Archive for December, 1997

SAAB PRO RALLY TEAM CAPTURES GROUP 5 CHAMPIONSHIP

Posted on 01. Dec, 1997 by .

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SAAB PRO RALLY TEAM CAPTURES GROUP 5 CHAMPIONSHIP

NORCROSS, Ga. – When the dust, mud and snow settled at the conclusion of the 1997 Michelin/SCCA PRO Rally series, the Saab rally team drove away with the Group 5 championship, and the coveted Woodner Cup for fastest 2-wheel-drive competitor of the season. The final race, the Maine Forest Winter Rally in Rumford, was the deciding event that clinched the point advantage for the Saab rally team in their 300-hp Saab 900 Turbo Coupe. On surfaces varying from fresh snow to hardpacked snow and ice, Team Saab was able to make a strong start and maintain an early lead after the first two race stages. Driver Sam Bryan and navigator Rob Walden then held their lead by using a more conservative driving strategy to finish first in class without once sliding off the icy
roads.

During the season, Bryan and Walden drove the potent turbocharged Saab 900 to a class victory in six of the eight races in which they competed. Finishing ahead of many of the powerful 4-wheel-drive competitors, Team Saab placed fourth overall in the series, earning them the title of fastest 2-wheel-drive competitor and the series’ traditional Woodner Cup.

The Woodner Cup, awarded annually since 1989, is named in honor of former rallyist Jon Woodner who was killed in an experimental aircraft accident. After rallying became dominated by 4WD cars in the ’80s, Woodner’s skillful driving and capable rally car proved that 2WD could still pose a serious competitive threat. Bryan continues to prove that it takes more than 4WD for a strong finish in a rally.

This is the second class championship Bryan and Walden have earned behind the wheel of a Saab, as well as the second Woodner Cup they have won. Bryan, from Kent, Washington, and Walden, from Seattle, have been rallying together since 1995, when they campaigned a naturally aspirated Saab 900
to a 2WD Group 2 championship.

“Saabs are a natural on the rally circuit,” Bryan commented. “They are well balanced, solidly built, and the turbo provides the ideal kind of low-end torque needed in a rally for quick acceleration from any speed. We drive our Saab 900 Turbo extremely hard, in all conditions, and this season it has rewarded
us with a championship.” PRO Rally is flat-out racing against the clock, hurtling down twisty wilderness tracks at speeds averaging between 30 and 90 mph, contending with mud, rocks, loose gravel, snow, ice, water crossings and hairpin turns. Rally stages are held during the day and night, in all kinds of weather.

Sponsored by Saab Cars USA, Inc., the rally-edition Saab 900 features a potent 300-hp 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder. Sporting Saab Monte Carlo Yellow paint and brightly colored graphics, the No. 900 rally car has proven to be a crowd favorite as it thunders by at each rally event. 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 Sweden’s Tour of Vstergvtland winter rally, and the
rugged little car promptly won.

In the U.S., Saab’s rally heritage dates back to 1956, when three factory-fresh Saab 93s conquered challenging winter 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 unique Swedish automobiles.

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.

With the conclusion of the 1997 season, SCCA celebrates 25 years of PRO Rally competition in the U.S. Most of this season’s rallies, including the Maine Forest Winter Rally, have been taped for broadcast on ESPN2.
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SAAB TO UNVEIL ENTIRE NEW MODEL LINE AT NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

Posted on 01. Dec, 1997 by .

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SAAB TO UNVEIL ENTIRE NEW MODEL LINE AT NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

9 3 SAAB TO UNVEIL ENTIRE NEW MODEL LINE AT NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOWNORCROSS, Ga. – Saab launches an entire new range of cars at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, Jan. 10-19, 1998 – featuring the world premiere of the new 1999 Saab 9-3 (pronounced “nine three”) Convertible, Coupe and five-door, and the North American debut of the new 1999 Saab 9-5 premium performance sedan.

Scheduled to go on sale in spring of 1998, the new Saab cars are powered exclusively by turbocharged engines, and feature a host of new safety innovations such as the Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR), a world-first safety system that reduces the risk of whiplash injuries. The new Saab 9-3 is the result of extensive refinement and re-engineering of the popular Saab 900, including a subtle restyling of the 900’s sporty and distinctive exterior, and more than 1,000 technical improvements and interior design changes. The 1999 Saab 9-3 goes on sale in the North American market during April, 1998.

For the new Saab 9-3, chassis engineers have significantly refined the handling, steering precision and ride comfort of the car. New front seats and revisions to the instrument panel improve driver ergonomics and emphasize the interior’s cockpit feel, while an upgraded climate system improves the interior
comfort for the occupants. The already high standard of crashworthiness has been improved further by the Saab Active Head Restraint and side-impact airbags included as standard on all Saab 9-3 cars. The car’s appearance has been enhanced by a restyled rear section, new bumpers and a new grille
featuring a sleek, wing-shaped center bar. A 185-hp 2.0L Turbo four-cylinder engine powers all variants of the Saab 9-3, while the Convertible receives a newly designed hydraulically powered soft top that is even faster and quieter than the previous generation top.

The all-new Saab 9-5 sedan is not simply a new car model; it is a showcase of innovation and intelligent engineering. Combining the best elements of Saab heritage with advanced automotive and aviation-inspired technology, the 1999 Saab 9-5 includes superb aerodynamics, comfort, safety and performance for a new standard in the luxury sedan segment. With Saab’s distinctive styling cues and character lines, as well as a drag coefficient of only 0.29, the 9-5’s sporty profile is supported by an all-new chassis with four-wheel independent suspension and two turbocharged powertrain choices. The new Saab single-bank turbo 3.0L V6 is the world’s first asymmetric turbocharger design. An integrated low-pressure turbocharger on the front cylinder bank feeds compressed air to the entire transverse-mounted engine, boosting low-end torque to 229 lb.-ft. at only 2,100 rpm. With four valves per cylinder, the asymmetric Turbo V6 develops 200 hp, and is matched exclusively with an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission.

The newly developed 2.3L Turbo four-cylinder engine shares few parts with the engine it replaces in the Saab 9000. Extensive refinements result in reduced weight and significantly lower internal friction, improving fuel consumption by about 5 percent. This new 170-hp engine produces 207 lb.-ft. of torque
at a mere 1,800 rpm. Both engines feature new electronic “drive-by-wire” technology, controlled by a new generation Saab Trionic engine management system.

Saab 9-5 safety systems include an exceptionally rigid safety cage, triple-path five-stage front-end crash structure, Saab Active Head Restraint, four airbags (front and side), front-seat belt pretensioners and a “collision deflector” side-impact protection concept. At night, an advanced instrument/control
panel – Saab Night Panel – displays information on a need-to-know basis, with a choice of illumination modes and variable brightness. Other technical highlights include a cabin double-filtration system, an independent “temperature zone” for the driver, an air-conditioned glovebox, and optional ventilated front seats that pull trapped warm air away from the driver or front passenger through perforated leather upholstery. An engine-immobilizing alarm system, with free-wheeling lock mechanism, is among the best anti-theft protection in the world.

Saab’s excellent warranty protection includes a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage with 24-hour roadside assistance, and six-year coverage for perforation, with no mileage limit.
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