10 October 2020

More than an old car #155: Saab 9000

Things have become more busy from now on and thus I may not post that frequently...however I have literally hundreds of cars in my archives that I would really like to write about, so I seek your patience! Let us focus on this rather unique 1988 Saab 9000 CC that I came across recently!

The genesis of the 9000 first began in 1974 as a replacement for the Saab 99, known as New Generation Saab. The project was delayed and restarted in 1977 as an intended merger with Volvo, known as the X29. When the merger failed, Saab then began talks with Fiat-owned Lancia. It was first released to the public in 1984, and it represented Saab's foray into the executive car market after receiving positive feedback from the earlier 900 model. Saab shared a platform with Fiat and as such, its body was also designed by Giorgetto Giugario. Despite the 9000's similarity to its Italian cousins (Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema), only 7 car parts were interchangeable. This was partly due to the radically different front end for crash protection purposes.

The 9000 was initially available only as a 5-door hatchback known as the CC (Combi Coupe), although a variety of engines and special versions were offered. In 1987, a sedan version was introduced, known as the CD (Corps Diplomatique). A facelifted liftback was also introduced in 1991, known as the CS (Combi Sedan) featuring new grilles, headlights and a modified rear end. The 9000 CC was powered by a 1985 cc B202 i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 190 km/h with an acceleration of 9.4 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4620 mm long and weighed 1320 kg, with a fuel consumption of 8.6 litre/100 km.

Production of the Saab 9000 ended in 1998 where it was succeeded by the 9-5. A total of 503,087 were made, of which 216,385 were the 9000 CC liftback. It was sold here back in 1987 by Minerva Motor Pte Ltd, at a price of S$147,150 [S$279,028 in today's money]. Local reviews praised its ride comfort and luxurious looks, although there was a tendency for understeer when driven around corners. Another gripe was its higher price compared to German competitors.

This unit could very well be the only one left in Singapore, as Saab 9000s were not as highly regarded as its well-established competitors in the Mercedes W124 and BMW E34. Evidently, it has not moved for quite some time as seen by the thick layer of dust on it, even though its lifespan had been extended. While you may not be able to see this one on the roads any time soon, I hope this has been informative in bringing these cars closer to home!

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