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.
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 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.