Saab 900 1979-1994 Parts and Information
Click on a year below to see parts for that yearSaab 900 (1986 - 1994) FAQs
About The Saab 900 1979-1994
Safety standards became the focal point of the Saab Cars and led to the introduction of the Saab 900 in 1979. Based on the 99 frame design, the 900 quickly stole the hearts of the consumer with added features like Turbochargers, a five speed manual transmission & a new 145 horse power 2.0 Liter turbocharged power plant. Cosmetically, the 900 had longer front and rear sections which improved safety as well as interior space. One of the most heralded additions in the 900 series was the advent of the Automatic Performance Control System for the Turbocharged versions. This system was developed in-order to prevent Turbocharged vehicles from damaging pistons (due to pre-ignition) when the fuel level requirements were not met. The system used a knock sensor located in the engine block which detected cylinder knock and retarded the ignition to cool down the combustion chambers when knock was detected. The APC system became a mainstay for the 900 and set the tone for future performance enhancements as well. From 1979-93 (1994 Convertible) Saab continued in their quest to create a vehicle that people found practical, Safe and fun to drive. When Saab stopped production of the "Classic 900" in 1994. Many Saab owners were unhappy with this decision, but remember that many Saab owners were not happy when the 900 began production in 1979!
History of the Saab 900 1979-1994 by Year
1979 saw 3 versions of the Saab 900: The GL, GLS (both carbureted) & GLE (injected) versions, and the 900 Turbo produced 145 PS. A five-speed transmission was introduced in the EMS and turbo for 1980.
1981 came the 900 sedan along with the elimination of B engine in favor of the lighter Saab H engine. The B engine was a 8 valve overhead cam and so was the H engine but the real difference was in the redesigned external water pump of the new H engine. The B engine had a internal water pump that was driven by a internal jackshaft and they were a bear to change out. The USA saw the H engine in 1982.
1982 saw the introduction of Saab's Automatic Performance Control (APC) turbo computer. It employed a knock sensor, allowing the engine to use different grades of gasoline without engine damage. Many Saab techs called this a "grandmother cluase" because it this system basically allowed anyone to drive the car without having to be concerned over which fuel to run. Another new feature that year was the introduction of central locks (on the GLE and Turbo). Asbestos-free brakes were introduced in 1983, an industry first.
1984 saw the introduction of the 16-valve Double overhead camshaft 2.0 liter engine. With a turbocharger and intercooler, it could produce 175 PS in the Turbo 16 model. The Turbo 16 Aero had a body kit which allowed the to drive at speeds in excess of 130 mph. A different grille and 3-spoke steering wheel appeared across all models.
1985-86 offered two turbocharged models. The 900 Turbo had the 8-valve engine, while the T16S had the 16-valve intercooled unit. The 8-valve turbo got the intercooler the next year, while the 16-valve cars got hydraulic engine mounts.
1987 showed a new grille, headlights, and bumpers which freshened up the model though the sheet metal was unchanged. The 900 convertible was introduced as well, making a major splash in the United States market.
1988-89 saw the 8-valve engines saw the 8 Valve engines dissappear with the turbo versions going first. A non-turbo 16-valve engine replaced the 8-valve FI unit in the 900s as well. Anti-lock brakes were introduced on all models, and were standard on the turbo cars. A light-pressure turbo engine was added in 1990 as well although the USA market never saw it.
1991 saw the introduction of the 2.1 liter Non-Turbo engine. This engine was available in the USA until the end of the Classic 900 but in most of Europe this engine was replaced a year later with the earlier 2.0 liter because of the unfavorable tax regulations in some European Countries for engines with a displacement of more than 2000 cc.
1992 saw minor changes mainly with electronically-adjustable seats offered as an option.
1993-94 "Classic" 900 production ended on 26 March, 1993, with the new Opel Vectra-based NG900 entering production shortly afterwards. The final classic convertibles were still sold in 1994, with the Special Edition commanding top dollar in the resale market even today.
Overall there were 908,817 Saab 900s built, including 48,888 convertibles.
Saab 900 1979-1994 Overview
The Saab 79-94 900 could be ordered with different options. One highly sought-after option is called the SPG/AERO. The SPG (Special Performance Group) incorporated a body skirt, sport-suspension, 16-valve turbocharged engine, leather seats, and air conditioning. All these could of course be ordered independently.
The 900 was slightly redesigned for 1988 by integrating the bumper covers into the spoiler on the front and replacing the lights with combined units (in 1987). The front of the car was restyled, although the metal body parts were not changed. Only the grille, headlights and bumpers were changed. Being a small car factory, Saab kept the basic undercarriage fairly unchanged until 1994.
In the mid 1980s, the president of Saab-Scania of America, Robert J. Sinclair, suggested a convertible version to increase sales. The first prototype was built by ASC, American Sunroof Company (now American Specialty Cars).
The Trollhattan design department, headed by Bjorn Envall, based its version on the 3 door hatchback and the Finnish plant used a sturdier 2 door version, which also looked better and was selected for production. The initial production was not planned to be large but the orders kept coming in and a classic was born.
The new car was shown for the first time on the International Motor show (IAA) in Frankfurt in the autumn of 1983. The first prototype aroused enormous interest and in April 1984, Saab decided to put the car in production at Valmet. The production of the first 900 convertible started during the spring of 1986.
The convertible usually a had 16 Valve Turbo engine, some with intercooler, but it was also offered in certain markets with a 2.1 liter naturally-aspirated engine (with fuel injection).
Influenced by General Motors (GM), in 1994 a "New Generation" (NG) 900 SE, based on the Opel Vectra chassis, was introduced. The cabriolet/convertible was made on the 'classic' chassis for an additional year.
Saab introduced a turbocharger in 1978 in its 99 Turbo with a motor called the B engine (based on the Triumph Slant-4 engine designed for Saab by Triumph). This motor was also used in early 900 turbo models, which in export markets made Saab a household brand.
The B-motor was further designed into the H engine, which was used until 1993 (not in the USA). The H engine is very durable and due to fairly standardized engine management system, it can be easily tuned to 200 PS (197 hp/147 kW), and with further bolt-on modifications to a 250 PS (247 hp/184 kW) range. Saab used Bosch mechanical K-Jetronic Continuous Fuel Injection in the fuel injected and 8-valve turbocharged versions, and the Bosch LH 2.2 and 2.4 and Lucas Automotive electric fuel injection systems were used in the 16-valve versions. The 2.1 l. 16-valve engine uses the Bosch LH 2.4.2 electronic fuel injection.
What made a real difference to the competitors especially in the early and mid 1980s was the development and use of Automatic Performance Control (APC). The system enabled to use as much pressure developed by turbo as possible without engine knocking. The system had a sensor (knock-sensor) attached to the motor block and knocking of any kind was present, the APC-system would decrease the charge pressure by opening a wastegate, a bypass to the exhaust. This enabled the use of various octane fuels and also made the use of turbo more safe for the engine. The 900 Aero and Carlsson had special APC controllers in red enclosures which provided more maximum boost. Many Saab techs called this a "grandmother cluase" because it this system basically allowed anyone to drive the car without having to be concerned over which fuel to run
At first, Saab used a Garrett Systems turbo (T3), which was cooled by air and engine oil. From 1988 through 1990, water-cooled T3s were fitted. In 1990 Saab began using Mitsubishi TE-05 turbo's in the SPG models only. Also water-cooled, the TE05 was slightly smaller than the Garrett T3s, which gave better spool-up. In 1991, all 900 Turbo's were fitted with the TE05.
- 1979-1989 2.0 L (1985 cc) B201, single-carb, 100 PS (99 hp/73.5 kW) at 5200 rpm
- 1979-1984 2.0 L (1985 cc) B201 NA, dual-carb, 108 PS (106 hp/79.5 kW) at 5200 rpm
- 1979-1989 2.0 L (1985 cc) B201 NA, Injected 118 PS (116 hp/87 kW) at 5500 rpm
- 1979-1985 2.0 L (1985 cc) B201, Turbo, 145 PS (143 hp/107 kW) at 5000 rpm
- 1986-1989 2.0 L (1985 cc) B201, Intercooled turbo, 140-155 PS (138-153 hp/103-114 kW) at 5000 rpm
- 1984-1993 2.0 L (1985 cc) B202, 16 Valve turbo, 160-175 PS (158-172 hp/118-129 kW) at 5500 rpm
- 1989-1993 2.0 L (1985 cc) B202, 16-valve, NA, 130 PS (124-128 hp) at 6100 rpm
- 1990-1993 2.0 L (1985 cc) B202, 16-valve light pressure turbo (LPT), 145 PS (143 hp/107 kW) at 5600 rpm
- 1991-1993 2.1 L (2119 cc) B212, NA, FI, 140 PS (138 hp/103 kW) at 6000 rpm
- 1994 2.0 L (1985 cc) B202, 16-valve intercooled turbo (FPT)
Saab 900 CD
An even longer "Finlandia" version called the 900 CD was made at the Valmet factory in Finland. The 900 CD was 20 cm (7.9 in) longer than standard, by adding 10 cm (3.9 in) to both front and rear doors, but only the rear seating space is larger. Optional extras for the CD were a leather interior, reading lights, rear blinds, footrests and even a car telephone.
Saab 900 Enduro
A special version of the 900 Turbo was assembled by Saab Australia. It was called the 900 Enduro and only 12 cars were made. The package consisted of very flared fenders, added instruments (oil pressure, battery voltage and current drain) mounted where the radio usually was, improved suspension and big wheels and tires. To increase performance the wastegate was set at 17 psi (1.2 bar). Water injection came standard.
Specifications on the Saab Enduro
- Wheelbase: 2525 mm (99.4 in)
- Front track: 1420 mm (55.9 in)
- Rear track: 1430 mm (56.3 in)
- Ground clearance: 150 mm (5.9 in)
- Length: 4739 mm (186.5 in)
- Width: 1690 mm (66.5 in)
- Height: 1420 mm (56.25 in)
Saab 900 1979-1994 Appearances in media
The Saab 900 Turbo was James Bond's vehicle of choice in many of the John Gardner Bond novels of the 1980s, beginning with Licence Renewed. In the second novel, For Special Services, the 900 was dubbed the "Silver Beast". The car is Bond's private vehicle that he had outfitted with various gadgets by the real-life company Communication Control Systems, Ltd. (CCS). In conjunction with the release of Licence Renewed, Saab had a real "Silver Beast" created that was virtually identical to the specifications in the book. The car is currently located at the Saab Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden.
A black Saab 900SE convertible was Jerry Seinfeld's car in the sitcom Seinfeld, and made prominent appearances in numerous episodes. The car used in the series was sold through an internet auction in 1999 to a buyer in Barrington, Illinois. A red 900 classic convertible featured in the movie 'Sideways'(2004).