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Saab 900 Model Introduction



The car that made SAAB ... The classic 900 underpinned SAABs move as a world-wide Auto-maker. Its distinctive look was matched by secure roadholding and the exceptional performance of both the 8 and 16 valve Turbo models.


3 Door T16 and T16S models with the optimum wheel and suspension specification can match the finest of today's sports saloons in roadholding and performance, and make a very attractive buy for people looking to tune their first car.


We Raced the 900 during 1987 and 1988, winning most of the races in the United Kingdom during this period with a perfect reliability record.


As always, racing this model provided us with a valuable insight into the workings of this classic car. Since those long gone race days, a succession of Classic 900's have been tuned at Abbott Racing, or at other tuners around the world using our proven products.


Many thousands of Classic 900's have been fitted with our chargecooler system, each and every time the owners are delighted with the difference in power and economy that the chargecooler kit offers.


Even now in the year 2005, rarely a day passes without a Classic 900 being modified in our workshops, tuning from mild to wild - the Classic remains exactly as its name suggests - a true classic, built in excellent SAAB tradition.




A Brief History of the Classic 900 Turbo models.



Above: The SAAB 99, the car that was directly responsible for a large amount of what we know today as the Classic 900.


Originally launched in 1979 with 145 bhp and a 4-speed gearbox, the Classic 900 Turbo 8V was met with universal press acclaim, with American magazine Motorsports weekly saying that "No other car in the world could carry five people in comfort, whilst matching the performance and economy of the SAAB 900 Turbo". Whilst in the United Kingdom, Autosport magazine reported "If you were to conclude from the performance and quality that this is just about the best motor car which is at present being made, anywhere, you wouldn't be far wrong."



Above: A 1981 Classic 900 Turbo shows its excellent wet-weather stability


It would be fair to say that the Classic 900 made quite an impression on all that drove it at the time of release. Its innovations were indeed quite significant, not only was the car Turbocharged, but it had an ergonomic curved dash design (aircraft inspired), a collapsible steering column to prevent head and chest injuries in the event of a frontal crash, and a cabin pollen filter to protect driver and passengers from airborne particles.


In 1980, the five speed gearbox became an option on the Turbo and EMS models, as well as new twin tail lamps and grille, and by 1981 a four-door version of the car was released following its first public showing at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show. All the 900's from 1980 onwards received a new engine - the H-Engine, which was lighter and more powerful.



Above: The H-Engine, a reliable 8-valve unit, as fitted to the post 1980 900 Turbo.


In 1982 SAAB introduced to the world, the APC (Automatic Performance Control) system, although it was only initially available on the Scandinavian models. APC controls the boost pressure delivered by the turbocharger and integrates its own knock detection system that allowed the engines to run on differing grades of fuel without causing damage from pre-ignition.


1983 - Asbestos-Free brakes were introduced - an automotive industry first! Electrically operated sunroof and leather trim became an option for the Turbo models.


For 1984 the biggest leap for the Classic 900 Turbo occurred - the introduction of the 16-Valve Engine. With centrally mounted Spark plug, double overhead camshafts and hydraulic lifters and an intercooler, this unit delivered 175 Bhp. Staggering power for its era. Ed Abbott at that time was Jaguar Test Engineer, he recalls that even Jaguar purchased a Classic 900 Turbo for assessment, such was its impact!



Above: The SAAB 16-Valve engine was thouroughly tested...


In 1986 the 8-valve Turbo model gained the intercooler (Possibly called the 900 Tii? - unconfirmed) from its big brother the T16S, this bought the 8-valve up to 155 Bhp from its original un-intercooled 145 Bhp, still a respectable figure given the time period. For 1987 the convertible model was released with the 175 Bhp T16S engine, all 900 models from 1987 onwards also have an updated front end, with a slight slant to the nose and a new grille, headlights and an integrated spoiler on the front bumper. Catalysts were also fitted to all markets from 1987 onwards.


1988 saw the introduction of a water-cooled Turbocharger, apparently this was to improve the overall reliability of the unit and increase its life expectancy. Along with the Turbocharger, the brakes were upgraded to vented front discs and shared the same wheel bolt pitch as the 9000, and the handbrake now operated on the rear wheels.


The 8-valve Turbo engine was faded out in 1989 leaving all Turbo models as 16-valve motors, the injection models also gained the 16-valve motor, and the carburettor version was removed from the model lineup. ABS brakes became standard on the Turbo model at this time, and were an option on all other specifications.


By 1990 all engines in the 900 range were 16-valve, including SAABs newly introduced LPT (Light Pressure Turbo) 900S. For 1992 ABS became a standard feature on all European models.



Above: A fine T16S tuned by us and featured in many motoring press articles, in the background our race winning 9000 CS.


So to 1993, the end of the road for the Classic 900 came in the form of 200 special edition models "Ruby" editions, based on a full specification T16S the Ruby's have Air-con, special seats, color coded bumpers, smoked grey wheels and padded door panels inside. The body was obviously painted in SAABs "Ruby Red" color but did without the Aero body kit that normally adorns the T16S models.


The last Classic 900 model came off the production line on the 26th of March 1993. Apparently the final car was an Imola Red 900 Aero which was immediately driven to the SAAB museum in Trollhatten. A total of 908,817 Classic 900's were made - 48,888 of which were convertibles.

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