Saabolosophy, part 1

I’ve got a bunch of questions to pass the time. This post holds one of them, and there’ll be a bunch more coming in another post later on.
The first one concerns the direction of future Saabs. Design, powertrain, the whole package.
I have very little doubt in my mind that Saabs in the future are going to be better designed (no disrespect to Messrs Mauer, Lo, Padian, Daniel, Dyson, Czorny and co), better built and as a consequence, somewhat more expensive than what we’re used to.
Don’t be too surprised with that. It was part of the Koenigsegg plan to take Saab upmarket and everyone bidding for Saab has done so on the basis of the existing business plan. Obviously they’ll change and adapt as they go along, but for now the basic premise has to be “build better cars and charge more for them”.
So be it.
Whilst I love the new 9-5 – I’m getting to love it more and more with each viewing – and look forward to a new 9-3 and even the 9-4x, I do wonder what’s going to be Saab’s reason for being?
What is going to make Saab appeal to the drivers, rather than just the cross-shoppers and the loyalists?
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I started thinking about this when I was looking around the classifieds today. I check them out every other day, just to imagine what I might pick up next to fill my dream garage.
(As an aside, someone asked in comments the other day, what would be your five car garage – non-Saabs included. Saab 9-3x, Saab 9-3 Viggen, Saab 99 Turbo, Alfa Romeo 33 16V and mid-1980s Porsche 911).
Anyway, as I was perusing the classies, I came across this photo.
Alfa1600Junior.jpg
Now what do you suppose is the purpose of that car?
It’s nicely trimmed for the period, but it’s not a cruiser. Bucket seats, prominent gearshift, steering wheel and gauges. That’s what stands out.
This car is an Alfa Romeo 1600 Junior, and it’s sole purpose was to be driven. It was comfortable inside, but the beauty of the Alfa was its advanced engine and drivetrain.
What’s this got to do with Saab?
I know they’re going to offer all the latest and greatest gadgetry, the most efficient powerplant they can develop. I’m am quite sure that the engineers there in Trollhattan have a number of surprises up their sleeve and our eyes will pop when we see some of the things they can do.
I’m excited by all of those possibilities.
But I also wonder if there might be room in a future Saab range for something they used to do incredibly well – a lightweight, compact, driver’s car.
One of the questions I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on is this: what’s the minimum equipment level you could live with? Appropriately priced, of course.
Personally, I’d like power steering, power windows, a heater and a radio. The only other things I need are all underneath. The thrill of the turbo, some nice direct steering that puts the car where you point it and a chassis that keeps you there.
Will there be room for a car like that in a new Saab range? And would you want it? Or am I just some foolish old romantic?

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