Ashtrays: 1984 -1998 Saab 9000

DTW is almost nauseously thrilled to be able to present this successor to the legendary Saab 900 ashtray.

1984-1998 Saab 9000 ashtray
1984-1998 Saab 9000 ashtray

A lot is revealed about the Saab 9000 merely by inspecting its ashtrays. The driver and front passenger can use a smoothly-actuating drawer-type unit with a capacity of nearly 200 mls. It’s very well situated and easy to open and close. In the back we find that


rear passengers are slightly less well-served: a horizontally hinged swing-type ashtray is situated in the back of the centre console.

Saab 9000 rear ashtray, closed
Saab 9000 rear ashtray, closed

It’s not really handy and while you’re sitting there you notice the seats (in leather) are such that you

Saab 9000 rear ashtray, open.
Saab 9000 rear ashtray, open.

feel as if you are perching on them not in them.

While we’re here, this is the driver’s area:


I had not had a chance to experience this before. This does not feel 30 years old. The Opel Senator from the same year (and any rear-wheel drive executive must have felt archaic in comparison). The driving position is excellent, as you’d expect from Saab.

It is disappointing that the rear ashtray is so basic and that the rear seats are less comfortable than they should have been. The velour upholstered seats might be better. What went wrong? The legroom is good and the door and centre armrests well located. Granada, 605, XM and R25 passengers would have felt cheated had they stepped into a 9000. Are the Thema seats as hard?

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “Ashtrays: 1984 -1998 Saab 9000”

  1. The 9000 is one of those cars that always looked more contemporary than it really was. The joke at the time was that it was insufficiently ugly for Saabisti – a point subsequently corrected by the arrival of the CD.

    Back in the day, a mate of mine ran a wrecking yard specialising in Italian cars. Logically, he figured 9000s represented a good opportunity to expand the business. This particular aspiration lasted as long as it took his guys to strip down the yard’s first 9000. As he tells the story, virtually nothing at all – down to nuts and bolts – was the same as on a Thema, and often seemed to be different for no apparent reason whatsoever. The most inexplicable example in my experience is the smooth finish of the door mirror covers on a Thema, versus the indented ones on the 9000. I would genuinely love to know the rationale behind this.

  2. I always had a great respect for the 9000, and, indeed all of those on that shared platform (the Croma being the exception that made it a rule). The 9000 was roundly praised by Car and whooped the backside of the 800 that I so wanted to be good at the time. These were days where I felt the word of Car was final …

  3. Stradale, I seem to remember that in the end, the only thing the Saab shared with the Thema and Croma was the wheelbase because there was a massive falling out between the engineers and management of both companies over the basics. Even the doors, which look the same, are apparently not interchangeable. As a joint project, it fell at the first hurdle and I expect Saab saved zero pounds in development.

    1. Yes, this is indeed true. I just cannot fathom the reason behind having things like mirrors that look all-but identical, but are still different.

    2. I do vaguely remember reading that a grand total of six parts are interchangeable.

    3. Saab were always quite a proud company (justifiably so) and I got the idea that having to share a base with other manufacturers was a bit of a wrench for them. As such, they might have wanted to make the car as different as possible though, in hindsight, it would only have been Saab themselves who noticed the tiny details.

      The particularly poor feature of the early 9000s was the way the lamp lens coloured full width acrylic panel at the rear faded rather too quickly. Also, its hatchback consisted of three pieces of glass, and was costly to produce. I think I read someone from Saab speaking approvingly of the Renault 25 one piece wrap around glass and wishing they had done it that way. A few years later they did.

  4. Seven: that’s the number of interchangeable parts. The 9000 had heavier doors so they look alike but can’t be swapped. The T4 cars probably served as a learning excercise and a second generation might have been handled better.

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