Images from the brochure collection of Hemmings Motor News, courtesy of Bruce Zahor
The smaller Swedish automaker was in a pretty good place in 1985, poised to sell a then-record 39,068 units in the U.S. under the leadership of the visionary Robert J. “Bob” Sinclair. Bob directed his marketing department to capitalize on Saab‘s unique design, practicality and famous turbocharged performance. This would be the first year for Saab’s DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine, which debuted in the 900 Turbo, and boosted (pardon the pun) horsepower from 135 to 160; it was found under the forward-tilting clamshell hood of the exciting new 900 Turbo “Special Performance Group,” or SPG (shown above).
A limited number of 1985 SPGs were imported, and all were painted black, with exclusive matching aerodynamic lower body fairings. Less racy but no less fleet were the standard 900 Turbo 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan.
These cars were known for their excellent dashboard ergonomics and their peerless cargo capacity, as demonstrated by the clever hatch image below. Folding the rear seats of the hatch brought a station wagon-like 56.5 cubic feet of cargo room (21.3 with the seat up), and even the sedan could fit 53 cubic feet with the rear seatback folded, 21.8 with the seat up. The three-box-shaped competition from Volvo, Audi and BMW couldn’t touch those figures.
Speaking of BMW, did you catch the not-so-veiled dig at that Munich firm on page 22 of this 28-page brochure? Cheeky! The rest of the text was delivered in Saab’s typically intelligent, no-nonsense fashion that was heavy on facts and light on hyperbole.
Not included in this brochure is the two-door 900 S sedan, which was imported in small numbers in 1985 and 1986, and would be the basis for 1986’s image-building 900 Turbo Convertible. Ah, how I miss those days, and these individualistic cars…
Click on the images below to enlarge.