Saab signature – that curved windscreen

In an interview with CAR magazine around 18 months ago, Carl-Peter Forster (GM Europe head honcho) was asked about what would be happening with Saab. I don’t recall his exact words, but he mentioned that they wouldn’t be spending money on things that were needless or didn’t identify with the brand. He singled out the fibre optic cabling in the 9-3 Sport Sedan, for example, as a wasted investment as it couldn’t be replicated in other vehicles.

He indicated that Saab needed to invest in designs that were identifiable as being “Saab”. The curved windscreen, for example – “how could they ever do away with that” – or words to that effect.

The curved windscreen was a Saab phenomenon that really took effect with the Saab 99 back in the 1960’s and continued right up until 1993 – a testimony to the classic shape of the 99 and 900.

This little writeup was prompted by some photos that local Tassie Saabnut Drew B sent to me a few days ago. He’s doing up a 1993 Saab 900 that he picked up on the cheap with a blown head gasket. When Drew fixes up a car, though, it gets fixed up properly and this car’s had half its engine in pieces and the full interior ripped out to fix various bits and pieces.

The latest job required the fitting of a new windscreen, which when done in the Drew B fashion means that the entire dash gets to show its innards to the world.

You can really appreciate how curvy that Saab screen is when it’s sitting outside of the vehicle:

Click to enlarge.

Saab 900 windscreen

Saab 900 dash

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  1. He removed the dash and steering wheel for that? Maybe that’s how I should have done it on my old 99. I installed one without removing anything—never said so many cuss words at one shot in my life.

  2. The 900 and 99 have the same windscreen shape- but the 900 screen is slightly deeper across its base- there is no air vent scoop at the bottom edge of the sceeen scuttle cross rail – as there is on the 99.

    Oh and the 99 had a massive curved light weight steel fascia cover that sat atop the fascia- under the top padding.

    With the 900 they removed this . On the 99 it was quite an interesting steel pressing- as sort of semi circular steel pad.

    So replacing fascia/dash and screen is a different job on both seemingly similar cars.

  3. Oh and they adde a cross brace beam from each A post through the dash on the 900 as well, not to mention slicing the A posts off at the scuttle and welding them to the door and inner wing flitch panels. Becasue teh wheelbase was loner at teh front cabin end,(whereas on the 99 the A posts ran down the rear of the front wheel arches…)

  4. The glass used in the C900 was/is much thicker than most automotive windshields. My 1989 has been in the family since 1997 and in that time and approximately 95,000 miles it hasn’t cracked or chipped (car has 170k and it looks to be the original glass). Compare that lifespan to the 9000 every 25000 miles or the 9-2X every 5000 miles.

  5. That car is going to cost me about 1 tonne of fudge the way D.B is going.
    At least i will not have to lift a spanner to the car for some time,which will feel odd as an ex mechanic.
    And it’s good to know a little piece of my knuckle is flying around on that timing chain.

  6. I don’t normally pull the dash out like this, but for some reason this one just wouldn’t seal nicely along the lower edge. I pulled the dash cover off as a last resort (about 20mins work), to avoid cracking the new glass inadvertantly. I had been meaning to pull the dash anyway to replace the instrument plate, so essentially I killed two birds with one stone. All back together now, I’m happy to report, with new centre console and all. Worth about 10t of fudge I reckon! ;o)

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