership. To this day, Saab still manufactures top-notch civilian and military aircraft (such as the Viggen) as well as trucks and buses.
As soon as WWII ended, Saab decided to diversify into automobiles but other Swedish companies such as Volvo were already manufacturing cars and trucks. Saab then decided to make its niche the small, affordable car.
Saab's first car was the Saab 92, 700 of which were made. The engine was a 750cc two-cylinder two-stroke, transversely mounted ahead of the front axle. Saab engineers also designed an ingenious safety cage for the car's occupants, to protect them in case of accident, one of the first cars ever designed for safety.
After Saab's exposure in the 1950 Monte Carlo rally, Saab started exporting their cars, primarily to the United States. The third generation Saab 93 was the first model to be officially exported to North America.
What makes the Saab 900 unique?
The Saab 900 was introduced in May 1978 as the company's front-engined, front-wheel-drive compact sedan with an L 4-cylinder engine, double wishbone front suspension and beam-axle rear suspension.
One unique feature about the Saab 900 is that the engine is installed "backwards" with power brought to the front of the car from the crank. The transmission (technically a transaxle) connected to the engine's bottom to form the oil pan but with separate oil lubrication. Therefore, power from the crank would be delivered out of the engine from the front, then transferred down and back to the transmission below through a set of chain-driven primary gears.
How did the Saab 900 fare in the market as a convertible?
In the spring of 1986, the company decided to create a soft-top convertible version (in addition to the 3-door and 5-door models) of the Saab 900 to increase sales. The New Generation Saab SE was born, and soon became a classic.The convertible was equipped witha 2.1 L 16-valve turbocharged engine with intercooler. It was affectionately nicknamed "Goose" because the emblem at the car's rear (Saab900 SE) resembled the word.
Why do my brake lights stay on after I have left the vehicle?
Brake lights switch failure is the cause of brake lights staying lit once you have exited the car. The case is usually that one of the tabs breaks off from the switch itself. In some cases, the bracket that houses the switch gets bent, preventing the pin in the switch from touching the pedal arm. Replacement of the switch will be required.
Why does my engine vibrate when I drive forward or in reverse?
Engine vibration while driving can be caused by failing engine mounts. Over time, the rubber parts of the engine mounts weakens causing the vibration from engine rotation to ripple through the chassis. However, you can shift from drive to reverse if you would like to load and unload certain engine mounts. This will help you find the faulty mount.
Saab 900: The Aircraft-inspired Swedish Automobile
In 1978, Swedish car manufacturer Saab introduced the Saab 900. The vehicle was then referred to by the company as “the culmination of the most ambitious development ever undertaken.” For two decades, the Saab 900 had two generations until its final release in 1998. It had won multiple awards and recognitions from different countries like the Import Car of the Year for 1993/94 from Japan’s Automotive Researchers and Journalists Conference and the 1994 Design of the Year from Automobile magazine in USA.
1978 – 1993: The Classic generation
The Saab 900 was developed with similar features of its predecessor, the Saab 99. Both models had a distinguished style unlike any car at that time. One unusual design was the engine that’s installed backwards. Another is the transaxle transmission that was bolted to the bottom of the engine which also formed the oil pan. Available in GL, GLS, EMS/ GLE and Turbo trims lines, the 1979 Saab 900 had four different engine types. First, the GL had a 99-horsepower, single-carburetor engine. The next trim line, the GLS, had a twin-carburetor, 106-horspower engine. The EMS/ GLE trim lines had the same fuel-injection, 116-horsepower engine. And the last one, the Saab 900 Turbo, had a 143-horsepower engine.
In 1982, Saab introduced the Automatic Performance Control (APC) which has a knock sensor that allowed the car’s engine to use different kinds of gasoline without damaging the engine. This was followed by the 16-valve DOHC B202 engine with a turbocharger and intercooler that was released for Saab 900 models in Europe in 1984. Shortly a year after, two upgraded models were released, the 8-valve and 16-valve engines for the Saab 900 Turbo. In the early 90s, a 2.1L engine was made available for the US market.
1994 – 1998: The New generation
Built from the platform of the Opel Vectra, the second generation of the Saab 900 received numerous improvements. The variants of the vehicle were 900i, S and SE. While the engine for all the variants had standard four cylinders, only the SE had a turbo or V6. A significant and innovative future that came with Turbo models was the “Sensonic” clutch variant. It was designed with the same manual gear lever, but the clutch pedal was omitted because a computer controlled the clutch actuator. The black panel feature, that was available for the S and SE models, was also an innovation that was designed with a button that switched off most panel lights on the dashboard. This was inspired by the aeronautics roots of the Swedish car manufacturer. While the speedometer remained illuminated, the other instruments were automatically dimmed to eliminate distraction during night driving. They would only automatically light up when the car reaches the 84 mph mark.