Before 40 years ago. Saab changes the world with the turbo.

We celebrate an anniversary. Again ! Because actually there would have been many occasions this year. The Saab brand would have been 70 years old. The first 9-5 generation came on the market before 20 years. But the most important date ever is the September 1977.

Saab 99 Turbo, pearly white. Image: Saab Automobile Archive /

Before 40 years ago. Saab gives the world the turbo.

It was in Frankfurt, it was IAA. At the Saab stand there is a small, pearl-white painted car. A turbo, the first of the cult brand from Sweden. The Saab 99 Turbo conjured legendary 145 horsepower from 2 liter displacement and balanced 235 Nm on the crankshaft. Spectacular, at least for the time.

The driving experience was far more impressive than the data on paper. The 99 Turbo was like from another world. A good vacuum cleaner, until finally - after an eternally long turbo lag - the thrust started. Then little Saab ran as if all of Sweden's elks were after him. Larger, stronger and more prestigious vehicles only saw the rear. The wild turbo years had started.

Granted, he was uncultivated and demanded a lot from his driver. The front-wheel drive had its hands full to put the power on the road. He was also a bit bitchy, and wanted to be cooled down carefully after a quick Autobahnhatz. Running after standing for a few minutes was mandatory at the time. At least until Saab introduced the water cooling in the turbo.

Glowing turbos at night, water injection for more power. Increase the boost pressure, larger charge air cooler. These were unreasonable times, and future generations will probably just shake their heads. But the turbo was from now on part of the fascination Saab. In 900, a bit more sophisticated, but still with the feeling that the afterburner is igniting. Accompanied by a beautiful turbopipe and exhaust sound. Later in the 9000 already very perfect, extremely confident and with performance that was far superior to the common road users. Who had once burned this turbo experience in the brain windings, which was dependent. Lost for all time. There was Saab and everything else was just a car from that point on.

Thanks Saab for 40 years Turbo!

Saab did not invent the turbo. But, and that's the real merit, Saab continued to consistently use this technology until the end of the brand. She cultivated, refined her. Brought the soft turbo that consistently eliminated the dreaded turbo lag.

Today almost every car has a turbocharged engine. Well, sometimes not so well done. Mostly irrelevant and without own character. The fascination that Saab turbo engines exerted can not be found in any other brand. Saab was turbo and Saab was a fascination. Nice that we were allowed to be there. And thanks for great 40 years!

12 thoughts on "Before 40 years ago. Saab changes the world with the turbo."

  • Saab Turbo Viggen, although built 1999, but still a terrific start from low speeds. Not only fun, no, such a Viggen addictive.

  • Even if I love my SAAB, these lines make me think of my first ride in a Tesla S two weeks ago. I was just a passenger. The acceleration is unbelievable - like from another planet! It must have felt roughly 40 years ago.

  • Paul harshly and the 210 hp and 320 Nm that he then has easily make up for the extra weight ...

  • I do not know how much white they had as color at that time, my 99 Turbo was definitely white.
    The turbo lag was about 2 seconds, then came the bums. So I already had the 900er loader in the 99

  • Totally true. I was traveling with Paul over 400 kilometers on Sunday. The difference between an 150 PS 9k and a 9-5 station wagon is enormous. You can tell every kilo more on the plate.

  • My comment, do not make any clever sayings, just a pity that the time is over. So maintain the stock, until it just does not work, but still lasting.

  • This is partly due to the significant weight gain that came with the 9-5 collection. There's a lot of torque going on. With the old comparatively light turbos 9k, 902 / 9-3I you can still drive many a fat middle class question mark in the face

  • The turbo development at Saab is more like a Gauss curve. The peak reached with the 2,3l in the Saab 9000 never before or after has a Saab engine (gasoline) so early its full torque available. An 9-5 Aero looks like soft-flushed despite an extra performance against an 9k Aero.

  • I remember very well, as I driving with my driver's 9000 Turbo (he in the passenger seat) with a fresh driver's license also a Porsche 944 have left on the highway. We both had a big grin on our face

  • Originally Posted by Tom: Who once burned this turbo experience in the brain coils, which was dependent. Lost for all time.
    Yep, that's right. In a nutshell.
    I miss my SAAB…. 🙁

  • I still enjoy the turbo, in my 900 Aero, with a smile on my face,
    and hope the 944 driver has recovered his shock on the German Autobahn before 25 years ago

  • Great article. SAAB = Turbo = feeling of life!

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