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  • Open Season: The Saab Convertible Story

    Attachment 2997
    Before 1983, associating a Scandinavian car company with soft-top motoring was a little bit like having a smooth-running railway network in the UK - a rather unusual state of affairs. But at the Frankfurt motor show in September of that year Saab revealed a prototype soft-top 900 so secret that it had been disguised while under wraps on the stand as an estate by the cheeky insertion of a plastic block on the bootlid.

    When the wraps came off, the reaction from the waiting press - and showgoing public - was so positive Saab couldn't help but put it into production. That finally happened in 1986, and ever since then the four-seat Scandinavian has proved an enduringly popular alternative to more mainstream convertibles - and particularly for those who want something that isn't made by Mercedes, BMW or Audi.

    And for a while at least the Saab convertible became the soft-top to have - at least if you couldn't afford a 911 or needed more than two seats. So we couldn't let the PH Open Season go by without investigating the history of such a significant symbol of modern top-down motoring.

    In The Beginning:
    As we've already mentioned, the Saab 900 convertible first basked in the public spotlight at the 1983 Frankfurt motor show, but its journey there was - appropriately for Saab - rather unconventional.

    It started in 1981 when Saab-Scania's US boss, Robert J Sinclair, spotted what he felt was a huge gap in the market for a medium-sized four-seat convertible, a market that US car makers (and, for that matter, many other car makers around the world) had almost completely abandoned for fear of hysterically stringent safety regulations.

    A team of Swedish engineers, with the soft-top help of the American Sunroof Company, duly turned Sinclair's idea into a prototype with a rumoured development budget of just $30,000.

    Continue reading at the PistonHeads website: link

    Attachment 2998
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