HIn a hurry, the son made an allusion to himself again. Because Santa Claus is coming with the Saab, you never know whether he will make it to the front door. Even the granddaughters know about the Christmas tree: he packed it last year, and grandpa won’t let anything get on his car. And since he said that it comes from Trollhättan, the hill of the trolls, these goblins in giant or dwarf form, they think the old vehicle is “cool”. First of all, you have to make it clear to the younger generation why this car once had cult potential. As a film star with Woody Allen or Jack Nicholson at the wheel. Preferably also in previous evening series and very recently in “Drive My Car”. In the feature film by the Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, the main actors are out and about in a red Saab 900 Turbo, the film critic calls it a “car for lovers that is almost something like the medium of the film”.
In 2014, 264 Saabs were screwed together as solitary stragglers in Trollhättan after the standstill of the treadmills in the summers and winters. The year marks the end of a distinctive brand that stood for building safe, durable, outwardly unmistakable cars. In a form that was reminiscent of hand axes and attracted a clientele that was said to be composed primarily of architects, doctors, lawyers and yes, journalists. The thesis could never be proven empirically. Perhaps it was helpful for marketing, but the Saab has remained a niche product even in its best times and has ultimately fallen victim to its low volume (between 100,000 and 150,000 annually) on the world market.
Its history is that of an ambitious outsider in the middle of a shark tank of traditional car companies. It is the story of the Swedish armaments company Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, which, after the Second World War, implemented the plan to gain a foothold in the auto industry in peacetime alongside the construction of aircraft. In 1947 a couple of automobile enthusiasts drew and realized a two-stroke engine painted in tree frog green with a DKW engine. The professional world paid tribute to a nonconformist on wheels. According to legend, the car only came about because the camouflage color was left over from wartime and was inexpensive. A small budget should remain the companion of all pull-ups in the company’s history, which is ultimately manageable. At the same time, however, it made inventive to realize the best possible bold innovations from limited resources.
When naming their models, the Scandinavians remained as sober for decades as if they were specimens from the test laboratory: Saab 92, Saab 96, Saab 99, Saab 9000, Saab 900, Saab 9-3, Saab 9-5. With front-wheel drive as a matter of principle. The Saab was a robust, solid type and ahead of its time. The successor to the original Saab already had side impact protection as standard; the seat belt was introduced as early as 1958 and can be found as standard in all Saab models from 1962 onwards. At the end of the 1960s, Saab moved the ignition switch between the two front seats. The reason: because in the conventional position, serious knee injuries can occur even in minor accidents (for example with moose that disregard the right of way). The advertising slogan (the worse the weather, the better the Saab) referred to the headlight wiper system in 1970.
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