As I’m dedicating a month to the loving of Saab 99s it’d be rather stupid of me to overlook the absolutely magnificent Saab 99s that GM have in their Heritage Collection. This car, the 1978 model Saab 99 Turbo was present at the San Diego 60th Anniversary event in February 2007 and Mike’s photos of it just blew me away.
These are GM’s studio photos of the car and the writeup is part of the 60th Anniversary press material.
Making its world debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1977, the 99 Turbo instantly became one of the most emblematic cars in Saab’s history. The launch car, finished in a unique Pearl White, is part of the Saab AB factory collection in Trollhättan, Sweden.
The four-cylinder 2.0L Turbo engine offered 135 horsepower, compared to 115 for the standard engine. However, torque was increased dramatically. Saab was first to offer a turbo tuned for low-speed torque in a sedan for daily driving, as opposed to high-speed power in a pure sports car such as the Porsche 911. A four-speed manual transmission was standard.
Saab avoided problems previously encountered in turbocharging carbureted engines by providing electronically controlled port fuel injection on the 99 Turbo. Emissions were controlled with one of the first “closed loop” catalyst systems controlled by an oxygen sensor.
A total of 10,607 Saab 99 Turbo vehicles were produced, starting with 100 test fleet cars in 1977 and continuing through 1982. It was offered in two-door, three-door and (very few) five-door body styles in Europe.
Despite mostly understated exterior colors, each 99 Turbo was immediately recognizable by the specific “Inca” alloy wheels, front air dam, rear spoiler, interior upholstery, instrumentation and steering wheel.
The 99 Turbo three-door hatchback was offered in the United States only during the 1978 model year, available in Black, Cardinal Red, Grey and Silver. After an imported total of 4,233 cars, the 99 Turbo was replaced by the larger Saab 900 Turbo three- and five-door hatchback in1979.