Archive for April, 1997
Posted on 01. Apr, 1997 by Ryan.
Joel Manby, the Saab Cars USA President from June 1996 – Apr. 2000 wrote about his productions for Saab-Scania AB in Ward’s Auto World:
Here is what he had to say.
Ward’s Auto World, April, 1997
Saab will be in red through 1998, Manby says – Joel Manby’s predictions for Saab-Scania AB – Brief Article
Joel Manby, the former Saturn whiz kid, now trying to redefine Saab, says the Swedish automaker, which lost $170 million in 1996, won’t be profitable until late 1998 or 1999. But he is hopeful the new 9-5 sedan debuting in Europe this fall and in the U.S. next spring will help push total U.S. sales close to the company’s 40,000 annual goal by 2000. About one year after that will come a station wagon derivative of the 9-5. Last year, Saab sold 28,000 cars in the U.S. and little over 100,000 cars worldwide. The 9-5 will compete directly with the Mercedes E-class and BMW’s 5-series models.
Posted on 01. Apr, 1997 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab Cars USA, Inc.
EXTREME DRIVING: 300-HP SAAB 900 TURBO COUPE MARKS SAAB’S RETURN TO RALLY COMPETITION
NORCROSS, Ga. — Few motorsports are as punishing on a vehicle and grueling for driver teams as off-road rally racing. Continuing a decades-long heritage of Saabs in rally competition, Saab Cars USA, Inc. is again sponsoring a 300-hp Saab 900 Turbo Coupe in the 1997 Michelin/SCCA PRO Rally series.
Campaigned by 1995’s PRO Rally Group 2 champions Sam Bryan and Rob Walden, the Saab 900 rally car was a spectator favorite during the 1996
season, featuring eye-catching Monte Carlo Yellow exterior paint and Saab’s unique “Find Your Own Road” graphics. Team Saab, in its second PRO Rally
season, is again competing in the Group 5 class with a potent turbocharged 2.3L powerplant, conservatively rated at 300 hp.
PRO Rally is flat-out racing against the clock, one vehicle at a time, on courses ranging from unpaved logging roads to desert trails. Rally cars hurtle down twisting wilderness tracks at speeds averaging between 30 and 90 mph, contending with mud, rocks, loose gravel, snow, ice, water crossings and hairpin turns. With a wild, sideways-through-the-corners driving style, and the hazards of weather and night running, the sport’s unique challenges are clear. Saabs have been demonstrating their competitive spirit and tenacious flair for handling rough roads since the Swedish automaker’s very beginning. Only a few weeks after Saab’s December, 1949, start of production, a 25-hp Saab 92 was entered in the Tour of Östergötland winter rally. To Sweden’s surprise, the rugged little car won.
Over the next five decades, Saabs racked up many significant victories on the international rally circuit, piloted by such rally legends as Erik Carlsson and
In the U.S., Saab’s rally heritage dates back to 1956, when three factory-fresh Saab 93 two-strokes conquered challenging weather conditions and harsh
terrain of the 1,500-mile Great American Mountain Rally in the Northeast to take the overall win (as well as first, third and fourth place in their class). For
many Americans, the resulting Saab news coverage marked their first introduction to the uniquely styled Swedish automobiles.
Skyrocketing costs and changes in international rally rules in 1980 prompted several carmakers, including Saab, to withdraw from producing factory-prepared
rally cars. The closing of Saab’s competition department left Saab rallying in the hands of private contenders. In recent years, U.S. competitors have included a vintage Saab 96, a classic 99 EMS and several first-generation Saab 900s. Sam Bryan and Rob Walden took the 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Group 2 championship in a 1980 Saab 900 before being awarded a sponsorship from Saab Cars USA, Inc.
Team Saab driver Bryan, an engineer and long-time rally enthusiast from Kent, Washington, and co-driver Walden, owner of Scandia Autosports in Seattle,
prepared the new car for the tortures of rallying. Equipped with a 2.3L engine from a Saab 9000 Aero, programmable electronic engine management and
traction control, an XTRAC six-speed manual transmission and necessary safety equipment, the Saab 900 Turbo Coupe came out of Walden’s shop weighing only about 2,600 lbs. With at least 300 hp, the rally Saab rockets to 60 mph in less than five seconds.
As Team Saab gained valuable experience with the powerful new car, and fine-tuned its equipment and electronic systems, they encountered a few
setbacks during the 1996 rally season that kept them out of contention for the Group 5 championship. However, the team came back strongly in the end,
capturing a class victory in the season’s last race, followed by another victory and third place overall in the first national rally of the 1997 season, the Wild
West PRO Rally in Washington state.
Crashes are an inherent part of rally racing. Just as Erik “On the Roof” Carlsson had his mishaps, so has Bryan. “I don’t want to pick up Carlsson’s nickname,
but I’ve experienced the shiny side down, too,” Bryan admitted. “But Swedish steel and structural integrity go hand-in-hand, and we simply fix the bodywork
and look forward to the next race. The Carlsson tradition I want to continue is one of victory. I know that our Saab has the power, outstanding handling and
ruggedness to make a fine showing in the 1997 season.”
Posted on 01. Apr, 1997 by Ryan.
SAAB PRO RALLY TEAM POISED AT RIM OF THE WORLD
PALMDALE, CA — Saab rally driver Sam Bryan and co-driver Rob Walden are prepared to meet the challenges of one of SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally’s most
demanding events: Rim of the World, May 2-3. In their second national race of the season, Bryan and Walden are seeking to win the Group 5 class in their
factory-sponsored 300-hp Saab 900 Turbo Coupe. The SCCA/Michelin Rim of the World PRO Rally is a 13-stage, 245-mile race to be held primarily in the
Angeles National Forest, south of Palmdale, CA. Competitors will begin the grueling event at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2. The rally concludes at 10:30 p.m.
on Saturday, May 3.
Sponsored by Saab Cars USA, Inc., the rally-edition Saab 900 features a potent 2.3L turbocharged 300-hp four-cylinder with electronic engine
management and traction control. Sporting Saab Monte Carlo Yellow paint and unique “Find your own road” graphics, the No. 900 rally car has proven to be a
crowd favorite as it thunders by.
Bryan, from Kent, Washington, and Walden, from Seattle, swept to a class victory and took third place overall in the first full-points national rally of the
season, Wild West PRO Rally, held in forests near Olympia, Wash., April 11-13.
“The Saab ran strong and fast during the Wild West PRO Rally, despite extremely rough road conditions,” Bryan said. “The Saab’s balance and traction
are perfect for rally racing, and its 30-to-70 (mph) time is incredible, thanks to the turbo engine’s particularly strong mid-range power-perfect for the kind of
driving we do during rally racing.”
The Rim of the World PRO Rally is well known for its twisty, rough and precarious hilltop fire roads that are an especially challenging test of driver skill
and vehicle endurance.
Rally racing has always been an integrated part of Saab’s heritage. The automaker gives considerable credit to its many rally victories for the
company’s early successes in the world market. Saab Cars USA, Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., is the importer and distributor for Swedish-made Saab 900
and 9000 automobiles.
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