The month of 900 loving continues, and the next instalment covers the Saab 900 SPG that’s now part of the GM Heritage Collection.
1990 Saab 900 SPG
Launched in 1978 as a sensible evolution from the seminal 99, the first generation Saab 900 lasted until 1993. With almost 909,000 built, the 900 is still the most produced Saab — and widely regarded as one of the most charismatic.
The SPG (for Special Performance Group) model is the technological and emotional pinnacle of the “classic” 900 portfolio. It debuted at the Brussels auto show in January 1984 as a banner vehicle for Saab’s next boost in the development of its highly successful turbocharged engine. Power increased to 175 hp, thanks to the application of an intercooler plus an entirely new cylinder head with 16 valves and two overhead camshafts. Sharp handling was ensured by a lowered chassis that included front and rear stabilizer bars.
The original show car had a Pearl White exterior, a lavish Colorado Red leather interior and was called “Turbo 16 Aero”, courtesy of the ground-effect enhancing front spoiler, flat three-spoke aluminum wheels and side skirts that had been developed in cooperation with the MIRA windtunnels in the UK.
After objections from General Motors, which was unaffiliated with Saab and owned the Aero name at the time, the fastest 900 thus far was relabeled “Turbo 16S” in Europe and “SPG” in North America.
Between 1985 and 1991, more than 7,600 SPGs came to the United States, all of them three-door hatchbacks and fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission. Combined mostly with Buffalo (dark) Grey leather interiors, the exterior color choice was limited to Black, Edwardian Grey, Beryl Green (1991 only) and Talladega Red, which became available for the last two model years.
The 1990 900 SPG in the Heritage Collection boasts an extra special lineage, as it was originally owned by former Saab USA President Dan Chasins.