Just recently saabblog.net brought up an interesting story. Back in the 90s Saab Germany wanted to revive Saab’s motorsport heritage. So the company of Uli Weinmann, a German engine- and tuning-specialist, was assigned to turn the 900 II into a Group A racecar.
While the car was a 900 II from the outside, the inner tech already based mostly on the coming generation of the 9-3. Thus the modifications on the car were used to obtain Group A homologation for both the 900 II and the 9-3.
The 2.0 engine was equipped with race pistons, camshaft and camshaft drive were changed and adapted and the cylinder head and air intake was modified. The turbocharger was reworked at Turbotab, the Cosworth wastegate strengthened and the engine management was replaced by a fully programmable version by Weber Marelli. Further adaptions included two oil coolers, a different intercooler and a lot of small changes on suspension, brakes and steering.
It also got a 40% ZF limited slip differential and an axis ratio to a max of 210 kph. The only part that remained unchanged was the transmission. It was able to bear the (given the car weight of 1.100 kg) impressive 470 Nm and 285 hp the even street legal 900R had in the end without any modifications. You can surely imagine that the Opel engineers that followed the project were astonished.
The 900R made its racetrack debut in 1995 at the Nürburgring 24 hours. The team came on 23th place in qualifying. The fact that they ended the race in 74th place was only owed to a crash that caused two and a half hours of repair time. But the 9.22 minutes that ex-DTM-champion Volker Strycek drove during rain at nighttime (Nordschleife+Grand Prix course) show the capabilities that car had.
After that race the 900R was preented on the IAA and a “civilized” version entered the dealer’s showrooms. The 900R entered a few more smaller racing events and also aided the development of the Viggen. Only logical that it also joined the presentation of the Viggen in 1999. Then it got quiet about the Saab 900R and a crash in 2001 seemed to end its story.
Then early this year Tom of saabblog.net gets to visit Uli Weinmann. They take a look into his garage where the 900R still stands. After the crash in 2001 the chassi was professionally repaired and the blank parts were primed. It is able to roll but definetely needs some time and a caring hand to come back to former glory.
The partnership between Uli Weinmann and GM ended in a way that was not very favourable for Uli. Since then he left motorsport and built up a new business building special custom bicycles. He is still proud of his rallye Saab but as real life has changed he needs the space and the 900R is for sale in caring and experienced hands.
This special car is surely a unique opportunity for a collector, sold directly from the engineer that made it. A lot of Material and complete documentation come with the car. And also a lot of anecdotes on the rallye Saab from Uli. With a total of three ever made it is effectively as exclusive as a Koenigsegg Trevita.
If you are seriously interested please contact me at till72 @ saabsunited.se, I will forward the info to Uli.
For a more detailed story on that car you can check saabblog.net. Thanks again to Tom for the heads up, story and pictures.