Saab 9000 CS 4wd

It was a few years ago. During a visit to the Saab Museum Trollhättan, the conversation with museum curator Peter Bäckström came on the Saab 9000 and on all-wheel drive. An 9000er powered on all four wheels? Never heard of it. The topic did not release me even months later; the story behind this model is exciting.

Saab 9000 CS 4wd
Saab 9000 CS 4wd

The story of the Saab 9000 CS 4wd goes something like this: The Saab Motorsport department experimented in the 70s and 80s with all sorts of ideas to improve traction in sporting use. Sigvard "Sigge ”Johansson, or simply Saab-Sigge, invented an electronic limited slip differential in 1980 to give the rally vehicles even more traction.

This certain Sigge Johansson is the offspring of a Saab family - old Saab nobility, if you will. His father-in-law Days Flodén worked as a toolmaker in the Stallbacka, helping to get the Saab 92 to be the brand's first series production vehicle. His son Peter Johansson was also involved in development for Saab. He was involved in making the Turbo X, Saab's first all-wheel-drive production model, ready for series production.

While in the 80s and 90s the motorsport involvement in Sweden decreased more and more, a brand from southern Germany started its triumphal march with the Quattro concept. At Saab a reason to develop in this direction as well. In 1987 at least one prototype based on the Saab 9000 CC was created, and Saab experimented with a further development of the “Sigge Johansson” differential and an all-wheel drive system based on Torsen differentials. In 1992 at least one other prototype was created, now based on the 9000 CS.

The Saab 9000 CS 4wd test vehicles, equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and a new rear axle developed by Saab, are said to have worked well. The traction is said to have been unique, especially on snow and ice. Nevertheless, the development was stopped.

Why? With the Calibra 4 × 4, the GM subsidiary Opel brought an all-wheel drive model that was more simply constructed than what was ready-made on the shelves at Saab. The Calibra was seen as a sporting highlight in the group - and as an image carrier. Saab took a step back. Voluntarily, how to admit. And it was a mistake, as they say today.

The Saab 9000 CS 4wd, with permanent all-wheel drive and charged 280 PS - other sources speak of 285 PS - would have been more than just on par with the aspiring brand from Ingolstadt. In the meantime there was already the V8 series with Quattro drive, the urge of a certain Mr. Piech including willingness to conflict in the direction of Wolfsburg was unchecked. While in Trollhättan the struggle with Detroit was avoided ...

The whereabouts of the first test vehicle based on CC, possibly more than one copy, has not been clarified. A 9000 Saab 4 CS 1992wd survived. It stands, with a little more than 109.000 kilometers, in the depot of the Saab Museum in Trollhättan. The condition of the first four-wheel drive Saab is pathetic, there is no money for restoration. It is not desirable to take pictures of the objects in the depot, the picture shown is from 2012.

At the Saab Festival 2015, 30 years of Saab were a marginal topic, the all-wheel drive story and the 9000 4wd stayed in the magazine. Why? Was it because of the bad condition or was it not interested in exciting stories? Even an unrestored 4wd would have attracted more attention than the rest of the, certainly well-intentioned “It's my Saab” exhibition, which would have fit in well in a year without a festival.

While Saab ignored a major opportunity in the 90s, the four-wheel drive story came to a forgiving conclusion for the Johansson family. Sigge Johansson left Saab in 1984, took the plunge into self-employment and had his inventions patented. Haldex, a company with international renown and certain Saab roots, emerged from his ideas. Saab Sigge left this world in 2011. He could still see his son Peter Johansson, in his capacity as Saab developer, presented the Turbo X as the first four-wheel drive Saab and the world's first car with Haldex25 clutch to the press at Circuit Paul Ricard in 4 with a delay of almost 2008 years. But that's another story…

14 thoughts on "Saab 9000 CS 4wd"

  • A Popel Calibra as a premium vehicle on the throne? ? ?

    That's just too stupid! ! !

    In general, this kind of internal corporate competitiveness is just banana. The VW Group builds (and sells) station wagons that are very similar in size, target group and technology without any problems. Playing a Calibra against a 3 is no longer the proverbial comparison of apples and pears but of meat with vegetables ...

    SAAB truly became artificially small and broken.

    As always exciting and informative, this article. And as always (of course, it's about SAAB and the story is so sad) it's kind of annoying.

  • Always exciting, what had Saab in the quiver and still has not brought.

  • a four-wheel 9k that would have been, as I would probably the 9-7x not come into the house, but that would have been a pity too.

    What I still don't understand: Why didn't the GM people just let the Swedes do everything? ... or even instigated innovations? In the end, the Saabe would be high-quality innovative vehicles in small series and always ahead in terms of price and technology. The things that everyone then wants to have optimized for mass production and implemented in global brands. That would have raised the reputation of the other brands in the group and not damaged SAAB's. Since it was unfortunately done the other way around ...., well a shame !! A shop like GM should be able to afford a development department with an attached trial production.

  • We come back to the topic again, Mark and I are on it. At the moment: no idea what would be required.

  • Not for the green one, but for the 4wd. We are working on it and want to be back later.

  • What would cost such a restoration for the 9000 four-wheel drive? Does anyone have a clue ? I think I would totally misjudge it. I had nothing to do with the rusty hobby so far.

  • Perhaps 9-5 2.8t Fwd?

  • can we do some fund-raising to have the Saab 9000 TurboX restored?

  • So in the year 2002 the certain company from the small tranquil city not far from Gothenburg, 8 9-5 with just this all-wheel technology as so-called 9-5 Viggen has tested.
    These vehicles had borrowed from the Corvette, a V8 with 5.2 and 6.0 liter displacement
    Unfortunately, GM also said no to mass production here.
    Unfortunately, I do not know what happened to the vehicles, although Angang 2002 even had pictures of them at AMS.
    This would have the South German brands but properly graze the water.

  • Nevertheless happy that there is still Haldex today; the technology is still there. Great story Tom; Many thanks.

  • As is usually the case: The Swedes were (and are?) Too timid - at that time especially when they appeared to GM.

  • It would probably still be SAAB. The image would have changed permanently in the 90 years, see the 4-rings brand. The TX and the awesome XWD were just too late, 2008 had already sucked the drops.

  • that would have been it! It would be a hit, (if) then we would also have the 9-5 1 4wd… OMG 🙁

  • Too bad that he never went into series production. I would have been happy if he had been there at the festival but unfortunately no nein

Comments are closed.