The Saab faithful are going to be playing the "what if" game for years to come. It's one of the burdens of being a fan of a dead brand. A fresh batch of grainy 9-3 Phoenix images have made their way online, alleged shots of a design proposal penned by none other than Jason Castriota. The five-door looks to feature an honest liftback, though SaabsUnited.com says this particular vehicle was drawn up as part of a business plan in early 2011. As such, Castriota apparently told the site the final product was to look much more athletic than what we see here. While the low-resolution images make it difficult to tell much about the design, we certainly appreciate the familiar roofline, full band taillamps and the contrasting rear spoiler reminiscent of the old Saab 99 and 900 ducktails.

Unfortunately, we know all too well why this creation never saw the light of day. Would-be savior Victor Muller couldn't quite pull Saab out of its nosedive, and the company fell into bankruptcy before the 9-3 Phoenix could get off the ground. There's talk of the Phoenix platform and Saab brand having new life in other markets as EVs and even as gas cars, but the model seen here will likely never see production – let alone North American showrooms.

You can take a closer look at SverigesRadio.se just make sure to have your translator ready if you don't speak Swedish.


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  • 44 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      hadji murad
      • 1 Year Ago
      the liftback is so iconic. assurances of "being more athletic" are needed. not every car has to look like it is trying to be an athlete and have an aggressive stance. trying to make SAAB mainstream is what led to them not standing out in the market.
      Making11s
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks like a real Saab. I call that the frump rump. It's sad how anytime a company goes under they seem to have a great idea right around the corner that they just couldn't pull off.
        F_Monk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Making11s
        All except for Pontiac, Olds, Saturn, Mercury and Plymouth. (And, yeah, I know they're brands and not companies.) And you're on point, it really does look like a SAAB, and it is sad such a car never saw the light of day.
          F_Monk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @F_Monk
          They had the G8/GTO on sale for quite a bit longer than 5 minutes and not enough buyers cared. The Solstice was a letdown. They tried and failed. Pontiac went because it had become a tacky joke and the G8/Solstice weren't enough to change opinions. They tried to trade their tasteless products (which they insisted were "European-inspired" and Americans bought in droves for two decades) for something more tasteful and "genuinely European", and sales plummeted.
          ChaosphereIX
          • 1 Year Ago
          @F_Monk
          Pontiac had the excellent G8 on sale for like 5 minutes before it folded, as well as the excellent Solstice GXP Coupe. They should have not been killed.
          Greg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @F_Monk
          If those Pontiacs were great, then why didn't GM simply change the badge and turn them into a hit for one of their remaining brands? Or do people hold the perception that they are great because of the way Pontiac bowed out?
      Victor W. Werke
      • 1 Year Ago
      To say this is a dissappointment would be an understatement! If only the Chinese could just pull the blanched cat out of the boiling pot and buy the rights to this most SAABesque design and start churning them out based on that amzing Phoenix platform, especially a 3-Door reminiscent of the 900 Turbo-16.......
      wooootles
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...What the deuce?
      JOSHUA
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great looking design!! nice to see a Saab with a hatch again. Looks like what a modern day Saab is supposed to be. Great job Castriota.
      Mario
      • 1 Year Ago
      There were using to many GM parts.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Saab was underrated and quite unknown. I would probably say it was due to a low presence and stale designs that refused to make any dramatic changes since the 90s. The interior dash boards were also a bit retro and outdated. Performance on the T models was always quick and responsive but not enough to make the cars superior to the competition I guess.
        wrestleprocbt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Well with Government Motors at the helm for the last part of it's life, what would anyone expect. GM only wanted the company because it was affordable and they could suck any profit out of it then dump it to the side and leave it for dead. You can't make a niche brand into a mass produced product and expect it to fit in so many peoples taste. GM ruined it plane and simple. If it ever comes back to life, God willing, I'll be there to get another one. Provided GM has nothing to do with it because it's sure to feel if that company is involved.
      Jonathan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Really is sad we didn't get to have a REAL Saab :/
      design eye
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn\'t ring the bell for me. You shoulda seen the 9-1 that never went past clay in the Opel studios. It was a Saab Mini Cooper beater big time! F-in awesome!
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      You don't have to love Saabs, but this is just a shame.
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