I think almost anyone into cars appreciates and respects old Saabs just because they’re such wonderful examples of clever, strange engineering that seems to approach every automotive design issue sideways or backwards or both, possibly wearing a funny hat. As such, they’re full of interesting design and technical details, one of which I just now realized, and, in keeping with the solemn promise I made to veteran funnyman Slappy White, I will share it with all of you.
Here’s what I noticed, while looking through an old 1967 Saab brochure. At the time, Saab offered two primary engine types for their cars: the old DKW-style inline-three two-stroke, and a more update V4 four stroke engine, taken from the Ford Taunus. The brochure showed both engines. First, the two-stroke:
…and then the V4:
Here’s the strange thing I noticed about both of these quite different engines: on both, half that engine bay is devoted to the battery and heater blower setup!
I mean, I get why – Saab’s FWD design places the engine ahead of the front axle, and neither engine is all that long, really, so it makes sense it’d all be crammed in the nose there. But there’s something about a heater blower setup nearly the size of the whole engine that just feels, I don’t know, comical to me. What other cars devote nearly equal amounts of underhood room to engine and then heater blower/battery?
I mean, it does come from Sweden, and it’s pretty cold there. Maybe this makes sense.