• Aug 12, 2010
Saabs United, the site that played such a noteworthy role in the General Motors-Saab-Spyker cage match earlier this year that Saab gave the site an award, is at it again. This time, Saabs United is voicing concern about Jason Castriota, who was recently named 's Saab's design director. Castriota took the position above longtime Saab designer Simon Padian, who penned the Aero X concept.

Saabs United is worried that Castriota, moving between Turin and New York with his design consultancy and more known for supercars than family sedans, won't get Saab design and might not understand what the next 9-3 should be. And if that car isn't right, then Saab has a lot of trouble on its hands. So Saabs United wrote Castriota a letter detailing its concerns. Castriota, much to his credit, answered with a 2,347-word response.

Castriota acknowledges that there is no way he can prove himself yet to Saab fans, since the first product we'll see from him is at least two years away. But after relating that his first car was a hand-me-down 900 three-door hatch, he does a good job of explaining how his supercar-designing experience isn't really any different than designing for Saab: if you want to make a worthy Ferrari or Maserati, you've got to understand what the brand means and how to move it forward. Only the year 2012 will reveal the truth of the statement, but for Saabphiles, it's an auspicious start.

[Source: Saabs United]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      i hope the mantide doesn't leave any residue on saab's roots.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Its worth keeping in mind that the Mantide was a design study based on the ZR1.

        The primary goals of the study were weight reduction and improved aerodynamics. Job well done. The Mantide is 220 lbs lighter with a 25% reduction in drag and 30% improvement in down force versus the ZR1.

        It may not be the prettiest car out there but it was very successful in its goals. Lets also not forget that he is the pen responsible for the Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina and the Ferrari 612 Kappa.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saab = Hatchback. That was easy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      DAMN he's good looking!!!!

      Finally get a pic of a good looking man. Tired of seeing stupid female car models/beotches in bikini's and as if this is man cave only.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Honestly, I like the way Saab's look already and think the problem was not necessarily the exterior design, but the whole package of how they drove and felt in it's price range. If the car looked similar to how they do now, but DROVE like they used to, I'd be ok with that. Having said that, I'm looking forward to the next generation though to be more unique, and hope they can bring it all together to get some of the magic back.

      p.s. owner of a 99 Saab 9-3 hatch.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      "return to Saab's roots"
      Frankly speaking, I don't know what is the Saab's worth heritage.
      On the contrary, Saab need a completely all-new design and cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saab fans concerned about Castriota's designs are misguided. It's not like whatever design he comes up with will go into production without management's approval. It doesn't matter who designs the cars, Muller will have to approve the design. Unless Saab fans don't trust Muller they should just be glad they have something to whine about. Yes, I own a Saab.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, the Spyker SUV is going into production. Just saying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What?

      Thew 9-3 is awesome! It is my favorite.

      If they go on and change it then I may not like them ever again...

      The aero x wasn't bad looking... But... :'(
      • 4 Years Ago
      So then we'll see the return of the Saab hatchback? I think for a 9-3 to work it really needs to be the classic Saab funky hatchback thing, especially in the world of the hot-hatch.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bring us a modern 99 or 900, or maybe even a new Sonett. Give us a car with the key between the seats, something that drives well in snow, something crazy safe and fun to drive. That's going back to Saab's roots. Quirky is good.

      Saab purists hate the Saab 9-2X. While it really isn't a Saab (since its a Subaru), it felt a lot closer to the ideals and philosophies of what they put out in the 70s and 80s than any of the new stuff that started coming out after GM took over.

      Oh yeah, and a Saab competitor to the MINI would be awesome as well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Two stroke engines?
      fatppldropkick
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about they start putting the transmission in front of a longitudinal engine again? That was one of those cool things Saab did that made them stand out from other FWD hatches.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @fatppldropkick
        I loved that quirky transmission setup! Once I learned the 'trick', I found that these were the easiest clutch swaps to do of any front wheel drive I've ever worked on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A great, or even good, designer can create both supercars and ordinary cars that are compelling and even iconic. Look at Giugiaro's Mk1 VW Golf/Scirocco and the Lotus Esprit or Maserati Ghibli, or Frank Stephenson's Mini and recent Ferraris, for example.

      Saab design doesn't seem like it'll be all that hard for Jason Castriota to get. Its history is reasonably focused and linear, and its model range has rarely exceeded two or three models at a time. To me, today's Saabs still look pretty Saab-like. It's the engineering behind them that's faded... conventional trunks instead of hatches, no front-mounted backup lamps, etc. What Saab retained to establish their Saab-ness were more obvious cues like the floor-mounted ignition and laminated dash vents...perfectly Saab-ish design cues that didn't fool anyone into thinking a Trailblazer came from Trollhättan. If they can get back to being innovators, and quirky for the right reasons, their design will feel like it belongs.
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