Saab 99

Model Years 1969 to 1984

The Saab 99 was the product of the “Gudmund” project – so-called because the Saab board passed a resolution on 2 April 1964, Gudmund’s Day, to develop a new and larger Saab.

Saab 99, Saab Bilmuseum, Trollhattan, Sweden.

The idea had, of course, already been explored down three routes by Sixten Sason, Björn Envall, Rolf Mellde and Gunnar Ljungström – four important characters in the development of Saab. In April 1964 project F was chosen.

Despite widespread enthusiasm within Saab for the two-stroke engine it was decided that a four-stroke unit was the only real choice. Without the means to embark on its own costly development Saab had, in 1962, already turned to Ricardo & Co., a British engine design firm.

A 1.2 litre in-line four had been proposed by Ricardo as a replacement for the two-stroke 95 and 96 models, but these plans were shelved. Saab had learned of Triumph’s interest in developing a new engine for its cars. Negotiations began in 1963 but it was not until 18 February 1965 that a contract was signed for Triumph to deliver 1.5 litre, later 1.7 litre, engines to Saab.

Saab 99, Saab Bilmuseum, Trollhattan, Sweden.

The joint engine design was to be inclined at 45 degrees since Triumph was planning a V8 from the same basic engine design. The Saab engine was essentially half of a V8.

For the purposes of testing a Saab 96 body, widened by 20cm, was mounted on the floorpan of the forthcoming Saab 99. Four of these test cars, known within Saab as “Toads” were built, but that’s another story! The Saab 99 was revealed to the press and public on 22 November 1967.

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