This is one of the cars I saw at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhattan, Sweden.
It reminded me of some other 80’s aerodynamic cars of the same time but when I went looking nothing matched. I found a hint of the rear window and boot in the Subaru SVX. More than a few GM concept cars from Oldsmobile, Saturn and Buick had similar surfaces. Yet there wasn’t that one car which made me think: yes, that’s the one. Do our readers have any suggestions?
13 thoughts on “Micropost: 1985 Saab Experimental Vehicle”
Chuckled when I saw this. Looks amazingly like the 1985 to 1994 Dodge Daytona with the cheaper Dodge Spirit bonnet and grille. All with one major difference – the Saab has had the mighty foot of Thor squash it so it’s wider and longer.
Bill: yes, the Daytona is pretty close even if it’s a bit more angular. If you applied bigger radii to the Dodge it’d turn out like the Saab.
Is it the Citroën Activa (the 1st one from 1988) you’re looking for? I see many parallels, like glazed pillars, surface treatment, rear lights, and even colour scheme. The overall stance isn’t dissimilar, either, although the Citroën does play more on the quirky side with its very narrow front end.
The Activa rules itself out by dint of chronology.
Reminds me of the last aero-styled Camaro, which isn’t saying much. It also reminds me of the work coming out of Rover at this time. Squint a lot and you can see the genesis of the later 9-3 in the belt line and rear light treatment. That and the grille treatment aside, this could be from any manufacturer.
As an aside, I have been pondering how the styling of individual cars is influenced by the time of their creation. Stylists are hardly ever free to turn out truly sui generis designs; manufacturing is a deeply conservative business driven by incremental advancement in technology and risk adverse planning. True outliers are rare. When a successful radical design does trigger a shock of the new, the stir it creates inevitably begets a long tail in the styling continuum. In that way what was sui generis becomes generic, then outmoded.
Goodness, yes, there is a trace of something in that that is in the NG 900. It´s the spoiler interfering with the hatchback and bumper shapes.
Toyota Sera anyone?
That was from 1990.
My initial reaction was the same as yours – generic mid-1980s GM concept, but as you say, there wasn’t a direct correlation with any specific one. It has some Italianate elements and I wanted to say Coggiola, but Google turned up nothing. There is also quite a lot of late-1980s Japan in the rear. Finally, I came across this:
Hi: The Lotus has a lot of the same elements and very different surfacing. The very narrow panel gaps and small articulations lend it an air of flimsiness. And the wing mirror and A-pillar is horrid. At this point there is a good zoo of similar A-pillars and mirror treatments. The Citroen XM managed it best by dint of colouring the offending parts black and blending them with the leaf-catcher trim.
At the back of the Etna, though, the forms are clear and you can see – by comparison – how Saab´s spoiler really confuses the relation of the other shapes.
So far this Etna and the Daytona seem to be the closest designs to the Saab, close enough to make me wonder if Saab had pictures of these cars pinned to the walls at Trollhattan that year.
Hands up (metaphorically), who remembers this car ‘starring’ in Back to the Future 2???
Also, Happy New Year to you all. I’m looking forward to a 2017 filled with insightful DTW articles.
Thank you – spread the word to your friends!
Bit late to the party on this one, and no I can’t nail it to one car either. But I can see a Renault Alpine GTA taking a Ford Probe out for a nice romantic dinner and… seeing where it goes.