Great moments in Saab design – Saab headlamps

You can’t see this, but as I sit here writing this article, it’s teeming down with rain outside and despite the fact that it’s not even 10am yet, it’s almost as dark as I’ve seen a day get here in Hobart.
You may not know this, but Australian drivers are not required to run their headlights during the day. There are studies to show that it’s safer to do so and some countries do require daytime lighting, but Australia isn’t one of those countries.
When we get a day like today where it’s very dark and wet, there are a lot of people doing something they don’t normally do – they’re driving with their headlights on in the daytime.
Consequently, I can guarantee that the phones at the Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania will be ringing like crazy all day, and RACT service vans will be seen in driveways and shopping center car parks all over the city, providing a jump start to cars that have flat batteries due to lights being left on.
This is something that should never happen in your Saab and you’ve got Saab designers and engineers from way back to thank for it.
saablights.jpg Saab headlamps are wired in such as way so that when you switch off the ignition, you switch the lights off, too.
This is not a new thing, either. My 1979 Saab 99 Turbo had this feature and I’m pretty sure my Saab 99E from 1972 had it as well. That 99E was my first Saab and I got the 99Turbo not long after that. As I got more familiar with features like this – in a 1970s car, mind you – it deepened my appreciation for the way Saab design and build their cars.
Back in the 1970s I’m pretty sure there were no other cars on Australian roads with their lights wired through the ignition. Even today, in 2009, there are many companies that don’t have such a clever little feature designed into them and that’s a fact that always makes me wonder. It works so well, why wouldn’t others do it, too?
Next time you see a neighbor or a car at the local shops that needs a jump start, say a quick thankyou to the smart guys in Sweden who designed clever stuff like this into your car.