The schedule was tight, but Saab kept the deadlines, more or less. 1993 is ready for delivery to the 900 II, and it has become a real Saab. The design quotes its predecessor, and it brings many innovations on the way.
The ingenious Nightpanel, then called the Black Panel, is one of them. Passengers on the rear seat reliably protect a newly developed carrier that receives the headrests and straps. A Saab idea, implemented by Autoliv, which also improves the rigidity of the body. The Safeseat Concept is another milestone. It prevents the passengers from diving under the seat belt during the accident. The great Saab Trionic is now also in the middle class. Ergonomics, safety and environmental friendliness mean that the new is groundbreaking.
The 900 II is comfortable, practical and very fast with the powerful turbo engines. Optionally a sports car, a station wagon or a family car. A multitool and just typical Saab.
The Saab 900 II and the alternative facts.
Nevertheless, dark clouds are gathering. It takes revenge that an almost finished project was transformed onto a foreign platform under time pressure. Two worlds, two philosophies, that couldn't go well! Quality and manufacturing problems are increasing, which is also due to the increased clock rate in the Saab factory. The production time that has been reduced from 110 for the 900 I to 40 hours for the 900 II is perhaps too ambitious. Saab sets up a task force, pulls developers away from other projects. Improves under pressure. As production progresses, the 900 II gets better from year to year.
At the same time, the press is firing on the new Saab. Constructs an Opel family that does not even exist to this extent. There is hardly any Opel under the sheet metal. Except for the V6, the famous engines all come from Saab. The manual transmissions from Saab, the automatic from Aisin. Opel buys Saab transmissions on a large scale, which are more robust than their own designs, and installs them in their own vehicles. The press doesn't write about it.
Many come from medium-sized Swedish suppliers who have worked for Saab long before. Yes, in the interior one finds scattered counters from the group shelves. At the mirrors, for example. That's not different with other small brands. Aston Martin has Ford switches in the interior, Volvo too. The brand from Gothenburg has been using Ford's floor panels for decades on a grand scale. But nobody in the press is interested, nobody writes the cars down.
The 900 II is a Saab through and through. Until just on the bottom group, which, however, was heavily modified. Only the handling, the slightly wooden rolling, reminiscent of an Opel. It is the unholy sound of Vectra and Co, who keeps recalling the organ donation from Rüsselsheim.
But the alternative facts are an effective poison. To this day, the 900 II has not gotten rid of the unjustified Opel image of the 80s.
1993, beyond Sweden.
I've been driving Saab since 1992. A 900 S Sport. A black coupe with a sunroof, leather, air conditioning and everything you could want. I am very satisfied, but my Saab dealer no longer exists. Saab Germany is temporarily taking over the dealership, and while my 900 is being inspected, I drive the new 900 II.
There are cars that leave an impression. Their first ride you will never forget. And there are cars that you never remember. As if they never existed. The 900 II belongs to the first kind. I remember as if it had been yesterday, at the first meeting. The strong 185 PS Turbo, the quiet in the interior and the then perceived as generous space. The gearbox, which was so soft compared to the 900 I, and the great seats. A dream of a car, and a big hit.
Saab was at the forefront with the 900 II. I liked the car from the first moment, but I did not buy one. Why? That said inspection ended in disaster for Saab. It was followed by an unpleasant correspondence and in the end the agreement only under legal pressure. All this would have been avoidable if one had accepted the obvious.
What happened? The brake pads were due during the inspection. They were calculated, but not exchanged. A mistake, perhaps, a negligence. A few days later sheet metal braked on sheet metal, the brake discs were then also behind them. Saab Germany refused to admit the mistake until my lawyer took on the matter.
My Saab story could have been over at that time. But she was not. I drove on several Saab 900 and ignored the brand and its official agencies otherwise. That did not change until years later, when an unexpected Saab manager was standing in front of my door. The initial spark to buy a new Saab. But that's another story.
The 900 II saved Saab from destruction. As a project 102 he brought the rescue, without which GM would not have entered Trollhättan. Its design is typical of a Saab, as well as its interior, the powerful engines, the clever innovations. Actually, everything, until just on the bottom group. Soberly, she was a completely impossible choice, just as the relationship with the Americans was unimportant from the start. But there were no alternatives. Without GM, and without the base of the Opel Vectra platform, the saga of Saab 1990 or 91 would have been over.
The 900 II is a car with a tragic history. The madness of marrying a very advanced project with an unknown floor pan has cost Saab a lot of money and reputation. It would probably have been cheaper to start over in 1990 with a blank sheet of paper. But looking back, you're always smarter.
In addition, almost everything Saab did from 1990 was insane. A company that had launched just 1947 new cars from 1990 to 3 was in top form. In the plant world this is called “fear bloom”, the fear of doom. At the same time as the 900 II, the second 9000 generation rolled out and development for the first luxury Saab began - without major investments and without hiring more employees. The top-class Saab never existed, so ultimately there was a lack of courage. 900 II and 9000 II have become fabulous cars, beware of this achievement!
The 900 II deserves to be maintained and maintained by the fans. Because he has an unusual story to tell. And which car can it already?
But unfortunately the opposite is the case. The alternative facts of the motor press, which for various reasons did not want to deal with the true history of its origins, still have an effect today. What a pity. A missed opportunity, because the genesis provides good material and a lot of drama. Finding a good 900 II today has become difficult. They were needed and consumed. But seldom loved.