This Saab 900 Turbo - driving fun without digital assistants

The Saab 900 Turbo is parked in front of the door. The ignition key is on the desk. Can I last a long time in the office? I do what is necessary, grab the key and mumble something about having to go to Frankfurt for a while. And I'm gone! That was necessary because this Saab 900 Turbo is waiting in the parking lot.

The night before. I fight my way through Frankfurt's rush hour traffic. Driving 900 is archaic. The list of assistance systems available on board is limited to power steering and a brake booster. Otherwise there is nothing. No ABS, no ESP and certainly no lane keeping or coffee drinking assistants.

Oh, this Saab 900 Turbo!
Oh, this Saab 900 Turbo!

The air conditioning doesn't work, you don't need it! Not in the Saab 900 Turbo. Rear pop-up windows open, sunroof open. This works quite well as long as the load is rolling. If she stands, it gets uncomfortably warm.

The 900 has a 3-speed automatic. That's not bad in rush hour traffic. A moment of commemoration, then it starts. 1 – 2 – 3 and more does not exist. This works well, better than expected. The 900 moves towards Frankfurter Kreuz. Things get tricky when one of these computer-aided vehicles cuts in the gap between Saab and the vehicle in front at a distance of a postage stamp.

Then the blood pressure shoots up. The 900 is only borrowed, and no one seems to have any respect for the H license plate.

On the highway

The turbo should reach 180 as top speed. I believe him, leave it at a comfortable 120 to 130 km/h. It's noisy on board. Open windows, open sunroof, the mechanics leave no doubt as to their eagerness to work. It's not annoying. This is original driving, something for all the senses.

The 900 Turbo is sovereign. It is, to describe it concretely, sufficiently motorized. If it has to go faster, the speedometer quickly reads 160! He does this calmly, conveying the feeling of always having enough reserves. Like one of the big V8 engines, which could casually shake their power from displacement.

Get off the highway. On the country road.

Then, having arrived in Bavaria, I leave the A3. It continues on the country road and on my home route. In a fast S-curve, the 900 feels sporty. Which, as a look at the speedometer shows, is more a feeling than a fact. More modern cars are faster but don't convey that feeling. The landing gear is worth noting. A short wheelbase, live axle at the rear, coil springs at the front. Doesn't sound that impressive at first. But it's well done.

The 900 Turbo still conveys good driving comfort and great, safe road holding. Other car companies, even 10 or 20 years later, did not do the tuning of the strong front-wheel drive as well as the people at Saab. Respect, and the desire for electronic assistants does not arise in this car.

The 900 is parked next to the 9000 in the carport. In direct comparison, it looks pretty massive and representative. Also very modern, although it is also one of the classics.

The next day

I am sitting in the office. The vehicle key is on the table. My thoughts revolve around the 900. I see the Ymos lettering on his key. There was something! Ymos (Link), once one of the major German suppliers to the automotive industry. A company that is history today. There is an old Ymos factory near me.

Parts for the Saab 900 were also manufactured there. A detour to a historical place. The red Saab poses for a photo in front of Gate 3. Today the factory premises belong to an investor, it bears the name Waldaschaff Automotive (Link). Like many larger companies in the region, it is Chinese. Times are different, but not better.

Back to Frankfurt

Another word about automation! This filigree, elegant stalk of the automatic, which protrudes into the interior, would also cut a fine figure in a Daimler or Rolls-Royce. It looks aristocratic and suits this car better in 2020 than it did in 1987.

It says: "Don't rush me through the area, we'll get to our destination with peace of mind!” The 900 becomes a companion on the journey. He's not an athlete, even if he could be.

I have no idea how many of the 145 HP in the machine disappear never to be seen again. It doesn't matter either. The 900 Turbo is fun. It's tight, it's loud. He's incredibly stylish. Every single kilometer is a pleasure. You register the amount of experiences and impressions that modern cars steal from us.


Gerard Ratzmann from Saab Service Frankfurt (Link) got his 900 back. I'm sitting in my 9-3 Aero. Air-conditioned, 4-speed automatic, also 20 years old. The journey through time is not quite over yet. I feel like it's 1993, the first time I drove a second series 900 Turbo. And marveled at how quiet and comfortable this car is.

8 thoughts on "This Saab 900 Turbo - driving fun without digital assistants"

  • blank

    Actually, I didn't want to write anything about YMOS AG, it is just a side note in the article and, if at all, at best of local importance.

    However, the mention made me wonder how she ended up? Since 2000 there has been 'only' one management company for the factory premises and some investments that went bankrupt in 2009 when they could no longer pay their company pensions. And then?

    In any case, the website is still online, even if no current information can be found on it. Apparently, the shares are still listed on the stock exchange and flare up every now and again when a reorganization and development plan for the factory premises goes through the press.
    Without having finally researched it, it looks to me as if the company has been in bankruptcy for 11 years now. So you can ask yourself how this is possible?

    And here, at least for me, the circle to Saab closes again and I ask myself, what does Saab Automobile's insolvency proceedings actually do?
    Admittedly not the most entertaining topic, but maybe the blog team can go into it again in the articles about Trollhättan that were announced after the big and small dramas in the auto industry, because somehow I am interested.

  • blank

    ... and if you use it as a “daily driver” like me, you even feel a little sorry for all others who don't know this driving experience and will probably never get to know it. These mobile cash register systems (it beeps everywhere ...) are a completely different way of driving a car!

  • blank

    The coffee-drinking-lane-keeping-whatever assistant sits between my ears.

  • blank

    Coffee tracking assistance

    Very beautiful ! ! !

  • blank


    Automatic in the 900 I, I still find it very special. If you stay below 100 km / h, the background noise is pleasant. At medium freeway speeds, the speed level is already too high and takes some getting used to. Only from 160 km / h and above, wind and engine noise mix into a more pleasant mix. I still like to drive my vending machine and prefer to be a little more comfortable on the road. If one assumes that the machine was introduced at SAAB at a time when the domestic market was used as a benchmark, i.e. maximum speed of 110 km / h, then this slightly bizarre-looking automatic / motor combination is more understandable. Since I got my machine for free, I appreciate it as it is. I would still buy a switch.

    Greetings from Erik

  • blank

    Very nice report - written with devotion and heart!
    It brings back long-held thoughts: Do I need, in addition to Saab 9-3 II and Trabant P601, a third car, a Saab 900 Turbo?
    The more I read along here, the more advanced my thoughts become ...

    • blank

      These thoughts come inevitably when you drive the 900 Turbo. Do you need? No. Do you want? Yes. A stylish car, with or without automatic. Fortunately, I already have another (new) insanity going, so the 900 Turbo is not that dangerous.

  • blank

    The filigree, elegant stem…. Aristocatical ... who comes up with something like that except Tom, of course? Suddenly you see the automatic with completely different eyes. Simply delicious!

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