Oh, that button dashboard

As you may know, I’m a big fan of the button dash and am still in mourning for its passing.

The first Saab I ever rode in was an early model Saab 9000 Turbo. In those early days of the 9000 it seemed as if there were hardly any options available to customers. The cars came fully loaded. The 9000 I rode in had every bell and whistle you could imagine except for woodgrain trim. For a young guy who’d only ever driven around in old Fords and Holdens it was quite an eye-opener.

This is a nicely appointed dash from a mid-to-late 1990’s model 9000 and it’s not that different from the 1986 model I first rode in. As you can see, the DNA for the dash that later appeared in the NG900, OG 9-3 and Saab 9-5 (which still uses the same overall shape) started way back then.

This photo’s from Flickr (and the exterior’s not bad, either!)


Oh button dash how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…..

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  1. Wholeheartedly agree! I’m in a 2007 9-3 loaner today (dropped my “new” ’04 9-5 off to have them tame the lumpy automatic idle). I miss the buttony dash of Saabs of yore. The radio has few buttons (and they’re grouped together- I thought that was a faux pas?) and the climate control knobs aren’t nearly as interesting as the old buttons.

    While I’m happy with my 9-5, I am a much bigger fan of the 03-06 9-3’s buttonfest dashboard. I loved that Sharper Image look more than this simple look.

  2. I’d say that dash layout got it’s DNA start in the ’79 900. Look at the instrument cluster, it’s almost a carbon copy of the C900, and then how the dash top tapers down and away from the top of the instrument cluster. The only great difference is that in the 9000 and later Saabs the center consol is integrated into the dash, but that’s just an evolution of the earlier C900. Or so I think.

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