Saab 60th Anniversary Special Edition
Milestones In Scandinavian Motoring History
Last time Saab celebrated an anniversary, it stunned everyone at the 2006 Geneva Auto Show with the Aero X two-seat sport coupe. It was bold expression coming from Saab, and hopefully a sign of future design cues. For 2007, Saab has introduced 60th Anniversary Edition models for its 9-3 and 9-5, and also celebrates the history that made Saab's design so distinctive through the past.
'Born from Jets' is the well-known boast, but perhaps most people don't know exactly how true that is. SAAB is an acronym for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (translated Swedish Aircraft Company), which was founded in 1937 to strengthen the nation's neutrality during WWII. In 1944, Saab switched its manufacturing gears and started turning out automobiles. What we see today is only a hint at the aircraft-inspired automotive design from its birth in 1947. Earlier this year we viewed and test drove vintage examples from Saab's Heritage Collection. In attendance was Saab Monte Carlo rally legend Erik 'On the Roof' Carlsson, giving ride-alongs in the 96 RAC Rally Car.
Looking at a 1952 Saab 92, it's easy to understand the inspiration behind the brand. The design is an airplane without wings. Using a 1:10 scale model of this early prototype, Saab was one of the first to use wind-tunnel testing for their automobiles to obtain the best drag co-efficient. Also on hand was the 1956 Saab Sonnett Super Sport, which as a concept debuted in America at the 1956 New York Auto Show and marked the beginning for Saab Motors, Inc.
Today, hints of those Scandinavian roots are still visible in the Special Edition 9-3 and 9-5. The 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible, in addition to the 9-5 Aero Sedan and SportCombi, have been dressed up with dark walnut trim, new grey accents, and solid black leather sports seats with special stitching and SAAB logos. Outside, new five-spoke 17-inch rims and an Ice Blue metallic paint make the model unique, though if you don't like the color, you can still get a Special Edition in the current model year colors. The 9-3 gets a better sound system, and extras like power front seats, and fog lamps in the front. The 9-5s now have a new Visibility Package, including xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers and Saab Parking Assistance. Just some extra little details to mark the anniversary, at the modest price of an extra $1,825 for the 9-3 and $2,823 for the 9-5.
Among other things, we learned that James Bond drove a Saab 900 Turbo in the first three novels. Sadly, the new Special Editions don't come with tear gas guns or built-in phones with text messaging. But they do still celebrate what makes Saab stand out-the evolution from wings to wheels, with a rich history to back it all up.