Project Cecilia

Last summer, Bil Museum showed milestones in Saab 9000 development. The story behind the first big Saab is known. It started in the middle of the 70er of the last century. Saab needed a larger vehicle to advance into new, prestigious and profitable segments.

Saab Cecilia
Saab Cecilia

Saab was already considered a small producer back then; the complete development of a new model without outside help was unthinkable. Support came from the Fiat Group, the prelude to the Tipo4 story, from which the Saab 9000, Lancia Thema, Fiat Croma and Alfa 164 should emerge. The plan to save costs with 75% identical parts did not work out.

The philosophy of the manufacturers was too different: Lancia constructed the theme from outside to inside, Saab took the opposite route. The cooperation between North and South already ended 1981, with the same parts remained at 4 doors.

Only in design could Italy beat Trollhättan. Coggiola, Bertone, Ital Design and the team led by Björn Envall provided designs. The contract was awarded to Ital Design only Giorgetto Giugiaro. He supplied the design of a sedan, a backyard, and a station wagon (?). We never saw the latter. Saab design boss Björn Envall was to come to the train only years later at the CS.

The Cecilia project

The first test vehicles have been on the road since 1975. Converted Saab 99 tested chassis parts, from 1979 you could observe strange Saab 900 in the area of ​​Trollhättan. Your code name: Cecilia. What looked like a 900 on testosterone was a test vehicle. The 9000 floor assembly with the new drive unit was under the body. The 15 centimeter longer wheelbase and the 8 centimeter wider track show the growth that is immediately noticeable when switching. The classic 901 is now considered a small car, while the interior of the 9000 offers the impression of endless expanses.

The Cecilia shown in the Bil Museum is a relatively late experimental vehicle. It is from the year 1982 (or 81, the sources are not unique), the chassis number carries 17. The condition is original, it was for the 30 years Saab 9000 anniversary brought after a long time from the magazine of the museum. Her condition was not always good, she was noticeably polished without taking the patina. A workhorse, not an exhibition car. You can see her working life as a test vehicle. 56.310 kilometers are on the speedometer, the interior carries iconic red velor.

Cecilia is an authentic piece of history. Saab 9000 drivers immediately recognize the technology driving here with a look under the car. The robust, helical spring-guided rigid axle with Panhard rod speaks a clear language. In the 80er years state of the art, the 9000 drives so very comfortable.

Behind Cecilia summer 2015 parked the first 9000 Turbo, the Saab 9000 CS Ecosport study. Another story about exciting innovations. Coming soon topic on the blog. With the 9000 CC drove Saab in the 80er years out of the crisis, before the tapes were often silent for weeks. The premiere of the great Saab sparked enthusiasm. Anyone who had a purchase contract for a 9000 CC in his pocket, could pass it on with a surcharge. Delivery times of more than a year, which should be before or after Saab, caused long waiting periods.

The importance of the 9000 CC for brand history has long been underestimated. At times it was almost forgotten and the fans ignored it. Pity ! The first 9000 is the car that saved the individualist brand Saab over the 80s. Only a few copies will make it to the H license plate.

4 thoughts on "Project Cecilia"

  • You have probably read “Saab - the first 40 years”. Saab just didn't have a platform for the 901 successor, and everything that was developed was too close to the 9000. Because too big. And would have cannibalized the 9000. But I think that Saab made money with the 9000, even if you did a lot of nonsense. For example, the start of production in Malmö.

  • Interesting report!

    But is not the 9000 the car, which did cause problems because the development was so expensive? I read in a book that Saab 3 has started projects using the 9000 technique to develop the new 900, which has always been too expensive. Obviously an attempt to intercept the development costs of a second model something. Despite the success and long term of the 900, there seems to have been too little money for its new development.

    It would explain why the 9000 was a success after all. “Premium” actually no longer means coal for the seller, but a superior product for the buyer. People just noticed that.

  • Hi Tom,
    Thank you for this contribution. I saw Cecilia at the Bil Museum last year and got doubts whether I hadn't drunk too much latte oil the night before when I saw the transverse engine in the 900. Best wishes

  • Thank you for the report! For me as a "New Saab driver" of an 9000er (BJ 1990) very interesting.

    Great that even a Cecilia vehicle has survived and was not given after recycling for recycling.

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