There are vehicles that are particularly closely linked to the fate of the brand. At Saab it is the first 9-5 generation. For GM he stood for the "Rise of Saab to the world brand, off the eccentric Scandinavian". A quote from Eric Dymock's book on the brand's 50th anniversary.
The 9-5, a real GM Saab? Yes, and the first Saab according to GM philosophy at all. Let's forget the 900 II, let's ignore the 9-3 I. They all had this strange, large tailgate, the hatchback, and thus stood for what the Americans were guaranteed not to expect from Saab. It is difficult to explain that they existed at all, because even with the 50% investment in 1990, GM only wanted sedans and station wagons. But you could only prevail with the first 9-5.
A GM Saab. Still a true Saab.
The development of the 9-5 took longer than planned and it was released later than intended. Even then, there were difficulties in bringing production to quantities. Which, in retrospect, might not have been that bad. Otherwise there would have been no Saab 9000 Anniversary for the 50th anniversary and no 98 model year guaranteed.
Readers who now suspect I want to write the 9-5 in the GM corner are wrong. Because on the one hand I like the 9-5, on the other hand Saab did a lot right. In the design, emphasis was placed on Saab DNA - Einar Hareide delivered a masterpiece. The shell-shaped bonnet, to name just one example, is very much in the tradition of Saab 900 and Saab 99. In production, of course, more expensive than conventional hood panels, it represents one thing: for attention to detail.
Saab 9 5. All the nice little things.
The first Saab 9-5, the generation with the traditional grille in chrome, inspires with many small, well thought-out things. Almost 20 years have passed since then; 1997 was almost luxurious to name the Saab. The Swedes were serious, the Americans were serious. Unfortunately not for long, and both thought in opposite directions. Only you did not realize that at the time.
One result of the Nordic drama is the history of 9-5. Because with each facelift disappeared one or the other beloved kindness. Tragic? Yes, in any case. While other manufacturers gave aging models more and more features to keep them attractive, GM put on the 9-5 from the first model to the chrome frame the red pencil. Radical! And drivers of chrome Saabs should better not read on now.
Cup holder origami.
Our project saab is a 1999 model. A very early 9-5 station wagon, with many details that were no longer available later. Let's start with the tailgate. The 9-5 had the option of a 7-seater, which unfortunately never went into production. In the tailgate there is a child safety device and an inner opening for the rear seated passengers. The detail quickly disappeared, the lights in the tailgate stayed much longer. Two lamps provided light in the loading zone, two more lights in red warned the moving traffic. They were also later deleted without replacement.
Just like the pull-out floor in the luggage compartment that Saab was the first manufacturer in Europe to offer. Or the exit lights in the back of the doors. The real wood in the dashboard was later replaced with plastic, and around the shift knob or automatic lever, it was only available as an accessory.
The double sun visors and the world's most beautiful cup holder in the dashboard have survived for many years. He plays perfect cup holder origami and still inspires with his grace today and for all time. In contrast to the 9, the leather in the 5-9000 was no longer a noble Scottish product. There should never be so much upper class in a Saab, but in the first few years it was thick and valuable enough to be fun even after a long time. Later it got thinner and thinner, chrome glasses riders can feel it every day.
Ventilated seats. 1997 a world first.
The comfortable, plush armrests in the door panels were eventually replaced by cheap artificial leather, the number of exit lights in the doors reduced to two, the remote unlocking of the fuel filler flap disappeared. Always on board remained the active headrests, always there was a surcharge the ventilated seats. They helped the 9-5 to become a high-class character.
The 9-5 has remained a great car with fun potential throughout its construction period. The austerity spree, from 1997 to 2010, stands for the ratio of American owners to their Swedish investment. Less than 10 years after the complete takeover, there was the first reconstruction, not much later GM's final exit. Saab 9-5 with the traditional grill are today cheap to get. Even very good vehicles are rarely more expensive than 5.000,00 €, they offer all the nice little things that did not exist later.