Model Years 1950-1952
Full-scale production of the Saab 92 commenced on 12 December 1949, the model year 1950 car – 700 of which were made. The 1951 model year Saab 92 was identical in every respect except that German VDO instruments now replaced the American Stewart-Warner components.
Philipsons, Sweden’s largest automotive distributor, reportedly had a waiting list of between 15,000 and 35,000 people for the Saab 92. They also had the exclusive distribution rights as they had guaranteed to take 8,000 units in the first four years. More importantly to Saab, Philipsons had given a large advance that made it possible for Saab to start production of the 92.
Saab manufactured 1,246 cars in 1950 – all of them green – and production increased by more than 2,000 units a year. The target of 8,000 cars in the first four years was exceeded by 1,000.
The cost of production was critical to Saab at the time and only 17% of the cost of the 92 was from imported materials. Hence the Henry Ford principle of any colour you like as long as it’s. green in Saab’s case! It has been said that the reason that the first Saabs were available in this colour only was that they had a surplus of green paint left over from their wartime aircraft production. Substantiated or not, it’s an interesting story.
A two-cylinder, two-stroke 764cc 25hp thermo siphon water-cooled engine powered the 92. The maximum speed was around 105km/h. The 92 had three gears, the first being unsynchronised.
In 1953 the Saab 92 was replaced by the 92B, although that designation was never used in any advertising in its first year of its production.