Archive for September, 2007

Saab History – Redundancy Site Acknowledgement

Posted on 30. Sep, 2007 by .

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The Saab History project, an independently managed promotional site that was officially launched just over a year ago now understands that there is a content redundancy website being launched in an effort to provide duplicate content, derived from Saabhistory.com

This proposed website indicates that it will be including historical content, in an identical fashion to this site. The first example and latest installment on a site that will most likely merge into this new website, features a video titled “Nothing on Earth Comes Close“. This video was donated by the Saab Club of the United Kingdom to Saab History a good year ago and has been on this website’s video archive ever since.

While it important to identify this site, it is also important to emphasize that the content that I provide here on Saab History will continue to cite the author and/or respected source and makes no efforts to duplicate content on other websites that was originally created as original works without the author’s or creator’s permission.

It is most unfortunate that no matter how hard one works, there is always someone out there looking to use other’s work to their own advantage.

I hope that you continue to enjoy Saab History and thank you for your patronage.

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The First Rescue Attempt of the Saab Scandia 90 – 1987

Posted on 30. Sep, 2007 by .

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digitalizar0143 600 The First Rescue Attempt of the Saab Scandia 90   1987

Photo Credit: Carlos Piper taken in 1980

The Saab Scandia 90 as I indicated earlier was the first civilian airliner introduced by SAAB which also carried the first numerical designation of the number 9.

In my reading lately, I came across a passage in the recent book that I received, In Quest Of A Company Soul, that describes the first attempt that was made by Saab aircraft as well as the highly profitable Scania truck division to reclaim this last remaining historical artifact of SAAB’s history.

One thing needs to be made clear as the photo above will indicate, this aircraft still resides outside in the Museo de Armas in a small town called Bebeduoro, Brazil in South America. The excerpt below from the book indicates that this plane was rescued in 1987, but as we know it is actually incorrect, but the story itself is very interesting nontheless and a valiant attempt. One can hope that at some point again in the near future, SAAB Aircraft in Linköping can attempt to work out a deal with this museum and see that the Scandia 90 comes home.

    Lest we forget sentimentality, as demonstrated by the following story about a lost aircraft.

    On an unusually hot, steamy morning in San Paulo, I take a little twin-engine Beechcraft on a nostalgic trip to the Brazilian inland. Together with my fellow passengers I fly over forest-green mountains and beautiful alleys and land on a clay landing strip outside the godforsaken city of bebeduoro. Traveling with me is a rescue squad consisting of a finance manager and a former personnel manager. The latter is our expedition leader, and quite rightfully so considering the nature of our mission: to retrieve a member of the company, one who long ago lost her way in the South American jungle and now, with the help of my associates, will be brought back to her native country.

    And the rescue mission is a success. There, in the middle of the city in what apperas to be a deserted industrial site, we see her. Quiet and still and appearing quite tired, she looks down on me, squinting with her black “cabin eyes”. Many years ago she started an epoch. She is the last of the 18 Linköping-made Saab 90 Scandias, a remarkable twin-engine commercial aircraft, and Sweden’s first ever. By some strange twist of fate all 18 ended up in Brazil, where two crashed and 15 were scrapped after having served their intended purpose. One remained, intact but worn, and was retired to a technical museum in this sun-dried city reeking of oranges from the local marmalade factory.

    Now she is going to be bough back, removed from her exile and transported home, where she will be displayed outside the aircraft plant in which was once her home town as a reminder of where today’s SF340 has its roots. The story behind this is a typical Saab-Scania family affair.

    For many years the profit-generating Scania Division of Södertalje had to help the Saab Car Division in Trollhättan to survive until its cars achieved success. Now, Scania’s prospering Brazilian subsidiary has stepped in and contributed part of its record profits to pay the ransom for this old Saab plane, while the Aircraft Division at home in Linköping feverishly searches for new markets and new projects to achieve stability.

    But the rescue mission in Bebeduoro has another side to it – about a company searching for its roots.
    A company is like a multi-storied house where the people grow up and live their lives, where junk is stored in the basement and memories in the attic in boxes like old toys. All the while the house is extended and renovated and people move in and out. But deep inside, it is still the same old house.

    As an adult, a person can suddenly be overtaken by a desire to relive his childhood. When the impulse strikes, you suddenly find yourself up in the attic digging around among things you’d forgotten you had. You take out old photo albums, sign on seeing the remnants in your old toy box and ask yourself, “Remember?”

    You take down your dusty old toy car and put it – as you would a valuable – on a shelf in your living room. You see your life reflected in things; hopes and dreams become comprehensible. You see relationships and suddenly feel you have loved your life, how there is so much left though so much has already passed.

    Yesterday the Scandia, today the SF340.

    Every generation is in debt to the one before it and has something to pass on to one after it. You cannot expect your successors to have to rediscover everything.

 Sometimes a company also has to seek out its own roots in order to better understand its future.

Source: In Quest Of A Company Soul, by Bertil Torekull

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New Saab Owner from Washington, D.C. Speaks!

Posted on 26. Sep, 2007 by .

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Gryphon of the Washington, D.C. area has submitted responses to some questions I asked him recently as well as some wonderful photos of him and his beautiful 2006 Saab 9-3 SportCombi. Gryphon is a new Saab owner and has really taken on a whole lot of enthusiasm for the brand and clearly exhibits this with his submittal today. Thank you Gryphon and welcome once again to the Saab Community!

Here is what he has to say.

Name: Gryphon
Location: Northern Virginia (Washington, DC Area)

Why did you decide on the SAAB 9-3 SportCombi?

I did a lot of research before buying my 2006 9-3 SportCombi. I test drove the Mercedes Benz C-Class wagon as well as the comparable wagons from BMW and Audi. I also looked at a series of small and mid-size SUVs. The field of competitors is strong, but the SAAB won hands down. It’s easily the most versatile and capable car on the market. The gas mileage is great, and no other vehicle on the market offered the features and the value of the SportCombi. So, my decision was easy.

Is this your first SAAB?

I guess that the right term of me is a “conquest.” Before I bought my 9-3 SportCombi, I was a Mercedes fan. My last car was the 2003 Mercedes C-Class.

Are you thinking about a new SAAB any time soon?

Actually, yes. I am very interested in the MY 2008 SAAB 9-3. I just heard that they have made it to the DC market, and I am going to make my way over to my local dealer. This time, I think I will get the Aero Convertible. The new MY 2008 9-3s are simply gorgeous. The new aggressive styling should be received well by the market.

Also, in the not-so-distant future, I’d love to get my hands on a 2000 Viggen. I missed that car when it launched, but whenever I see one, I fall for it all over again.

Do you see a lot of SAABs in the area?

Yes! I think SAAB does quite well in the Washington, DC market. On this morning’s commute, I saw a gorgeous lime green SAAB 9-3 Convertible. If I had not been driving, I would have snapped a pic. The next time I see a local SAAB, I’ll send it in for the SAAB of the Week posting.

Anything else?

I just want to say how much I appreciate the SAAB History project. There’s so much useful information here, and I check it frequently. There’s still a lot of info on here that I need to review!

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Saab Sailing Cup – Saab Automobile Poland

Posted on 26. Sep, 2007 by .

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saab sailing logo Saab Sailing Cup   Saab Automobile Poland

Photo Credits: Saab Sailing Cup / Saab Automobile Poland

Saab Automobile Poland are wrapping up the summer long 2007 Saab Sailing Cup program after completing the recent SPRAY CUP regatta this past weekend, Sept. 22nd-23rd, 2007 in Warsaw, Poland. The final event will take place this coming weekend , the 28th and 29th of September.

Here are some excellent photos that capture this engagement which appear to be sporting two teams amongst many other competitors, which are both the SAAB team as well as the Saab BioPower team. The SAAB team is an all-male team while the Saab BioPower team is all-female. If the BioPower sailboat has an inboard motor, I sure hope that they are running a BioPowered motor in that thing given their team name emblazoned on the side of the boat.

I have sent an e-mail into Saab Automobile Poland for a press release, but I have not yet received a response. I have also sent in an e-mail to the Saab Club of Poland for some translations of this website, so please be patient.

Is Saab trying to reconnect to their roots of competing in the marine industry as a connection to the SAAB boats they made back in 1944? Please post your comments below.

For more information about this promotional engagement that Saab Automobile Poland has been involved in, please visit their website.

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The Details of the Toppola Camper

Posted on 26. Sep, 2007 by .

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toppola 600 The Details of the Toppola Camper

Drawing Source: Official Toppola Website

People on the move enjoy the Toppola Camper!

With the Toppola Camper you can hook up your trailer or “housewagon” behind your SAAB. For those that own a horse or a boat or likewise need a transport carriage, the Toppola Camper is the ideal option. It gives you possibility to live both cheaply and comfortably.

Many self-employed have seen the possibilities with the Toppola. On the transport carriage you will load the work gear, anything from ladders and paint cans to mini-diggers, and on your Saab you’ve got the Toppola Camper. Working far away from home, it’s comfortable after the days work to spend the night in your Toppola Camper.

Well built and well equipped

There are many parameters that make the Toppola Camper a success. Quality, the very detailed work and all the gadgets are some of them. Even in the standard version the Toppola Camper is very well equipped.

When you first enter the Toppola Camperyou’ll realize how throughly engineered the design really is. In front on the second level, you’ll find the generous queensize bed (200 X 170 cm) with room to spare even for large people. Underneath the big bed there is room for 2 more bunks when the cars rear seat is folded in the down position.

The Pantry part, where you get full headroom (200 cm) it is well lit and comfortable, due to the large windows that can be opened. In the ordinary working height there’s a sink with running water connected to a drainage system with a water tank and electric stove with two burners. In the roof above the pantry there’s an air vent.

The Toppola Camper is made for the Nordic climate and is well suited as a winter living area. The electric kerosene stove is also a heater and the walls are well insulated. That’s why you can live comfortably in the TC even in the winter.

Toppola Camper has several storage spaces for “loose” objects. Inside the door there’s even a small closet where you can hang your clothes.

* Toppola Camper is built to be mounted on 3-5 doors Saab 99 and 900
* Length:3.3m
* Largest width: 1.9m
* Height: 2.0 meters
* Top height mounted on a car: circa 2.5m
* Internal height: (standing up) 2.0m
* Weight: circa 150 kg (total weight increase circa 115 kg due to the removal of the rear hatch when the TC is mounted.)
* Material: Fiberglass polyester, sandwich construction with termanto-isolation as “distance material?”
* Outer walls are 20 mm thick altogether (=Winter proof). Internal cupboards and shelves is made in board or plywood covered with a hardened surface.
* Car mounting: 6 roof points with strengthened plates. Rear mountings in the ordinary rear hatch lock.
* Electrical system: 12 volts connected to car electrical system.
* Internal lights: 2 bedside, 3 in the pantry
* Water: Electrical pump with an automatic tap. Freshwater tank holds 10 liters.
* Drain: Connected system with spill water tank.
* Electronic kerosene stove (Wallas) with 2 burners. Works with the internal fan system as a central heater.
* Ventilation: 1 roof valve, 1 free operable roof hatch with mosquito net, 2 smaller windows on the upper level, 2 large windows in the pantry.
* Mount time: 15- 30 minutes
* Extra accessories: Fire extinguisher, foot step, kitchen fan, AC, Spring hardener, mount stand.
* Finance: possibility of to 8 years finance with 20% cash up deposit.

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The History of the Toppola Camper

Posted on 26. Sep, 2007 by .

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There has been a lot of inquiries as of late arriving here at Saab History, specifically pertaining to the state of the Toppola camper top that properly fits Saab 900 hatchback models.

The Toppola history is quite a lengthy one, and thanks to the individual who designed the Toppola, Peter Malmberg of Sweden, we have it here translated from Swedish to English by Calle of the Saab Turbo Club of Sweden. Enjoy!

Source: The Toppola Website

Everything started in the early eighties when Arwo Pullola from Filipstad got inspired to build a car-camper later named Toppola.

The word Toppola came from “Topp” (Top) – and “ola” a finish endin (suffix) since Arwo hailed from Finland.

In 1982 i got in contact with Arwo and this later led to us buying the project from him and started the compalny EMICO i Kågeråd AB. We rented an old forge fitting our purposes.
Kågeröd is located between Helsingborg and Malmö a couple of miles from the coast.

We – thats Peter Malmberg and Matts Mollestam, both from the boat industries, where Matts was a very talented boat builder, and I was selling boat assecories.

This has influenced us building the Toppola that’s always been built boat-ish as possible with quality in mind.

The spring of 1982 got of to a great start with ten shippings in which we also started to get used to the project, leading to us working 24/7 to get it all done in time. After ten campers we had to temporalily stop the production because of flaws in the mold. Using this mold would result in a lot of extra work, and we decided to re-design them.

This doesnt mean the first Toppolas dont live up to the same quality as the later ones.
The distinguishing feature for theese Toppolas is that the door is placed on the left side of the rear, and the rails on the roof are corrugated and that the body tilts a little backwards.

A fun-to-know fact is that SAAB Norway could not wait for the new mold for the Toppolas, they wanted two for a presentation. Their two Toppolas was therefore made in the old mold.

The next generation used molds that worked much better in the production, and slightly changed the apperance. The rear was raised 10 centimeters to give the Toppola a lighter apperance, the early Toppolas made a rear-heavy impression.

The corrugated surface of the roof rails was was eavend out, and we changed the interior. The door was still located on the left side of the rear. During the summer of 1982 a lot of prototypes were made, all of them a evolution of each other.

Early september SAAB entered the picture. It was an overwhealming time with big vhangdes and a new way of thinking. There was a big difference between little EMICO and huge SAAB.

It was a time of incredible development for the Toppola because SAAB demanded our camper to be as good looking and nice, both on the inside and outside, as their cars.

We changed pretty much everything, the rear door of glass fiber on the left side of the rear was replaced with an aluminium door, located in the middle of the rear. Two small windows, one on each side of the door, was put in. Theese windows was put there for the view from the in-car rear view mirror. A circular window was installed in the top of the door to create a “cabin-feeling” and two small windows was put in head-height in the bed.

All fabrics was changed and light grey carpet on the floor and walls. The interior in cabinets and the pantry was changed and the biggest change, the Wallas-stove was introduced. This gave the opportunity to use the Toppola during the winter. The was both a stove and a heater, expansive as hell, but it made the Toppola a allaround product. Theese changes was made avalible to the public in the 1984 models. During the same period of time the colors of the Toppola was a white top-half, and a black down-half.

SAAB put a lot of work into the project, for one thing they made new brochures in four languages, Swedish, English, French and German. The thought was tp introduce the Toppola in all their markets. They manufactured a 16 page installation manual, also in four languages, and lots of other actions were made to help marketing.

We were included in the end of the production of the SAAB 9000, to make sure they didnt complicate the Toppola installation in the car.

At the SAAB 9000 première there were two black 9000 turbos with Toppolas at the entrance.

At this time the Toppola was the biggest and most expensive original assecorie for a SAAB and everyone was excited. We delivered as many as we could build and at the same time as the upgrade for the Toppola rebuilt the factory in Kågeröd and hired more personnel.

To make a long story shot and to avoid mentioning to many details it became obvius that EMICO and SAAB was to different in both size and culture and we had to close EMICO down. This was before christmas 1984. This was the school of hard knocks, but it was good if you could learn from it.

After this a couple of years with other activity in mind, i got control of the project again. With SAAB out of ht picture i started to think different about marketing. We didnt really have economic resources so i used press-releases. Toppolan was different so the papers was glad to included them, and often came back for a bigger report. This resulted in contacts, and the Toppola goit a place in both Sweden Now abd Sweden Today, which is a paper and a tv-show supported by the export counsil. This gave a lot of new contacs abroad and this led to dealerships in 13 countries. The export of the Toppola was accutally a deficit, since we had to help the new dealers get on their feet. But it was instructive.

We deleivered the most Toppolas to Germany, where we also got the TÃœV approved. TÃœv is the worlds toughest quality standard, where they test everything and test it hard. This took a year and was extremly expensive. We got a great reception in the papers and Tv in Germany but because TÃœv acted too slow, we were no longer news when everything was done. Despite this we sold about twenty Toppolas. In Germany during that time, Ford Sierra and Scorpio was the biggest import.

Simultaneously we got in trouble when a fire broke out in the premises we shared with another company. This was the start of one year of struggling with the insurance company. With both this and the TÃœV-approval in Germany was almost to much to handle. We fought against the current for some time, but in the end it was too hard, and I went on to other buisness. During this time we also had a successful Toppola rental, this was a appricitated way of trying before byuing.

A couple of years with other tasks later, the pressure from potential customers got to big, and i started to work on a brand new Toppola, that later was named Toppola II. When i was starting the project again, i wanted to use all the knowledge and impressions from the early years.

The most important request about the new Toppola, was ofcourse to be able to install the Toppola on all SAABs. To be able to switch the top so only the bottom, the living area, was standard and the rest was changeable. This bottom part was called “Damask” (Damast) and is today avalible for three cars: SAAB 900, 900 / 9.3 and SAAB 9000 CC.

This also resulted in a new model, brand new to us – The Pickup-Toppola. This Toppola fits just about all the pickup’s in the market with only one design. To build a camper for pickup’s was all new, since we got a competely different space to work with. There was no problem fitting a big kitchenette, a big table and four chairs and also being able to keep the same big bed ( 1,70×2 meters) as in the regular car camper.

We already had the technique of low weight building, so it was not problem building a fully equipped camper with a weight below 250 kilograms. We also made work-Toppolas where the interior consisted of both work-interior and living opportunity.

Another problem we had to solve was to make it possible for the owner to by him or herself lift the Toppola on and off the car. This was to be solves as cheap as possible, so that everyone could afford the lifting device, making it easier to mount the Toppola.
We manufactured many variations of this device and they worked fine, but they were expensive. What we did next was to build a scaffold, design “a childs swing”, to put on a couple of blocks, and a trailer winch. To make it all safe we put a hook on the roof of the Toppola.

The body was designed with advise from the aerodynamic team at SAAB Aircraft so that it would create less air resistance and we cracked the far-side so the outer width was set at 175 centimeters. This would result in the outer rear view mirrors were “outside” of the Toppola body, on most models.

Desipte that the width is smaller we have a bigger area on the inside than before and everything is more adapted to rational production.

The bed was big in the old body but we wanted to increase the foot space, we solved this by raisin the front and change the spolier so the matress could slide down in it. Thanks to the cracked far-side the bed got wider down by the feet, and up towards the waist.

The body was rounded in all corners and on the roof for the benefit of air resitance and looks, we extended the back edge on the roof for the air to “slide off” the Toppola easier and that also gave a better possibility to mount solar panels.

The new body also fits the modern day cars with more round shapes.

When we were done with the new body and started building, Sweden entered a economic recession and the leisure market stopped completely. We made a couple of every Toppola model you can see on the pictures.

It felt like the usual bad luck but we have a very good product and who knows what will happend in the future.

This was a part of the Toppola history.

Peter Malmberg

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Saab 9-7x Production Halted – Moraine, Ohio

Posted on 26. Sep, 2007 by .

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9 7x Saab 9 7x Production Halted   Moraine, Ohio

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile USA

UPDATE: 9.26.2007 – Moraine, Ohio plant resumes production. Everything is back to normal.

Moraine Resumes Production

Updated 11:30 PM Wednesday September 26, 2007

Moraine Assembly has resumed production operations beginning with 2nd Shift TODAY, Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

————

All employees should report to work at their regular starting times.

I have just been notified that the assembly line at the GM Moraine, Ohio plant has been halted as of 11:30am this morning. This is a result of the UAW strike that is now causing a lack of parts due to the “just-in-time” delivery method used at most if not all plants.

I hope these two parties can reach an agreement soon that works for everyone.

Here is the official press release from the LOCAL IUE 798

Updated 7:34 PM Tuesday, September 25, 2007

As of 7:34 PM EST,

1st Shift Production at Moraine Assembly is cancelled for Wednesday, September 26, 2007 only. The following employees should report to work unless otherwise notified by your Group Leader:

All Team Leaders Plant-wide

All Maintenance Employees Plant-wide

All Housekeeping/ET Employees Plant-wide

All Final Process Employees (including Body Dingmen and Paint Repair)

All Quality Care Line Employees

All Manufacturing Support Employees

All Salaried Employees

All other shifts should report to work as scheduled at this time.

Here is GM’s press release regarding the work stoppage due to part availability.

2007-09-25

GM Statement Regarding UAW Work Stoppage Impact on Parts Distribution

GM Service & Parts Operations has put processes in place to handle emergency orders. And we’re working with our carriers to ensure pick up and delivery of these products to our dealers.

In the meantime, we’re hopeful that an agreement will be reached as soon as possible.

Visit GM’s Manufacturing and Labor Resource web site: www.gmmanufacturing.info.

moraine press release Saab 9 7x Production Halted   Moraine, Ohio

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SAAB Scandia 90 : The Last One On Earth

Posted on 26. Sep, 2007 by .

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The SAAB Scandia 90 also known as project CT for (Civilian Transport), was SAAB’s first civil airliner. It was originally developed in 1944 in conjunction with ABA (Swedish Air Lines) to replace their DC-3’s and had its maiden voyage in November 16th of 1946. The seating capacity was equivalent to the more recent SAAB 340 aircraft with approximately 30 seats.

The Scandia aircraft began to see it’s focus change when new priorities came to SAAB by the Swedish Navy request that they redirect most of their resources to the SAAB J29 aircraft instead. At this point, SAAB needed to recover their costs involved in the massive investment they already in this attempt to get into the commercial airline industry. SAAB eventually attempted to sell the Scandia production division to FIAT who expressed interest, however it was FOKKER of the Netherlands that took over the ownership of the production on May 2nd, 1954. As part of this agreement, FOKKER completed a batch of six final aircraft beginning in April of 1954 where two were sold to VASP in Brazil and four to Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS) in Sweden. Unfortunately, shortly after this agreement was made, FOKKER’s resources ended up becoming saturated with the creation of a product line for a new generation of pressurized airplanes. This production line for the 6 Scandia 90’s by FOKKER ended in October of 1954, not long after they started. Three years later (1957), VASP in Brazil bought all of the remaining fleet of Scandia 90’s from SAS. VASP operated the Scandia 90 until it’s last revenue flight which was on July 22nd, 1969. There were a total of 18 Scandias built (1944-1954). The Scandia 90 was also the first use of the designation with the number 9 took place, marking the birthplace of the “9” designation for civilian projects that was eventually used for future aviation (SAFIR 91) projects, and ultimately the Saab automobile car until present day.

As I mentioned earlier, the last remaining Scandia 90 on the earth is located outside in a museum in the village of Bebeduoro, Brazil in South America. This museum is titled the Museo de Armas and is managed by curator Eduardo Andreia Matarazzo.

To take a look at their website, please visit their home page, matarazzo.org.

I also indicated previously that I was told while visiting SAAB in Linköping, Sweden back in the summer of 2005 that they have tried to buy this for their 50th anniversary in 1987, their 60th in 1997 as well as their recent 70th anniversary this year, but the owners at this museum continue to ask for a figure that is extremely unreasonable, something around 25 million dollars I recall. I sure hope that some day this museum will change their mind and sell the plane to complete SAAB’s collection of their aircraft back over in Sweden. This aircraft was a monumental and historical moment in time for SAAB and needs a new home where it could be restored to perfect working order inside and out, both mechanically and cosmetically as you can see from the photos above.

Here are the Production numbers where I have highlighted the aircraft serial number that resides in the museum in Brazil.

90001 SE-BCA Prototype
90101 SE-BSA Aerovias Brasil
90102 SE-BSB Aerovias Brasil
90103 PP-XEI Aerovias Brasil
90104 PP-XEJ Aerovias Brasil
90105 SS-BSB ABA/SAS
90106 SS-BSD ABA/SAS
90107 SE-BSH ABA/SAS
90108 SE-BSE ABA/SAS
90109 SE-BSF ABA/SAS
90110 SE-BSG ABA/SAS

90111 PP-SQN VASP
90112 SE-SQQ VASP
90113 SE-SQS VASP
90114 SE-SQT VASP
90115 SE-SQR VASP – LAST ONE REMAINING
90116 SE-BSK ABA/VAS
90117 SE-BSL ABA/VAS

Source: SAAB Aircraft since 1937 by Hans G. Andersson

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Production Concept