Hard to imagine actually! FIA officials at a small car manufacturer take 3 randomly selected vehicles of a completely newly developed type off the production line. Then they are chased 100.000 kilometers day and night at high speed over a racetrack. Not just any, but the merciless Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, where Mercedes and Audi had previously failed.
How would it turn out today, 30 years later? What if you tried to drive the Talladega Long Run again with current vehicles from any manufacturer? In brutal heat, without a break, without mercy for the material and with constant full throttle? With today's consumption- and material-optimized engines? Would the 3-cylinder, turbo-ventilated downsizing and progress miracles survive 100.000 kilometers of high speed? There could be a reason why manufacturers are no longer planning crazy things like this.
In 1986, the world was a different one. Not a better one, but maybe more honest. Automobiles were built to last, and if in doubt, components were rather oversized. It was like that at Saab - the brand seemed to be on the rise. The 9000 was selling like crazy, anything seemed possible back then. Long gone, and who would have thought at Saab in 1986 that 25 years later everything would be history?
Talladega Long Run 30 år Jubileum
In October we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Talladega Long Run. Mark and I are preparing a series of articles that will revive the old Saab times and the 9000. It's about 30 years ago, the Long Run, the role of the Saab 9000 in its day and why it was the most important and innovative car in the brand's history. Of course we also write about missed opportunities, secret and never realized projects. The series starts on October 7th; the day when Saab started the record drive in Alabama.
The Saab Museum is also planning for October and the big anniversary; Visitors who will be in the home of our brand at this time should plan a visit to Trollhättan.
Of course, an anniversary is always an occasion for some Saab craziness. We thought of a lot about the Talladega Long Run, because somehow you have to show your flag and prove to the world that the brand is not dead after all. As a prelude there is the anniversary sticker in the style of the wild 80s Turbo years. Fits not only on a 9000, but on every Saab. The Talladega “30 år Jubileum” sticker is available as always in our fan shop.