Posted on 01. Jan, 1979 by in 1970-1979, 900, Orange, Connecticut


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  CONTACT: LEN LONNEGREN


ORANGE, CONNECTICUT — New line features extended body, redesigned suspension for superb roadholding; improved safety construction; and unique new air filtering system

An entirely new model series of the Swedish-made Saab — the Saab 900 — will be available through some 335 Saab dealers nationally in November.

The new Saab 900 will be offered to American car buyers as a three-door Saab 900 GLi version; as the five-door Saab 900 GLE model; in the sporty Saab 900 EMS version; and with the new, widely hailed Saab Turbo engine as the Saab 900 Turbo in both three- and five-door configurations. Automatic transmission will be available in all models except the Turbo. As a compliment to the Saab 900 line, the Saab 99 will be retained in the Saab line-up, as a twodoor sedan.

The introduction of the Saab 900 marks the culmination of the most ambitious development ever undertaken by the Saab-Scania Group. Starting with the tough objective of building a new, larger Saab with good performance and even better handling, roadholding, comfort and safety levels than the 99, Saab designers and engineers spent untold manhours from concept to finished product in developing the new model. Testing of the new model has been conducted for several years, in the bitter cold of northern Sweden and the heat of California’s Death Valley.

The result in a nutshell: A Saab which has been completely redesigned from the front seats forward; is 8.4 inches longer and of even more sturdy design than the Saab 99, but which still retains about the same weight and economy, and has even better handling characteristics. A Saab designed for an entirely new production procedure, which guarantees a uniform quality and better working environment in the factory through the use of sub-assemblies and increased automation.

First with Cleaner Air

Viewed from the outside, the lower and longer front section is the first striking indication that the Saab 900 is a new car. Characteristic features are the larger windshield; and the air grills on the large hood. The left hand grill is a warm air outlet, primarily designed for ventilation of the engine compartment when the car is standing still; while the right hand grill is the inlet for fresh air, which is filtered before entering the heating and ventilation system. This system makes the Saab 900 the first car in mass production that is equipped to filter incoming air to the passenger compartment. It keeps out most of the dust that normally will enter a car; all of the pollen and about 50 percent of all airborne bacteria; greatly reduces the risk for mist on windows caused by high humidity; and reduces oil film formation.

The new Saab 900 features rectangular sealed beam headlights blended into the redesigned grill, as well as recessed parking and blinker light modules.

All models of the Saab 900 are equipped with a low front spoiler made of resilient thermoplastic rubber. The same material is also used as the casing for the famous Saab energy absorbing bumpers. The cellular plastic elements within the bumpers are about 20 percent larger and deeper and have a patented partition designed to raise the bumper’s buckling limit.

Totally new instrument panel

The most striking new feature of the interior of the Saab 900 is the instrument panel, with its assymetrically dished control section designed to position all instruments and controls within easy reach of the driver. The instrument cluster is set high up, close to the natural line of vision of the driver, and has extra large markings and easy-to-read symbols.

The air inlets allow filtered air or air conditioned air into the passenger compartment or air conditioned air, through the fully intregated air conditioning system which is controlled through the same programmed controls as the heating and ventilation system. Some other features of the driver/passenger comfort and control section include:

* An electronic pulse transmitter incorporated into the speedometer to be used in connection with automatic speed control. * Valves and dampers in the heating and ventilation system controlled via vacuum valves, remotely operated by a labyrinth type “brain” inside the heating system control. This design allows more accurate adjustment and avoids problems with sticking or slack control cables.

* A semi-automatic system for inter-connection of the temperature and fan settings in easy-to-find combinations, for all conditions from quick warm-up in winter to air conditioning in summer. * Totally new one-piece construction instrument panel design with and printed cirucits for off-line assembly and testing. The entire panel is “plugged” into a junction box on the engine side of the firewall. Safety design throughout

The entire instrument panel is molded of foam on an energy absorbing metal frame to allow for additional safety for the driver and front seat passenger. A knee protection panel is provided to uniformly distribute impact loads over passenger legs; and the steering gear assembly is designed to afford more protection than ever in a head-on collision. The rack-and-pinion steering gear is located at the very rear of the engine compartment where it is protected by both front wheel suspension and engine. In the event of a severe frontal collision, the triple division of the steering column insures that any rearward displacement of the steering box does not transmit the force upwards through the steering column and steering wheel. Under even more sever crash conditions, a sheet metal bellows in the middle section of the steering column will collapse so that rearward forces cannot be transmitted to the steering wheel.

Although the long, sloping front of the Saab 900 is possibly the most striking exterior feature of the car, it also conceals a radical new body design. The aim of the designers was not only to lengthen, but also to strengthen the body while keeping the weight roughly the same as in the Saab 99. This was achieved by using aluminum instead of steel in some components, while at other points higher safety objectives are met by accurately calculated new or reinforced steel structures. Longitudinal tubular deformation elements in the engine compartment are designed for gradual energy absorbtion while reinforced Z-section beams transmit collision forces to a cross member underneath the passenger compartment floor, thus protecting the front foot wells. Certain components such as the wheel arches and fender flanges have been intentionally weakened to insure that doors can be opened without difficulty even after a very severe front-end collision.

Superb handling and road-holding

While the most obvious changes have been made in the styling of the front section of the Saab 900, some of the most significant changes come in the optimization of the suspension and

steering geometry. Under real driving situations, including high speed highway and rally type cornering, the 900 should rank as one of the best handling sedans available.

To achieve this level of roadholding and handling, specific objectives were established and achieved in the final design:

* Develop the fast and distinctive response of a small car by providing reliable feedback to the driver on how the car is reacting to steering wheel input and lateral forces. * Remove all tendencies to roll oversteer, the inadvertent steering condition realized when a car leans (or rolls) under cornering, as well as all types of unwanted selfsteering. * Improve the relationship between wheelbase and the moment of inertia (breakaway force on hard cornering.)

Specific changes to the front and rear suspension to achieve these objectives include:

* Optimized front assembly geometry, primarily in the relocation of the new steering rack for both manual and power steering. * Increased spring travel by .8 inches to allow the inner wheel to stay in better contact with the road, for better traction and cornering force, even during hard cornering. * Rebound stops built into the shock absorbers. * Stronger, new design rear axle to provide optimum roll stiffness regardless of load. * New computer designed trailing arms, Panhard rod and body mountings.

Complimenting the changes in suspensions and steering geometry, are a new power steering unit which provides significantly improved action and input/response characteristics in road feel and feed back. Power steering will be available on all automatic transmission models, as well as on manual transmission versions of the GLE and Turbo.

The new tire selection for the Saab 900 has also been designed to match the suspension and steering of the new car and incorporates the very latest in tire technology. Saab 900 GLi and

GLE models will come equipped with 165 SR 15 tires of type Semperit 401 or Goodyear; the EMS version will retain its 175/70 HR 15 Pirelli CN 36 tires; while Turbo models will feature the very latest in low profile tire technology. The three-door version with the brand-new Pirelli P6 tire in the 195/60 HR 15 size; and the five-door model with the Michelin TRX tire in the 180/65 HR 390 size. Both EMS and Turbo models use aluminum alloy wheels of different design and sizes to match tires sizes and styling.

All Saab 900 models, as all earlier Saab 99 models, have four-wheel disc brakes. New for the Saab 900 are long-life semi-metallic outer front brake pads, which allow for much longer pad life, reduce disc wear and eliminate brake noises.

Power for the Future

During 1978 the Saab Turbo engine has been hailed by experts the world over as the power plant of the future. It’s an engine designed to provide the power of a much larger engine -when needed — but to remain as economical and reliable as a standard four cylinder engine during normal everyday driving. The turbo-charger comes into play only when needed, for climbing and passing, and does not use fuel unnecessarily.

In the Saab 900, the Saab Turbo engine will be available in both three- and five-door models. This engine develops 135 hp (SAE net) at 5,000 rpm and peak torque of 160 ft. lbs. at 3,500 rpm. The weight to power ratio is 20.9 lb/hp and the acceleration, as measured by leading automotive magazines, is 0 – 60 mph in 9 seconds flat. The Saab Turbo sold in the United States is equipped with the revolutionary Lambda Guard emisssions system with a three-way catalyst.

While the Saab Turbo carries the power load of the Saab 900 line for 1979, the Saab 900 GLI, GLE and EMS use the same basic engine with normal aspiration.

The four-cylinder overhead camshaft Saab engine has been continuously updated and improved for performance, durability and cleaner emissions since it was first introduced in 1973. Cars sold in the Eastern and Midwestern states have engines developing 115 horsepower (SAE net) and 123 ft. lbs. torque; while Saab 900 models sold in the Western and Rocky Mountain states are equipped with the Lambda Guard emissions control system with three-way catalyst, and develop 110 hp (SAE net) and 119 ft. lbs. torque. All Saab 900’s sold in the United States, both Turbos and normally aspirated engines, are equipped with continuous (CI) fuel injection system.

New power train features for the 900 include:

* New radiator design with provision for the mounting of twin cooling fans for cars with air conditioning. * Improved water pump for increased coolant flow. * Alternator output increased to 72 amp. * Maintenance free battery. * New, higher stall speed torque converter on automatic transmission cars, for better initial standing-start acceleration. Many new colors

For the Saab 900, six new colors have been, added to the Saab color line, for a total of 10 exterior colors. Metallic colors have been reserved exclusively for the GLE, EMS and Turbo versions and include the new Aquamarine Blue and Acacia Green, in addition to Cardinal Red. New non-metallic colors include: Alabaster Yellow, Chamotte Brown, Midnight Blue and Marble White. The Saab Turbo 3-door will also be available in Black. All exterior colors are matched to coordinated interior decor and upholstery.


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