The last new SAAB sold in US was a 2011 model 9-5. It was a fairly big and conventional car and shared many of its underpinnings with the Chevy Malibu, understandable in light of the fact that both were products of General Motors.
It was not always thus as SAAB (the use of all caps reflects the fact that the car maker’s name is an acronyn for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget or Swedish Airplane Company) was once a proud independent company.
New England Feral Cars field scout Bosco “Pero” Dontonicus found this wonderfully preserved 1970 96 model parked on a Boston street corner. First generation SAABs were powered by a 3 cylinder two stroke motor of under 1 liter displacement but SAAB went modern in 1967 with the introduction of a Ford of Germany-sourced V4 and that’s the case with this teardrop-shaped little beauty. There’s a sticker on the trunk lid indicating the car was purchased from Lewis Auto Sales in Lisbon, ME. While Lewis had been an authorized SAAB dealer since 1960, the firm now offers an inventory of no fewer than 21 used SAABs.
GM invested in SAAB in the late 1980s and took a 100% stake in 2000, only to walk away from its Swedish subsidiary in 2008 when it found itself facing bankruptcy and could no longer afford to keep things going in Trollhättan. Long before this downward spiral SAAB introduced its wildly successful 900 convertible in the 1980s. It was the brainstorm of Robert Sinclair, the company’s US President, who foresaw a market for a reasonably priced topless car of Scandinavian origin. We found a 900 Turbo on the street the other day and admired the fact that its owner seemed to be oblivious to atmospheric conditions, leaving the back window open to, literally, soak up environmental elements like rain and leaves.
That’s our SAAB story for today. The last image here is of one of the very final SAAB cars — a 2011 9-5 sedan — to have been sold in the United States, already an uncommon site after just the three years.
Tony Scott, the late film director was “discovered” by producer Jerry Bruckheimer on the basis of this SAAB commercial, pitting a car against a jet fighter. Top Gun, anybody?
f you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us: info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.