For a long time, a Saab was a kind of mirror-universe Volkswagen Beetle. Where the KdF-Wagen is portrayed as springing fully formed from Herr Doktor Porsche’s head, the Saab was the product of a bunch of aircraft engineers working collectively. Where the VW infamously eschewed safety in favour of packaging efficiency, the Saab had safety at the core.
When Saab moved on from the 96 to the bigger, more luxurious 99, it was seen as a retrograde move by the faithful. “Too conventional”, they said. “Not a proper Saab,” they said.
The strangest thing about the Saab 99 Turbo is that it didn’t lead to Saab taking over the world. The 99 Turbo is, quite possibly, better than any other executive express available until BMW released the E28 M535i — in 1987.
Like a Braun radio, everything about the 99T is considered. There’s a reason for everything — even the weird stuff. In fact, given the right circumstances, all the stuff that’s weird about a 99T could have become normal.
The question is, would you rather live in a universe where a Saab was normal or special?