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Classic Saab 900 - Miscellaneous

Saab Safety

Article written by Simon Turner

The Classic Saab 900 has always been renowned for it's build quality and safety. It was suggested by Alfred Veenstra that we should write an article on the aspects of the 900's safety and also try to include some real life experiences.

Tony Allen wrote....

"I recently had the fortune of avoiding an accident. I had just traded in my Toyota Hilux for a 1990 Saab 900 Turbo 16. A very good swap. Anyway I was driving along Nepean Highway in Melbourne, a very busy road with four lanes of traffic each way. A car suddenly came out of a side street and drove straight into my lane. Because of my Saab's handling, I managed to drive around the rear of the other car. Unfortunately, the other car continued into the next lane and got T-boned by a car in the next lane. Both drivers received injuries in the accident. I drive many different cars in my work but I would not have been able to avoid the accident in the other cars. I was very fortunate I had the Saab. Thanks for letting me tell my story."

Some excerpts taken from the 1988 'Saab 900 Form and Function' book.

"The interior is surrounded by sturdy steel members and reinforcements, to provide the occupants with the best possible protection in the event of a collision."

Safety in a collision

One of the objectives in the design of the 900 models was to conform comfortably with the collision safety regulations that are probably the world's most stringent - those on the USA market.

The striker plates of the door locks are fitted with backing plates, to prevent the locks from jamming. This feature, together with the softer sections purposely incorporated into the wheel housings and the wing flanges, makes it easier to open the doors after the car has been involved in a head-on collision. The bonnet includes reinforcements at the front and rear, a bucking zone in the centre and special arrester stays in the rear. This design prevents the bonnet from being forced in through the windscreen in a collision.

In the event of a head-on collision, the engine will be forced backwards and downwards, and will be arrested by the sturdy bulkhead. Most of the collision forces will be transmitted through the rugged longitudinal members and the wheel housings to the windscreen pillars, the bulkhead and its mountings.

In a side-on collision, the energy will be absorbed mainly by the sills, the floor and door members, the extra thick side panels, the bulkhead, the smoothly profiled floor pan and the transverse tunnel below the back seat.

Ian Botham and his 900TThis picture was contributed by John Winter and shows the famous ex-England Cricketer Ian Botham and his slightly dented Saab! Note the minimal damage to the cabin area.

Richard Zeelenberg wrote.....

Wrecked Saab"It happened three weeks ago. A traffic light malfunctioned - I was supposed to get a red light, but I didn't. The crossing traffic got a green light though. All of a sudden, while driving 70 km/h (45 mph) a BMW from the left crossed the road in front of me - I didn't stand a chance and hit it full frontal on its right front wheel.

I was very lucky to drive a Saab. The front end of the car, up to the A-style, is a mess, while the cabin was not damaged at all. (I made a few pictures of the wreck the other day. I haven't had them developed yet, but when I have I will send you one for the gallery.) The doors open and close like before. I wasn't hurt, apart from a sore neck for a couple of days (and a broken heart over the loss of the car). Two people in the BMW had to be transported to the hospital, but I was very relieved to hear that they only suffered small bruises.

The malfunctioning of the traffic light was confirmed by the police and by a service engineer who was actually making a phone call about it at the moment I crashed. Second, I was driving on a priority road, at a legal speed, which means that the BMW had to give way, even if the traffic lights would have functioned properly.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for a message from the insurance company about the amount of compensation they will pay. I fear it'll cost me money. At the same time I'm trying to find a new one, knowing it took me half a year to find this one.

It's a sad story, but frankly I'm glad to be alive. In many other cars, in my belief, I might not have lived to tell this.

I found a "new" T16S to replace it. It's almost the same car, black, 1991 instead of 1990, and now with an original sunroof. It's a good runner, the engine feels fast and sound, the gearbox is smooth, except for 5th and reverse (which always seems to be the case). It comes with full Italian Saab service history (in ten years time only one stamp missing, all maintenance done by an official Saab dealer in Milan) and a mileage of only 145.000 km. It is, however, not yet as good looking as the previous one. There are a few small dents that need to be taken care of and the bonnet needs a re spray. This will be done by the garage I bought it from. The wooden dashboard and door panels will be transferred from my old car to the new one.

Hopefully I will be driving a Saab again the first week of September."

Richard Zeelenberg

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