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Different By Design: Saab 50 Years “1947-97” brochure

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Images are from the brochure collection of the author

Saab Automobile, the pride of Trollhättan, Sweden, is no longer the company we long new and loved, but with many former engineers and staffers still working for the new Chinese-financed firm of NEVS [New Electric Vehicle Sweden], itself created from the holdings of the bankrupt Saab Automobile, there’s hope that some of the old Saab spirit may manifest itself in future four-wheeled products.

This handsome 30-page brochure dates back to a happier era in Saab history, when Saab Automobile AB -then 50-percent owned by General Motors- celebrated its 50th anniversary. This piece is rare in that it shows both the current 9000 and the to-be-introduced,  late-1998 9-5 that would supplant it. It also highlights the then-current second generation 900 -which took part, like the original 9000, in a record-setting endurance and speed test at the Talladega Superspeedway– along with many of the automaker’s most famous heritage models.

The white Saab Sonett Super Sport, shown above, was the first of six experimental models built for competition, and it featured an aircraft-style riveted aluminum box chassis draped in a svelte fiberglass body; the other examples were built with steel chassis.

The famous “Ur-Saab,” or original Saab prototype -still on display at the Saab Car Museum– was beautifully photographed, and the subsequent production 92 was shown with the intriguing SAAB 21 aircraft, with its “pusher” propeller and ejector seat. Also highlighted were a “bull-nose” two-stroke 95 wagon and an early example of the “Classic” 900 Turbo, shown in its most iconic black-painted, three-door form.


The best part? A year-by-year timeline, charmingly illustrated by the talented Rony Lutz, offers the highlights of this storied marque’s history, through 1997.

Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.