This Saab 900 Turbo. Driving fun without assistants.

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

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

The evening before ... I struggle through Frankfurt's after-work 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. The air conditioning doesn't work, you don't need it either! Not in the Saab 900 Turbo. Open rear window, sunroof open. This works pretty well as long as the load is rolling. When it stands, it gets warm.

The 900 has a 3-speed automatic. Not bad in rush hour traffic. A second of commemoration, then it starts. 1 - 2 - 3 and more is not possible. Works well, better than expected. The 900 moves towards Frankfurter Kreuz. It only gets tricky when one of these computer-assisted vehicles breaks into the gap between Saab and the vehicle in front at a stamp distance. Then the blood pressure shoots up. The 900 is only borrowed and nobody seems to have any respect for the H license plate.

On the highway

The turbo should reach 180 as the top speed. I believe it, leave it at a comfortable 120 to 130 km / h. It is loud on board. Open windows, open sunroof, the mechanics leave no doubt about their zeal for work. It is not annoying. This is original driving, something for all the senses. The 900 Turbo is sovereign. To describe it concretely, it is sufficiently motorized. If you have to go faster, 160 are quickly on the speedometer! He does it calmly, conveying the feeling of always having enough reserves. Just like one of the big V8 engines, which could shake its performance casually out of its displacement.

Get off the highway. On the country road.

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

The 900 Turbo still conveys good driving comfort and great, safe road holding. The coordination of the powerful front-wheel drive did not bring other car companies, even 10 or 20 years later, 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 massive and representative. Also very modern, although it is already a classic.

The next day

I am sitting in the office. The car key is on the table. Thoughts revolve around the 900. I can see the Ymos lettering on his key. There was something! Ymos, once one of the major German suppliers to the automotive industry. A company that is history today. There is an old Ymos plant near me.

Parts for the Saab 900 were also manufactured there. A detour to a historical place. In front of gate 3, the red Saab poses for a photo. Today the site belongs to a Chinese investor and has a different name. Like many larger companies in the region. Times are different, but not better.

Back to Frankfurt

One more word about the automatic! This delicate, elegant stem that protrudes into the interior would also look good in a Daimler or Rolls-Royce. It looks aristocratic and fits this car better in 2020 than in 1987. It says: "Do not rush me through the area, we will reach our destination calmly!" The 900 becomes a companion on the journey. He is not an athlete, even if he could.

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


Gerard Ratzmann has his 900 again. I'm sitting in my 9-3 aero. Air-conditioned, 4-speed automat, already 20 years old. The journey through time is not yet at the end. I feel like 1993 when I first drove a 900 series second turbo. And was amazed at how quiet and comfortable this car is.

8 thoughts on "This Saab 900 Turbo. Driving fun without assistants."

  • 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 it ended? Since 2000, it was 'only' a management company for the factory premises and some of the holdings that went bankrupt in 2009 when it was no longer able to pay the 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.

  • … And if you use it like me as a “daily driver”, you even feel pity for everyone else who doesn’t know this driving feeling and will probably never get to know it. These mobile checkout systems (there is a beeping sound everywhere ...) are a completely different way of driving a car!

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

  • Coffee tracking assistance

    Very beautiful ! ! !

  • 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.

  • Hi,

    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

  • Very nice report - written with dedication 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 here, the more advanced my thoughts become ...

  • The delicate, elegant stem…. Aristocratic ... Who comes up with anything like that, of course, except Tom? Suddenly you see the automatic with completely different eyes. Simply delicious!

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