The Saab 99 Turbo and 900 Turbo were Swedish Crystal Balls: they more accurately foretold the future of automotive powertrains better than perhaps any other car until Tesla’s EVs.
The similarities are many: Saab wasn’t a car company; it was an airplane manufacturer, so it did things differently than other automakers. Saab was obsessed with safety. And Saab was concerned about real-world speed and efficiency rather than looking just at numbers.
And as a result, Saabs were bought by non-mainstream buyers. Just like today’s EVs.
In this episode, Jason Cammisa explains why the 99 and 900, which were effectively the same car, were revelations. They included a handful of world-firsts, including low-boost-pressure, high compression-ratio four-cylinders that more closely resemble today’s turbos than anything else of the era.