By on May 29, 2010

The PT Cruiser lit the world on fire … then it fizzled.  The new Beetle put a bug under many people’s bonnet – now it’s marked for extinction. That doesn’t deter Saab’s new owner Victor Muller of Spyker to think about a re-make of the legendary teardrop-shaped Saab 92 that was in production from 1949 to 1956.

“Discussions are already ongoing,” Muller said in a telephone interview with Automotive News [sub]. “That will be on my plate for the next 100 days.”

Spyker/Saab doesn’t want to build the car themselves, they are in technology/platform sharing talks with other (undisclosed) auto makers.

During the talk with AN, Muller shot down rumors that BAIC, the same company that bought the tooling for previous-gen Saabs, already has a  distributor contract for new Saabs in China. A few days ago, Gasgoo had reported that BAIC would replace Shanghai GM as Saab’s new sales agent in China. Muller said Saab wants to reach an agreement with a Chinese distributor within a couple months.

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19 Comments on “Nostalgia Is So Yesterday: Saab Plans New Old 92...”

  • avatar

    That pic reminds me of a print-ad for Saab from the mid-nineties. It was a close-up of a bumper sticker on a jet fighter’s wing, and it read:

    My other Saab is a car

  • avatar

    (Forgive me here if I get a few things wrong but I never was a Saab fanboy.)

    So is it going to have a V4 2-cycle engine and a freewheeling manual transmission?

    • 0 avatar

      Saab’s two-stroke engine was an inline 3 cyl. The V4 was sourced from Ford, originally used in commercial vehicles like the Taunus van. A college friend inherited a 96 from his sister, who got it from their parents in Maine. It was an older 3 cyl model, so it didn’t have oil injection and you’d have to pour a can of two-stroke oil into the gas tank at fill ups.

      I could be wrong, but I think that Saab was the only car company (post WWII) to offer a passenger car powered by a V4.

      Speaking of V4 engines, there’s a guy who makes V-Quad engines for custom bikes. It’s essentially two Harley Davidson twins mounted on a common crankcase.

    • 0 avatar

      Once, in the early 1960s, I saw a Lotus 23 sports racing car with a V4 engine. Wonder if it was a Ford.

    • 0 avatar

      @ Ronnie Schreiber:

      Lancia Appia.

    • 0 avatar

      A Ford V4 conversion is a popular (and often necessary) modification to NSU Ro80s.

      According to the Wikipedia, Ford have used their V4 for a number of cars and light commercials in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Uncle Mellow

      The first Saabs had a transverse 2-cylinder two-stroke , derived from the German DKW engines. When DKW went to 3-cylinders , so did Saab. These days DKW are called Audi.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, you’re wrong. The V4-engine was a Ford Cologne mill, it was used first in the Taunus 12M sedan ca. 1963/64. The all-new FWD-line sported 2 and 4-door sedans and wagons, a coupe, and a two-door windowless panel van. A year or two later Saab started using the V4 with 1,5L displacement in the 96, in combination with the free-wheel from the old 2-stroke engine. The free-wheeling technology allowed you to get off the gas without experiencing any engine-brakin, and it allowed for clutch-less shifting of the 4-on-the-tree transmission. By the way, V4-equipped Taunuses the opposite of smooth, they were notorius shakers!

  • avatar

    My Dad had a 1966 Ford Corsair with the Ford 1662 cc V4.

    It was kind of “gruff” but had loads of torque with a four speed manual. I learned to drive in it.

    I believe a 2 liter version was available later.

  • avatar

    The extinction of the New Beetle is strictly temporary — it’ll be back in less than two years. (This is also noted in the link above.)

    However, right now it’s the only remaining model produced in Mexico on the Golf Mk IV platform, and the relatively low current sales don’t make economical sense for continuing production. Moving it to the current platform will significantly improve both the production economics and the driving dynamics.

  • avatar

    My’66 96 had the 2-stroke Monte Carlo version w/3 carbs and oil injection. When the engine seized at 30mph, the freewheel disengaged the drivetrain and we coasted silently to a stop.
    Still, the steering and handling were superior. It was a lot of fun!

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Actually, it is exactly what I thought they should do. A small, and the 92 was a very small car, front drive coupe could be quite successful. The world does not need another C segment sedan. Using the 92 as a base might allow SAAB to get its quirk back.

    • 0 avatar

      >Using the 92 as a base might allow SAAB to get its quirk back.<

      Indeed! There's certainly a dearth of quirk in the car biz.

      I loved the 3cyl SAAB and owned one for a short period of time. The engine sounded like an electric motor-incredibly smooth.


  • avatar

    Maybe. Alternative case is SAAB needs to be bought out in 2-3 years. You can demonstrate some success, build the new 9-3, and let, say BMW, get another FWD platform to sell at a cheaper price point. Not sure if a new buyers wants a 9-2 to go along with it.

    In the US there is no “nostalgia” for the 9-2. Maybe some for the 99, but the nostalgia play for SAAB is a hatchback 900.

  • avatar

    the 3 cyl 2 stroke is firing like a 6 cyl 4 strk, so it will be quite smooth.
    I dont think the old 2 strk with oil mix is enviroly Kosher? I think they do make 2 strk with oil sump as on some truck diesel engines, some old Grey hounds was like that.

    The free wheelin was there for a reason, as 2 stroke does not have any oil sump, any lubrication comes from the fuel mix.
    SO when u use engine braking the engine revved up wit very little or no oil and your engine will burn/seize quickly, therefore the free wheelin is there to protect the engine, but can be dangerously should brake fail. Back in those days brakes were not nearly as good as the ones we get now.

    Heard of a case of brake fail in HK where the driver engaged the free wheelin, the control was located on left side ( RHD in HK & UK ) so he cannot lock up in a hurry, not sure how bad was the mishap still saw the driver after.

    Free wheelin could be a good way of saving gas too if they had incorporated into Auto box. Just like biking u can cheat a bit once on a flat.
    Install them in OD , just like the lock up converters.
    But car co. are not going to make cars for such good MPG.
    Soon enuf they will as Uncle Sam is slapping more max fuel economy rule into newer cars.

  • avatar

    I’m partial to the 96, someone worked up a good updated version and they did a post on it @ Jalopnik:

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    2 stokes are way too dirty for the clean air act. As for freewheeling. I am not sure it is a plus. Engine breaking is useful too. But the 92 is a nice basis for a small light sporty car.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    or Engine Braking.

  • avatar

    Hahaha, that’s funny. Her Bertil Schmitt again sees another angle to approach Saab negatively and what happens? A nice conversation about engines. Take a bow you people.

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