Saab: Cars Born from Jets, Indestructible and Uncompromising

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SaabEveryone who has a deeper interest in cars have a certain love affair with Swedish cars. Though they did not have the best-looking cars, they had the best-made cars. It may stand up to this day, but unlike before, that claim has now been very disputable. Back then, when the Swedish was the spine of European automakers, they had one thing in mind: to make the best cars in the world.

Volvo got down to business and built a reputation for top-to-bottom quality. Koenigsegg, probably the most exotic supercar manufacturer today, built and is planning to build the wildest cars. Yet, in auto mythology, none of them matches the history and prominence of Saab. The jet makers-turned-automakers had the most unorthodox ideas and were never scared of implementing it.

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Saab’s best trait ultimately became their downfall. Their engineers strived for perfection in every turn, but they do not get it right all the time. Perfection does that, as it proved to be elusive. But, when they got it right, they hit all the engineering and design bull’s eye.

The 99 Turbo, Sonnett III, 9000 Carlson and the 900 Turbo are just some of the best they made. Performance wise, they had ample power and a smart way of distributing it. On the looks department, it is a little different, but altogether pretty. Yet, Saab’s mission to build the best cars culminates in the make quality. They were so tough, auto dismantlers would have a hard time flattening their cars. That is a guarantee.

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The Saab 9000 Prometheus takes the cake for the strangest car in the world. Not the only quirky Saab car, but its unorthodoxy is a full tale to tell the young ones in the future. The 9000 had a V4 engine, fibreglass for windows and its crown jewel: a joystick for a steering wheel. The premise behind this car is the pan-European program for improved safety and cleanliness. Anyone who knows Saab knew this really was not the car’s point.

Even their first car, the Ursaab, was a prototype of how they approach things. As jet manufacturers, they value aerodynamics highly. It showed, and quite funnily, with their starting automobile. There is nothing remarkable, but a full cover on all four wheels, making tyre change nigh impossible.

Since then, American car conglomerate GM bought Saab with the dream of reigniting the brand. Their engineers, hardheaded as ever, did not compromise and made cars that cost so much to build. It was not long until they shut down, for good.

The company evokes feeling for car lovers, because they may never see their like again. With automakers today obsessed with numbers, the legendary quality of Saab cars is a dream and a nightmare never to occur again.

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