So, I saw this 1974 Saab brochure and thought, huh, Saabs! I sure do miss Saabs! I was going to go on and on about how amazing it was that at one time you could walk into a Saab dealer and be able to pick from a new Saab 99 or an older Saab 96 and how interesting and so-rational-they’re-weird they were and then I was going to go on a tangent about how interesting it is that this amazing company somehow never really came up with their own engines, at least at first, starting with a DKW-derived three-cylinder two stroke and then moving to a Ford V4 and then a Triumph-designed inline four, and then I was going to talk about the ignition key between the seats, but all of that got derailed when I found an owners manual and saw this:
It’s a little page in the owner’s manual where Saab brags about all the cool shit they do. Let’s look at this thing clockwise, why not? Like the Scania division making huge trucks or how they famously make fighter aircraft and then also humble but important valves for power plants, and then we get the one that stopped me. Saab made computers?
What the hell? Datasaab? How did I not know this? Why aren’t I using a Datasaab laptop right now, controlled via a pair of trackpads on the underside of the computer or something like that?
Well, part of the reason why I’m not is that Datasaab, which started in the 1950s to help with the design for Saab’s aircraft division, was acquired by Ericsson in the early ’80s, and late Nokia, and then later Fujitsu. They made mainframes in the 1950s under the SARA name, and later made onboard computers for their fighter aircraft and then a mainframe computer series called the D20. They also did development of automated teller machines and all sorts of other computational stuff.
You probably want to watch some Swedish films about this, don’t you? Of course you do:
Want a little more? Yeah you do:
Maybe just focus on this for the rest of today? I’ll tell your boss you’re busy.
I was watching a news report yesterday on a BBC or DW (or some other European) show (or maybe it was on Youtube? I can’t remember). It was about the different kinds of anti-tank weapons being used successfully in the Ukraine to downsize Putin’s armor inventory. There were four different main kinds: the Javelin, something else, and the two smallest/lightest/cheapest ones were made by a Saab firm, including this one: https://www.saab.com/products/nlaw
Saab remains one of the coolest car companies, even if it’s currently a zombie.
Fun fact: The song for this Saab commercial was written on a Datasaab mainframe
…….I made that up. I’m just always looking for a way to shove this commercial into a discussion.
I also miss SAAB (it’s in capital letters, like GMC or BMW, for Svenska Aeroplan Aktie Bolaget), but I don’t really feel entitled to it, because I haven’t owned one yet.
It’s probably going to be a 1967-73 96 V4. I love them in the dark hunter’s green and the mustard coloured one is also cool! Or maybe a fuel injected late 4 door OG 900. I don’t think I can afford a Turbo..
I can see Sweden from my home (CPH, DK) so it’s not going to be too big a task for me to find a nice one.
You should look up Aging Wheels on Youtube! He rebuild the entire engine in his Saab 96 and even upgraded it to a two barrel carb, very interesting series to watch imo.
Oh, I have been a a big fan of Robert Dunn and his YouTube channels for a long time! But thanks 🙂
Here’s another channel with interesting SAAB (turbo) projects: https://www.youtube.com/@LivingMyBoostLife
Wrong. Only the aerospace company was ever officially SAAB. All cars were produced and called Saab, not SAAB despite their official logo looking like “SAAB”. Saab, the company name, was not an initialism like GMC or BMW, but rather an acronym that itself had been used as a word. Even then, the airplane/jet division transitioned away from SAAB (a true acronym) to Saab (a name derived from an acronym) in the ’50s.
Just think about it, you say G-M-C and B-M-W, but you don’t say S-A-A-B.
I owned a ’96 900 SE turbo that was a fantastic vehicle, and I also owned a ’73 96 V4 that was a fun and interesting little car.
So what about FIAT, SEAT or IFA? 😉
I’m not sure about those, but I do know about Saab. Heck, here’s an ad from Saab, calling it Saab.
Nice one. Thanks.
And fun to see it both ways in that ad (capitalized in the bottom) 🙂
So OK: Saab was a car made by the company SAAB.
Capitalized at the bottom was their logo; I addressed that already. It’s just like how Lego’s logo is stylized as “LEGO”, the company is still Lego. It’s a stylistic choice for a logo.
No. Like I said before Saab (the aerospace company and former owner of Saab Automobile AB) stopped being SAAB in the early ’50s. They became Saab AB. Yes, their official logo was “SAAB”.
I hate to be so specific and nitpicky, but you started it…
So, to break it down:
Svenska Aeroplan AB quickly became SAAB, which then became Saab Group, which then became Saab AB. During all of that time they used (and still do) a logo “SAAB”, and for some time happened to own a car company. This company had a merger and at one point with Scania (Scania-Vabis AB), and became Saab-Scania AB, or just Saab-Scania. The Saab portion during this time was still Saab, and used the “SAAB” logo, sometimes a SAAB-SCANIA logo.
Saab, the car company, was always Saab, and almost always had a “SAAB” logo. At some point Saab AB decided to sell a portion of their automotive division to General Motors. When they did this, they spun it off as Saab Automobile AB, and it was co-owned by both Saab AB (then known as Saab-Scania) and GM. Later on, GM bought out Saab AB, and Saab Automobile AB was a full subsidiary of GM.
I passed an original, pre-GM 900 sedan on my way to work this morning and it was so delightful to see. Made my day.
In that last video, at the 2:45 mark, did Saab develop a freaking arc reactor?! Why aren’t we all flying around in Saab Iron Man suits right now?!
Looks like it to me. I’m not sure what that is.
My ’96 900 Turbo 3-door (yeah I know it’s a post GM acquisition car but it was still quirky and cool as hell) was the ultimate do it all car. The backseat was actually usable, and it swallowed up an absolute ton of stuff. It was fun to drive, and in my opinion nice to look at (it was GREEN). I miss it dearly, and I wish someone made something similar to it today.
My ’99 9-3 was all those things (GREEN!) and it was a convertible too! Awesome car.
I desperately miss Saabs too. They were unique. A true iconoclast’s car. They were fun to drive, engaging, yet also practical (I hauled lots of pieces of furniture in the backs of my old Saab hatchbacks). Of all the cars I regret selling and can’t afford to buy today, the Viggen is at the top of the list.
They had personality, character, and soul that no other mass-produced car can match. They disappeared because not enough people appreciate, or even have, those traits.
I’ve owned over 100 cars, but driving a Saab always felt special. There’s no way to understand unless you’ve had one. No manufacturer has the stones to build a line like that today (Subaru might come the closest with the WRX, STi, and BRZ, but even they’re losing it by giving in to cost-cutting and touch screens for everything).
There was a kid in high school (mid 90’s) who’s Dad gave him a little money to go buy a car. Dad was a big shot and was tired of driving him to school. Anyhow, as the resident car geeks, he came to me and my friend to ask what car he should buy. We asked a bunch of questions, then one Saturday we went shopping with him. Test drove a bunch of things, including a used 900. We tried every trick we knew to convince him to by that Saab, instead he bought a fucking Cimmaron.
Lunchtime choices in the ’80s: Dodge Daytona, Datsun 510, Mazda RX7.
Please Michelle, can we take your cool red Saab 900?
Exxon tried their hands at this too.
In the spirit of its maker, your Datasaab laptop’s H key would double as the power button, and the display would consist of a tiny projector lens mounted just in front of the space bar and pointed away from you toward a curved screen.
Sniff, sniff. I miss my Saab! Waaah!
Me fucking too. A plain old 1989 900 base model. Its like will not be seen again…
‘86 900 Turbo, here. Thirty years and 500,000 miles. Definitely never it’s like, again.
Me as well. Had a ’83 900T that was a fantastic car. Bought it with 130k miles and drove it to 240k. AFAIK all on the original turbo. It hauled stuff through two moves and was a beast in the altitude.
I always wanted a Saab to be my first *nice* car after finishing school. Finished in 2010 and by the time my finances were a little stable, they were done making them. 🙁
Datasaab sounds like it might be the name of a song of the new album by Röyksopp. Yes, one is from Sweden, and the other Norway, but us ‘Mericans don’t care about that sort of silly stuff.
You wonder what that weird looking car is and then you realize, Dat a SAAB!
But take my vote anyway!
I love old-timey computers, reminds me of taking a walkthrough of IBMs computers with my dad in Endicott, NY back in the 70s and 80s. Seeing the rows and rows of tape machines, and by golly, stacks and stacks of punch cards. Which I still have a few. Datasaab would have been a cool name for an EV.
I owe my existence to those punch cards. My parents met as entry-level clerks at a life insurance company. Mom always made sure to get that nice guy to help when her cards got jammed in the machine. The rest is history.
Youngin’s will never know the joy of curved windshields, floor console keyholes and oddities like driving a column shift v-4 front wheel drive sonnet.
“Youngin’s will never know the joy of curved windshields, floor console keyholes and oddities like driving a column shift v-4 front wheel drive sonnet.”
They can if they’ve got $8k and a trailer:
A bit less if it’s not a Sonnet: