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The Saab 900 is a car produced by Saab Automobile from 1978 until 1998 in two generations. The first generation from 1978 to 1993 is known as the “classic”; the generation from 1994 to 1998 is known as the “new generation”.
The “classic” Saab 900 is based on the Saab 99 chassis, though with a longer front end to meet U.S. frontal crash regulations. The 900 was produced in 2- and 4-door sedan, and 3- and 5-door hatchback configurations; in addition, from 1986, a convertible model was produced.
The Classic Saab 900 is a front-engined, front-wheel-drive compact car with a longitudinally mounted, 45-degree slanted, L 4-cylinder engine.
Like its predecessor the 99, the 900 contained a number of unusual design features that distinguish it from most other cars. First, the engine was installed “backwards”, with power delivered from the crank at the front of the car. Second, the transmission, technically a transaxle, bolted directly to the bottom of the engine to form the oil pan (albeit with separate oil lubrication). Thus, power from the crank would be delivered out of the engine at the front, then transferred down and back to the transmission below, via a set of chain-driven primary gears.
Refined over several decades of two-digit Saab models, the 900’s double wishbone suspension design provided excellent handling and road feel. The rear suspension comprised a typical beam axle design. The 900 utilized a deeply curved front windshield, providing the best driver visibility, calling attention to the marque’s aircraft legacy. Also underscoring their aircraft lineage, the 900’s dashboard was curved to enable easy reach of all controls and featured gauges lit up from the front. Saab engineers placed all controls and gauges in the dashboard according to their frequency of use and/or importance so that the driver need not divert his gaze from the road for the shortest possible time and by the smallest angle. This is why, for example, the oft-used radio is placed so high in the dashboard.
Saab was the first manufacturer to introduce a turbocharger to a non sports car. The Saab 900 convertible usually had a 16 valve turbocharged engine.
500 Commemorative Edition 900T convertibles were delivered to the U.S. market in 1994. They were the last 500 classic 900 convertibles to be built. The horsepower was increased to 185 hp by outfitting the cars with the “red box” APC controller, a 2.8-bar fuel pressure regulator (base turbo was 2.5 bar), and a distributor with enhanced vacuum advance. The interior was further embellished by a walnut dash facia and a leather gear knob and gaiter. The wheels were 15″ “directionals” painted medium-gray metallic with a polished lip. They all had the 5-speed manual transmission. The tan leather interior was further enhanced with black piping, which was exclusive to this model. The cars were all painted Nova Black Metallic (another feature exclusive to the 1994 Commemorative Edition) and had tan canvas tops. The 1994 CE vehicles did not have a plaque designating or celebrating the series. The VIN numbers do however run sequentially, the only Saab special edition series to do so.
1994 Saab 900 convertible, Commemorative Edition, only 500 produced, 89.418 miles.