During 1979 Saab introduced a new car to their line up. Loosely based on the Saab 99, the Saab 900 was a major advance in Saabs car design methods. The car was introduced to compensate for new crash test regulations being introduced in the US. Although the 99 could have been made to pass this test with modifications, Saab felt it was a more prudent idea to bring out a new evolution of the car.
The 900 took many of the best features of the 99 (such as the general styling and engine range) and used these to create their new car. The new car was made distinctive by the angle that the windscreen was mounted at, being far more steep that most cars on the road at the time. New suspension components were added to improve road holding and handling, the 900 was also the first car from Saab to feature an air filter that removed pollen, dust etc.
The 900 was initially available as : GL, GLs, GLE, EMS and Turbo models.
The GL and GLs were the standard models with 2000cc engines with one (100 hp) or two (108 hp) carburettors with four speed gearboxes. The GLE had an automatic gearbox.
The EMS was a more sporty model and was rallied for a while, the engine featured fuel injection and 16 valves became standard near the end of the models life. The engine was rated at 118 hp when first released. The EMS was fitted with front and rear spoilers, side skirts and alloy wheels and had stiffened suspension. Among Saab collectors and enthusiasts the EMS is regarded as one of the best version of the 900 and high quality models can fetch high prices. The model was discontinued in 1985, as was the GLE.
The initial Turbo models had the same 2000cc turbo unit that featured in the 99 with an output of 145 hp, with minor modifications and this was changed to feature the changed engine (known as the H – engine) and Saabs APC in 1981. The 16 valve engine option was introduced in 1984 and this engine produced 175 hp. There was also a Turbo S which had further engine changes and produced nearly 200 hp. This remained the sporty 900 was sold well.
All 900 models got a slight bodywork makeover in 1987 when the car became slightly more rounded and moved the car away from earlier Saabs. The first car to feature this new shape was the 900 cabriolet which was introduced at the end of 1986 was a major success, the current Saab convertible still maintains the reputation gained by the early 900 soft tops.
The 900, like the 9000 featured the Carlsson special edition (named after Saabs rally driver in the 1960s, 1970s - Eric Carlsson) in 1990 – 1992, there were fewer 900s than 9000s made and they are far harder to obtain than the 9000 versions. The 900 had a similar body kit to the 9000, the engine and chassis underwent similar modifications.
The 900 was discontinued in 1993 in favour of the Saab 9-3, click here to read about this car. The 900 was the longest produced Saab and over 900,000 were made over the 14 years.