Archive for November, 1997

EXTREME DRIVING: 300-HP SAAB 900 TURBO COUPE MARKS SAAB’S RETURN TO RALLY COMPETITION

Posted on 01. Nov, 1997 by .

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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 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series.

Campaigned by 1995’s SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Series 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 debut PRO Rally season, is competing in the new 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 Ostergotland 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 Rolf Mellde.

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 partial 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.

“The turbocharged engine gives the car particularly strong mid-range power, which is what you need most in rallying,” Bryan commented. “The Saab’s 30 to 70 (mph) time is incredible.”

As Team Saab gained valuable experience with the powerful new car, and fine-tuned its equipment and electronic systems, they encountered a few setbacks early in the 1996 rally season that kept them out of contention for the Group 5 championship. “Initially we substituted a larger turbo on the 2.3-liter engine and encountered overheating problems during our first race. Returning to the Saab’s stock water-cooled turbo for the next event corrected that problem and we reached the point where the car was running extremely strong and fast,” Bryan explained. “We clocked very well on many stages, but failed to gain enough points to lead the class in 1996.”

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 are synonymous, 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 next year.” The 1996 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series concludes with the Pacific Forest Rally in Olympia, Wash., Nov. 8-10. The 1997 rally season’s first race is scheduled for South Carolina in March.

SAAB 900 SE TURBO
Group 5 Class PRO Rally Car
Driver: Sam Bryan
Co-driver: Rob Walden
1994 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally – 10th overall, 2nd in Group 2
1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally – 4th overall, Group 2 National Title
DIMENSIONS & SPECIFICATIONS
Length (in.) 182.6 (4637 mm)
Width (in.) 67.4 (1711 mm)
Height (in.) 56.5 (1436 mm)
Wheelbase (in.) 102.4 (2600 mm)
Weight 2,600 lbs. (1,182 kg)
Engine 2.3L four-cylinder, dual overhead camshaft, turbocharged, intercooled
Power 300 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 300 ft./lbs. @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission Front-wheel drive, 6-speed XTRAC with dogshift and limited slip differential
Suspension Front: Bilstein MacPherson Struts
Rear: Bilstein coil over shocks
Brakes Front: AP four-piston calipers, 12″ AP ventilated discs
Rear: ATE two-piston calipers, 11″ Saab solid rotors
Tires Michelin Special XGT Rally Tires on 15″ x 6.5″ Revolution wheels
Electrics/Lights Autronic engine management with traction control/PIAA lights

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3 MILLION SAAB CARS PRODUCED

Posted on 01. Nov, 1997 by .

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1000718 3 MILLION SAAB CARS PRODUCED

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

During this 50th anniversary year as a car manufacturer, Saab Automobile AB has passed another historical milestone: it has built its 3-millionth car. Saab No. 3 million is a silver Saab 9-5, powered by a 2.3L Turbo engine. The 9-5 is Saab’s new performance sedan recently introduced in the European market and available in North America in the spring of 1998 as a ’99 model. The first Saab car was unveiled to the press on June 10, 1947. The Swedish Aircraft Company (Saab) began full production of cars in December, 1949, about the same time as the last Saab J-21 rear-propeller fighter plane rolled out of the Trollhättan, Sweden, factory. Since then, the Trollhättan plant has built automobiles exclusively, while Saab aircraft production continues in Linköping, Sweden.

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1997 SAAB 900 FIVE-DOOR BLENDS FAMILY VALUE WITH HIGH FUN FACTOR

Posted on 01. Nov, 1997 by .

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1000059 1997 SAAB 900 FIVE DOOR BLENDS FAMILY VALUE WITH HIGH FUN FACTOR

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

1997 SAAB 900 FIVE-DOOR BLENDS FAMILY VALUE WITH HIGH FUN FACTOR

A Range of Performance Levels, Class-leading Cargo Space Contribute to Saab 900 Five-Door’s Appeal Saab for 1997 – Available with a choice of three powerplants, Saab’s popular
900 five-door is a versatile sports sedan that provides value and safety without sacrificing driving pleasure.

NORCROSS, Ga. — When the current generation Saab 900 five-door was unveiled in 1994, it quickly garnered an impressive list of industry accolades and awards for its ability to satisfy so many diverse customer needs. With a full complement of Saab performance, safety and comfort attributes, the Saab 900 is unmatched for sheer versatility. Sales of the Saab 900 continue to rise each year, as many car buyers find that their individual priorities and requirements can be fulfilled by the Saab 900’s unique features. Some car shoppers prefer sports car performance, while others place a higher priority on roominess and cargo-carrying capacity. The Saab 900 does it all; it’s a sports sedan that makes no sacrifice on utility. Not only can the 900 SE reach 60 mph in less than 7 seconds with its potent 2.0L Turbo engine, but it can haul almost 50 cubic feet of cargo by folding down the rear seat. For buyers who prefer six cylinders under the hood, a smooth 24-valve 2.5L V6 engine is available on the 900 SE, matched with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission and electronic traction control. The value-laden 900 S five-door is powered by a 2.3L dual-cam four-cylinder, a responsive engine matched to either a manual or automatic transmission. Stronger Braking Performance for 1997

Continuous improvement is part of Saab’s design philosophy, and the latest version of the Saab 900 sports sedan has a number of refinements for 1997.

Larger brake discs and calipers on both front and rear wheels improve braking performance on all models of the 1997 Saab 900. A larger brake disc diameter enables the brake pads to be positioned further from the disc center, allowing more braking torque. In addition to shorter braking distances, these changes result in a more progressive pedal feel. Ten percent larger front brake pads are composed of a new friction material, extending their useful life by about 15 percent.

The brake system continues to benefit from a four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), which precisely controls the braking pressure between the front and rear wheels, regardless of the load in the car. Wheel width has been increased to 6.5 inches on the 900 S, and both the 900 S and SE sport attractive new wheel designs. A new three-spoke, 15-inch wheel, light alloy with visible lug nuts and a distinctive Griffin center emblem, is standard on the 900 S five-door, giving it a sportier, more aggressive appearance. The 900 SE is fitted with a revised “Viking Aero” 16-inch light-alloy wheel, also with exposed lug nuts and Griffin center emblem.

Drivers of the 1997 Saab 900 five-door will appreciate a revised manual transmission gear shift mechanism for more precise gear changes. In addition, front seats have been slightly elongated for better thigh support, and are reshaped to provide a more supportive and comfortable seating position. Deeper side bolstering provides more lateral support. Flexible storage pockets are now provided at the forward edge of both front seats for added convenience. Rear fog lights on all Saab cars have been redesigned to turn off automatically when the ignition is switched off, so they won’t inadvertently be left on when the car is restarted. Also at the rear end of 1997 Saab cars is new badging to specify the engine type and size, positioned below the right taillights.

Saab 900 S Sets High Standard for Value

Exceptional value helps make the Saab 900 S five-door the single best selling new model from the Swedish automaker. With an impressively long list of standard features and the convenience of four side doors and a cargo-consuming hatchback, the Saab 900 S five-door appeals to car buyers who desire a distinctive European touring car at a hard-to-beat price. Features found on the every 900 S — such as heated seats, alloy wheels, remote locking and alarm system, front and rear fog lights, cruise control, and 80-watt AM/FM/cassette stereo with six speakers and power antenna — are often additional cost options on other cars, or may not be available at all. Other features include CFC-free air conditioning, power windows and door locks, front safety belt height adjustment, telescoping steering column and adjustable driver’s lumbar support.

The 1997 Saab 900 S models have a new luxury velour seat upholstery, with an elegant quilted, coarse-weave design. The new upholstery’s pattern is easier to keep clean, as dust and lint does not readily adhere to it. The 900 S is powered by Saab’s dual-cam 150-hp 2.3L naturally aspirated four- cylinder engine, available with a five -speed manual or optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with three driver-controlled shift modes: sport, normal and winter.

Turbo or V6 — Saab 900 SE is Designed for Excitement
For buyers who prefer an even higher equipment level and increased performance, the exciting 1997 Saab 900 SE five-door is available with a 185-hp turbo engine or 170-hp V6. Either version pampers its occupants with additional luxury features, such as sumptuous leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and manual shift boot, power front seats with three-position driver’s memory, power sliding glass sunroof, Automatic Climate Control (ACC), a 160-watt stereo system with eight speakers and a multi-function trip computer that, at the push of a button, calculates distance-to-empty, average fuel use, average speed and additional information.

The exciting 900 SE Turbo package transforms the luxury family hatchback into an aggressive performance sedan — on demand. The 185-hp 2.0L Saab four-cylinder Turbo engine delivers a potent match of torque and horsepower, while a standard rear spoiler, lowered sport chassis and 16-inch high-performance tires mounted on newly styled ‘Viking Aero” three-spoke alloy wheels help deliver the car’s performance potential to the road. The 1997-Saab 900 SE Turbo is available with a manual five- speed transmission or an electronically controlled four-speed automatic.

The 2.0L Turbo engine utilizes Saab’s Ecopower technology to achieve both high performance and high fuel economy — hallmarks of all Saab turbocharged engines. Ecopower engines feature four valves per cylinder with center-located spark plug and direct ignition, intercooled turbocharger, Saab Trionic electronic engine management, preheated oxygen sensor and a catalytic converter positioned close to the engine for quick warm-up. The 32-bit processor of the award-winning Saab Trionic system helps keep the exhaust emissions exceptionally low.

The low-inertia, full-boost turbocharger ensures an aggressive torque curve and strong acceleration, with boost pressure monitored by Saab’s Automatic Performance Control (APC). Saab turbochargers, with water-cooled bearings and maintenance-free operation, are an integrated part of the engine, and are designed to last the life of the vehicle. For six-cylinder engine enthusiasts, Saab offers a naturally-aspirated 2.5L V6 engine on the 900 SE five-door as an option, matched exclusively with the electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The 170-hp V6 features four overhead cams, 24 valves and a narrow cylinder angle of 54 degrees between banks. An electronic Traction Control System (TCS) is standard with the V6 engine. Six-cylinder Saab 900 SE five-doors emphasize driving comfort and refinement. Like all Saab engines, the V6 provides a high level of low-end torque for maximum flexibility and responsive passing ability. Viking Aero wheels and a rear spoiler are now standard equipment on the 900 SE V6 five-door.

Safety Engineering — Integrated in Every Saab
The roomy Saab 900 five-door is designated by the EPA as a “Mid-size” car, which gives it an advantage in interior room over its many compact-sized competitors. And while spaciousness is crucial to Saab enthusiasts, so is safety. Every Saab 900 five-door includes a lengthy list of standard safety features, such as dual air bags, daytime running lights, anti-lock brakes (ABS), lap and shoulder safety belts and head restraints in all five seating positions (optional rear seat center head restraint), industry- leading 5-mph self-restoring bumpers, side-impact reinforcement, the innovative rear “Saab Safeseat” and Saab’s renowned safety cage construction with front and rear crumple zones.

With the rear seat in its locked upright position, the unique “Saab Safeseat” design can be fully appreciated. This design, shared by all Saab 900s, integrates special crossbeams under the seat and at the top of the rear seatback. The sturdy upper crossbeam not only provides a cross-car reinforcement in the even of a side collision, but also anchors the rear headrests and three lap-and-shoulder safety belts. In addition, it serves as a bulkhead to protect passengers from shifting cargo in the luggage compartment. The “Saab Safeseat” complements the Saab 900’s side impact reinforcement, built into the front and rear doors of the five-door. Saab’s commitment to safety goes beyond the crash-test laboratory. Since 1972, Saab safety engineers have investigated thousands of accidents involving Saabs in Sweden. Crucial information about how Saabs respond in real-world accident situations is continuously integrated into the design and engineering of all Saab cars.

The Saab 900 five-door also offers a pair of optional integrated child seats built into the rear seats. Available on either the 900 S or SE, the booster seats are suitable for most children from 3 to 10 years old, weighing between 33 and 80 pounds. The child is properly positioned by the booster seat to be correctly restrained by the car’s standard lap and shoulder belt, and the seat’s integral headrest offers further protection.

Brilliant New Paint Process
The Saab 900 five-door color palette gets a lustrous new addition of Mica- metallic paints — Midnight Blue and Cayenne Red, both available with Taupe velour on the 900 S or Sand Beige leather. Mica paints contain a high metallic flake content that diffuses reflected light, producing a deeper luster and richer color. In addition, other color choices for the 1997 Saab 900 five-door line includes metallic Scarabe Green, Citrin Beige and Silver, and solid paints: Cirrus White, Black and sporty Imola Red. Saab’s excellent warranty protection includes four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to- bumper coverage with 24-hour roadside assistance, and six year coverage for perforation, with no mileage limit. Saab’s first maintenance service at 5,000 miles is performed free of charge.

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