• Apr 2, 2010
Saabs through history: 1949 Saab 92 – Click above for high-res image gallery

There are some Saab enthusiasts who feel very strongly that real Saabs have longitudinal engines mounted backwards with the clutch at the prow. Anything less, any power train layout where the crank is facing port or starboard and these people cry foul. We might even have one or two of these folks on staff here at Autoblog. One of whom might be in some sort of high-ranking editorial position. Another could even be typing the words you're reading right now. Point is, the argument can be made that Saab – the real Saab – died with the 900. Of course if you go down that road, even harder core Saabophiles will claim that the last pure Saab was the 99. Hence the problem with orthodoxy.

At any rate, as we've known, there's a new, post-GM Saab 9-3 in the works. We've long thought the new volume Saab would ride on some version of GM's Epsilon II platform, the same set of components that underpins the Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Saab's own 9-5. Instead, reports Motor Trend, the next 9-3 will be based on GM's older Epsilon I architecture that makes up the Chevy Malibu and the 9-3 from 2003. However, Saab boss Victor Muller assured MT that, "It's a heavily modified Epsilon I platform, but Saab now. So that's the basis for the new 9-3. So we have no further restraints. So we don't have to share it with anyone else. Which means we can knock ourselves out to make it the car we want it to be."

Does that mean the engine will be flipped around backwards, slanted and hooked to the transmission via a chain? Most certainly no, but we do like the part about Saab being free to be Saab. Speaking of being Saab, it looks like modern version of the classic Saab 92 might be in the works. Mr. Muller showed MT's Todd Lassa a rendering of the proposed 9-2 on the former's Blackberry. Lassa comments:
The car is stunning. It's retro-futurist, as J Mays would call it, an interpretation of early Saabs drawing obvious comparisons between Mays' Volkswagen New Beetle, the new Minis and Fiat 500. In the best tradition of Saab, it's a polarizing design – you will love it if you're a Saabanista. Or you will hate it. There will be no middle ground.
Actually, come to think of it, "no middle ground" would make for a good Saab mission statement. Especially if we can get 'em to put the parking brake back on the front wheels.



[Source: Motor Trend]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know if they will ultimately be successful or not but I'm rooting for Saab. The world needs a car that's not as overly generic and has something innovative about it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      While 9-3 is based on Epsilon I, technically it isn't. Saab has made a lot of changes to the platform, almost to the point it isn't Epsilon anymore, enough that GM couldn't simply move the 9-3 to another plant where Epsilons are built.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You can't beat the classics
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sadly Saab's so-called-classics (which no one except for 15 Saab fans cares about anyways) are almost all that's left from Saab. And those "classics" are 50 years old. Saab should learn how to beat their own classics (~create new ones) ASAP.

        And you can't even blame GM entirely for that. (That's what Saab fans like to do.) Few years ago I drove couple of times '900' from 1984 (5yrs before GM bought Saab) and the interior was simply inferior even by 1984 standards. I was that close to ask the owner whether he made that interior by himself. :(
        • 4 Years Ago
        but its also good to see saab pull around
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the Saab way...carry a platform for years...decades, even...and continue to refine it along the way.

      Worked for:

      Saab 92/93/95/96 (1949-80)
      Saab 99/900/90 (1968-94)
      Saab 9000 (1985-98)
        • 4 Years Ago
        So long as the platform is a good design to start with. The epsilon is rigid with four wheel independant suspension... a decent place to start so the engineering money can go elsewhere.

        Now that the platform will only underpin Sabbs, they can modify it as it suits them best. No cost restrictions because the platform must also underpin the $17k base model Pontiac G6. No wheelbase requirement so the Malibu can compete with the Camry. No production line restrictions so Saabs can be built on day X and Saturn Auras can be built on day Y and Opel Vectras can be built on day Z off of the same factory line.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm hopeful and nervous all at the same time. As long as they make it a hatch the faithful who have lost faith will slowly come back. Part of me is foolishly praying they'll lease out the Miata/Rx-8 platform and build something (Sonnet) upon that since Ford never has, but alas a pipe dream I know.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I find it funny that you want Saab to go back to one tradition (hatchbacks) while hoping they buck another tradition (FWD) by using someone's RWD platform.

        No Saab has ever been RWD. The only RWD-biased Saab ever was the 9-7x. Not a good precedent to continue.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I understand. Overall to me its one of those accept the past embrace it while also moving forward. The 97x (trailblazer) was a mistake outright, though the owners of them do like them alot since Saab put some of their "odd" twist on some things. I'm always asked why I don't own a Saab and I always tell them that they dont have a Rwd car and as soon as they do I'll consider buying it. Mind you I work at a Saab dealership and I think the introduction of a Rwd car especially a lightweight roadster if you will would bring in alot of new customers.

        Just saying that reminded me maybe Saab could swipe the platform that the Sky and Solstice were based off of hmm.. ahh to dream a dream.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Finally.
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