Saab 900 II - the controversial

Reader's contribution by Andrè

The second-generation Saab 900 was unveiled to 1993 in July and soon went on sale. It was the first completely redesigned Saab model since the presentation of the Saab 9000 in the year 1984. He followed the first-generation Saab 900 introduced to 1978.

Saab 900 II. Large tailgate, typical Saab. That's how he was presented.

First, the five-door hatchback sedan was introduced. 1994 followed coupe and convertible.
The closed variants were produced at the Saab factory in Trollhättan. The convertible was manufactured by Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

The development of the 900er started many years ago. 1986 thought about what the successor of the first 900 could look like. 1987 was the first design model in the X 68 project. However, ideas from this project then found their way into the 9000 CS, instead of the successor to the 900. 1988 has started a new project for the successor, project 102. The design model, created under Björn Envall, who also designed the first 900, continued the lines of the old 900. The team around Envall found a modern evolution of the classic line of the previous 900. The new 900 should have many common parts with the 9000. Similar to the previous project, however, the car came too close in size and price to the 9000er.

After 1989 announced in December that General Motors (GM) would join Saab, the 102 1990 project was transferred to the 104 project. The size problem that arose earlier could now be resolved by using a platform from the group network. The design of the car was taken exactly from the project 102 and adapted to the smaller size. There were major changes in the rear design. Returning to Saab, Einar Johan Hareide, who worked closely with Björn Envall and later became his successor, gave the rear its final look. As time went by, Hareide renounced his summer vacation and eventually found the final line in the largely vacated office. Front was the design of the 1990 CS with the narrower grille, the smaller headlamps, and only turn signals recorded.
When the design model was ready, Saab tried to catch up with customers' opinions. The model was sent on a journey, invited to customers and questioned about the model in so-called car clinics (Car Clinic is an instrument of market research in which a model is often presented to people in comparison to competing models). The model was well received.

Even in the interior, the line of the predecessor was continued. Saab decided to maintain and develop two cockpit layouts. A slightly more compact shape (with a clear division of the upper part of the dashboard to the center console), which is reflected from the first 900 to the last 9-3, and a larger shape that evolved from the first 9000 to the last 9-5. One innovation was the "black panel". With this button it was possible to switch off unnecessary illuminated displays during the night. It was then only the main ads normally lit, so as not to distract the driver unnecessarily at night. This was a detail in series, which was shown many years earlier with the Saab EV-1. After a short time this equipment detail was renamed "Night Panel", according to legend, to preserve the political correctness.

Since Saab had already invested a lot of time in the previous projects, a fixed date was set until when the new car should be finished. Unfortunately, in the end, there was not a big happy ending, but a real fiasco. The car suffered in the first two model years under strong quality defects, which accompanied by numerous press publications seriously damaged the image of Saab and were a cause of the image of the GM blemish Saab would not be rid of in the nearly 20 GM years , And yet, the second-generation 900 was a true Saab, designed in its own design department, with engines engineered by Saab's legendary carmaker Per Gillbrand ("Mr. Turbo") and developed and produced in Trollhatten.

In order to show the public that the quality was better again later on, 1996 repeated the "Long Run" by Talladega from the year 1986. 1986 drove three standard Saab 9000 turbo continuously until a mark of 100.000 kilometers was reached. Numerous records were set and the reliability displayed. This record hunt was repeated on 1996 with standard Saab 900. All engine variants were used, and journalists from the international press were also allowed to move vehicles. Again, the vehicles spooled the long distance easily and set records. Years later, many second-generation 900 vehicles with high mileage in the streetscape testify that the car was back on track.

For the second-generation 900 Saab offered four engines. These included three four-cylinder: 2.0 with 133 PS (later 131 PS), 2.3 with 150 PS and 2.0 Turbo with 185 PS. In addition, it was the first Saab to be ordered with a six-cylinder engine (2.5 liter with 170 PS).

The first V6 in the small Saab series

The Saab 900 was initially available in Germany in the trim levels "S" and "SE". "SE" was the higher equipment variant, which had as standard air conditioning or light metal rims. The prices 1993 started in Germany at 39.900 DM for a 900 S 2.0 and went up to 54.800 DM for a 900 SE V6. Over the years, there were several special models. These included, for example, the models Mellow Yellow, R 900, Sunbeach and the Talladega edition.

1998 appeared the advancement of the 900, the Saab 9-3. Overall, 273.568 vehicles of the second generation 900 were manufactured.

The second-generation 900 had the misfortune of following a legend that left big footprints. And yet he also had a lot of the "Spirit of Saab" in him.

22 thoughts on "Saab 900 II - the controversial"

  • Moin 92001,
    I can confirm that, nobody wants the 902/931 anymore. We turned the tables and bought a 931 for our daughter at an absolutely bargain price. He is 98, from an older gentleman in good condition, 1st hand and runs great. We still had a few things to fix, but that was included in the purchase price. Now the little one drives a beautiful and, above all, safe car. She already loves him and is better than a Polo, Corsa or other flea boxes that are more expensive.
    I myself have been a fan of the 9000 series since it came onto the market and still have one of the very last CSE from 98. It does not have the ignition lock in the middle, but is still the benchmark for the workmanship and the materials used - the one today no one reached!
    In the summer I'll switch to my 902 convertible from 97, which brings us back to the topic. He will soon be 16 years old and has been with us for 11 years. Except for a servo pump and a clutch a few years ago, it runs without any problems. The 2,3i with 150 hp is in top shape, the roof is also original - the Finns in Uusikaupunki delivered great quality. This summer we did 8000 km (mostly long distance) with him. You can also get out of it after 10 hours without pain….

    Greetings from the far north

  • About the films: In The Transporter Part 1, the French. Inspector of a SAAB 901, which I think Jason Statham will later drive. In any case, he doesn't even get a dent, even though anyone who drove in with another car was actually destroyed ...

  • Yes, after the bang, the car really looks pretty good. After all, a van drove on it. I was also surprised that the convertible roof has remained in its position. Are just solid vehicles.

  • Yes thank you too. I also looked at it again, so it's a 900 SE convertible, it doesn't look that bad after the crash. The van is a Renault, a pretty big one ...

  • @Philmos: ... Thank you very much for the web link, I'll watch the tragedy have a good weekend. Joachim

  • You are right, the SAAB vehicles are not destroyed in the Hollywood strips. Whereby the clientele represented in the Hollywood strip in everyday US life certainly do not drive vehicles from US production. So the use of the SAAB vehicles there is certainly chosen for authentic reasons.
    The German zero-eight-fifteen producers are just culture-Banausen!

    Unfortunately I did not see the clip with the SAAB Cabrio Crash. Maybe you can still find it in an internet library.
    I can remember the Top Gear Spot. They have always had good vehicle documentation. If the Germans produced something like that, they would be in trouble with BMW or Audi.

  • But the Americans do not destroy the Saabs, that's the difference.

    I do not know who saw the crash of the black Saab Convertible. It is a VW or Mercedes Sprinter at high speed crashed 70 Km / h in the passenger side, the Saab was thrown around, the lover in the movie was instantly dead. One saw no airbags, the son on the driver's side opened the door and crawled out of the Automobile. From this point of view, only the passenger side was there, but pressed in properly.

    I have seen many firefighter photos from Styria, where seemingly heaps of young people kill with BMWs. Mostly the cars are broken up in several parts in the forest. The roads are very winding and you really have to drive there. Then comes just rear-wheel drive and wet road, and the disaster is perfect.

    Probably the same would have happened in the movie with BMW or Mercedes, perhaps the stuntmen have experience in which cars they better not get into or with which cars you could make such shots.

    If the car had broken apart on the film, the son would not have survived either. Then it wouldn't have fit into the script again ...

    I have also advised against all of the 9-5 3,0 V6 TID, I have then taken twice the small diesel, as a station wagon and sedan, that's enough.

    PS: In Top Gear they once dropped a Saab and a BMW on the roof, in the Saab were still all the pillars, the BMW was flat. That will be the reason.

  • Yes, I also noticed that with the “Film SAABS”. However, SAAB was also often seen in action at Hollywood productions, the same applies to the original 911/912. One can therefore also see positively.
    Are all extravagant vehicles.
    Since you get old SAAB ready for 1000 € that may be a criterion for German productions. Maybe they should switch to Opel to talk about jobs in Bochum.

    However, the Cobra 11 Highway Police people are also dismantling a lot of 3er BMW and C Class Mercedes.

    If SAAB fall from the 3rd floor, maybe the 9-5 vehicles with 3,0 TD machines should be used here so that the self-destructing diesel is taken from the market. I noticed that dealerships are still selling these vehicles. My Saab dealer had already advised against it in 2005 when I absolutely wanted to buy a 9-5 with a 3,0 liter diesel engine. But then I switched from the 93-1 to the 93-2 convertible. The Saab dealer at the time gave me good advice.

  • What annoys me, I have often seen that 902 on German television (ARD and ZDF) are shredded, probably because they are so cheap and visually what to do.

    There was a green coupe in a movie with Uwe Ochsenknecht, who played in Vienna, the car landed in the junk press, which was clearly shown.

    Then a silver sedan in a movie with Charly Hübner about ransom with a journalist in Saab, the Saab was sunk in a lake, then pulled out again.

    Now on Wednesday, a movie with Klaus J. Behrendt about a love in Vietnam, which then died in the son's black Saab convertible, side impact with a van.

    Earlier in alarm for Cobra 11 fell a black Saab coupe from a parking garage, the driver was then dead.

    Coincidence or hatred of the German car lobby? In film and television you rarely see that with VW products, BMW or Mercedes, it seems to me ...

  • Nice report!
    My first Saab was also my first car - a Saab 902 SE, no problems.
    I bought a 9-3 TTid Aero station wagon half a year ago (so I had to get a bargain). Of course the car is very different from the 902, but they both made (made) fun.
    My 902 is now half a year on the farm, not even the export dealers are interested in it, I can not understand! This could be fun for a long time ..
    However, I do not go to the sales intensive, although the Partkplatzmiete for a deregistered car so does not seem particularly useful.
    For a Saab fan, I would part with my old turbo (location Switzerland)

    Saabige greetings

  • Hi Walter,
    thanks for your nice reply. To be honest, I would prefer to only drive SAAB, which I have done over the past few years (first Volvo then SAAB). Due to the current situation, however, you have to think about protecting your SAAB KM-moderately. That's why I drive the southern German competition as a freelancer (which is not so ideal on the road in winter ;-))…. and for pleasure the SAAB. But I've now decided to buy a second SAAB at the beginning of 2013. I hope I can find a good 9-5 between 2006 - 2009 to have even more driving pleasure. With you in Switzerland you can now see more SAAB vehicles on the streets. I myself live just before the Dutch border and the SAAB is actually popular in the Netherlands. With best regards for a good weekend, Joachim

  • Dear Joachim,
    That's the main thing about piloting cars that you enjoy. Even if you don't have a car from the Kingdom of Bavaria with the blue / white emblem on the hood ... (Laughter)
    Many greetings from Switzerland
    Walter

  • @saabfan; But that doesn't say anything at all. The USA is a huge car market that has always been under price pressure. It was always mass produced. The dealers had huge vehicle contingents on the premises. American vehicles have always been sold at rock-bottom prices. The common American buys a US vehicle. The guys have absolutely no idea what a good vehicle can or should bring. The upper middle class Americans, freelancers (doctors, architects, lawyers etc ...) drive, Europeans (Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche) or Japanese like Lexus or Acura (Honda for the US market). The Americans are successful in China, big market and they have been hitting the 08/15 Buick there since many of the 90s.

    I agree with Michael, the GM thing couldn't be successful. Perhaps there was a necessary solution at the time, don't know the context; think that the final result known to all of us is ultimately more than a confirmation. As far as I know, one of SAAB's main shareholders has gradually sold his package to GM. That's business. He's certainly driven a Porsche or Aston Martin in his private life anyway. But it doesn't help to philosophize further about ifs and buts.
    Saab has long been sporty, innovative, but others have followed suit. In the 80s and 90s ... until the end of 90, SAAB vehicles were sometimes superior to the usual upper middle class vehicles. Now there are some alternatives, at least in terms of driving technique. I have been driving Swedish vehicles for ages myself, I will certainly buy a 93 from the 2-2.0 series in addition to my 95-2006, 2009T convertible (after that you can forget US like!) Because I want to drive SAAB even longer. However, drive a competition vehicle within the family that, with its 500 NM, also leaves most of the SAAB behind. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to driving Saab on the weekend.

  • An 902 (built 1998, 131 PS) was my first Saab, which I loved to ride for 9 years. Overall, I drove the 902 155.000 km and enjoyed every single kilometer. Little noteworthy repairs, in the end he had 205.000 km on the clock when I exchanged him for a 9 3 year 2002, Softurbo 150 PS, SE variant. This drove very different. Unfortunately, I first became warm with him after 2,5 years. 3 / 4 year after purchase (about 155.000 km) much of the air conditioning compressor off, after about 160.000 the engine was over (worn gear pump (oil pump)). And now??? That was 2010. There were no engines from Sweden. A newer 9-3 should not, the hatchback shape is just too good. After 4 weeks waiting time he was ready to drive again. A short time later, the left rear window breaker broke. Not cheap either. I'll put it all on the previous owner
    Given the situation, I will drive the 9-3 probably many more miles. I really do not like the interior and exterior design of the following 9-3.
    As I said, my 900 II drove and drove and drove. My consistently positive experience may also be because I was not biased.

  • ... that was already clear at the time ... ?? .... - It wasn't even clear then! - GM USA (GMC) still had car brands such as Cadilac, Vauxhall, Pontiac and Chevrolet in the group. - And don't forget Adam Opel AG Germany. The vehicles were safely developed together, respectively. then also marketed. To this day, many garages have the full range of the US company on sale ...

  • ... oops: Ashes on my head and: Thanks, André for the really well-written article and Tom for putting it in.
    And then I have to apologize for a typo: in the 2nd line it should of course be called 902. And then, as a contemporary witness, of course, it occurs to me that I was personally a bit angry with the 902: suddenly there were no affordable 901s as used ones to enter the Saab world of wellbeing. Well, I first consoled myself with a 9000er for a few years until I could finally afford a 901er and was and am no longer angry with the 900-II (but I still don't like GM ...)

  • Hmm, thanks for the praise, but the article is from Andrè, who has put a lot of work into it. The praise belongs to him

  • tsts scrap metal group ... - as a cast iron 901 driver, I feel directly addressed (although I also like my current 93 TTid station wagon). But seriously - the 901 had suffered from exactly the things that Tom (thanks for the article) described: After GM came to power, the box was hastily shrunk onto the Vectra platform, the whole thing looks anything but one piece. And that applies in particular to the rear - which is reminiscent of a CS rear that has been cut and squeezed to a size of 900. In addition, there is an emotionless, almost faceless front and the first-generation quality defects, which are extreme even for Saab standards.
    All of this has only improved with the facelift for the 93-I - and is thus in typical Saab tradition. A 901 from the last year of construction is (the Steili faction may forgive me) in any case more coherent than the first copies or consequently the 99 Combi-Coupe - and was brand new far more reliable and better processed. But I still think it's kind of good when there are fans for it ...

  • Always amazing to read such interesting details from the history of a Saab.
    Above all, that he has more Saab genes than the scrap iron faction wants to admit ...
    And last but not least surprised the great similarity with the old 900, especially the first photo (obliquely from behind / above)

  • Hi Tom,
    First of all, I really want to thank you for your absolutely top reports about Saab. Hopefully it will always be there. Now I also wanted to say a few sentences about it. I drive Saab continuously since 1983. Starting with a used 900T, 9000 Aero, 900 16TS, 9000 I u. many more. My current one is a 9-3 convertible Aero Bj 2005 with currently 261000km and the 18 Saab within this time. I also had the 900 you presented here and NEVER was satisfied with the car. Processing and GM-Opel parts were abound in the car. That was almost the last Saab I would have bought, if not, yes, if it had not been for the Saab Spirit. Once Saab always Saab. Too bad that it is over now but I will stay with Saab u. my convertible is not the last one and I do not intend to sell it.
    One last note: at the time when GM took over Saab, they already knew that GM only needed Saab to use their unique structure, performance, technology, and everything that Saab wanted to combine and then write off Saab and give up. That was already clear then. Why had the Americans been believed? I never and should the Chinese gain a foothold here it will be the same. Saab will never be what it used to be: a great car with attributes that no other make had: flair and. Uniqueness and much more.

  • The 900-2 was my first Saab. Now I drive the things already in the 12 year. Further questions? There are always things that are not perfect for one or the other on a car. Surprise - but so on all cars!

Comments are closed.