You are browsing the archive for Jason Castriota.

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by till72

The Design Process of the Jason Castriota 9-3

February 25, 2013 in Jason Castriota Design

There are few things that people within the Saab community have been more eager to see than the Jason Castriota version of the third generation 9-3. Even though bankrupcy came the interest never really died. We all were extremely eager to see what was hidden behind factory doors in Stallbacka.

After a few blurry renderings from a rather early state of design surfaced a few weeks ago we got a first impression of what it had looked like. Then yesterday we could publish two more pics of the design mule. This time in better resolution, but still hard to judge as they were little more like snapshots from only two angles. One even more important point that maybe did not come out clearly enough yesterday is that those pics do not represent the final version of the design, it’s more like half way.

That wind tunnel model was created in September of 2010 – just a few months after Jason came onboard – and represents a stage where design vision and engineering needs were brought together for the first time. The result went through first aerodynamic tests to evaluate where additional work was needed.

Ever since I saw the first pics I was amazed how much it absorbed some core lines of the 900 (or 99) without being a retro design. For me personally it was a proof for Jasons ability to adapt Saabs design heritage and transform it into a fresh design. While the Phoenix concept was more like the classic Castriota field of supercars I was now convinced that he could really come up with a fitting design for a high volume model.

To clarify the evolution of his design a bit more Jason was kind enough to help me by setting the pictures we saw until now into perspective regarding the state of development they originate from. He even added more pics from various states of the process and described the process a bit from his point of view.

Month 1-4 – first sketches, first 3D math model, first full scale presentation model

First Computer Model - Copyright Jason Castriota Design

Work In Progress: First Computer Model – Copyright Jason Castriota Design

Design Intent Clay Model - Copyright Jason Castriota Design

Design Intent Clay Model – Copyright Jason Castriota Design

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The story of the 9-3 Phoenix

February 20, 2013 in Jason Castriota Design

Saab_93_nose side copySaabsUnited can finally bring you the 9-3 prototype, designed by Jason Castriota. The first images of this car was sent to us in early august 2011, these were three blurry computer generated images that has not surfaced until february this year. Why we waited to release any images or photos until now was out of respect for the work that Jason Castriota did for SAAB and in the hopes that the car might one day actually be produced.

We have since then received a number of images and photos of varying quality. During this time we kept a very good relationship with Jason and now it seams that this car will probably never be built, however it does not mean the end of this story.


Being able to present this car to the world in the way we do here, we hope that it will gain the recognition it deserves and that it could one day lead to a situation where we can take our place behind the steering-wheel of a Saab, once again designed by Jason Castriota. Over the past 6 months I have come to know Jason well and I’ve come to greatly respect him and the work that he did. Everyone of course have different taste but when you really understand how and why a car was designed in the way that it was, you come to respect and in the end appreciate the car in a completely new way.

So the time has come for us to present the SAAB 9-3 Phoenix. Its mission, to replace the current Saab 9-3 Griffin that was in production until 2011. Shortly after Spyker took over SAAB Automobile AB, about two years ago now Jan Åke Jonsson & Victor Muller got in touch with critically acclaimed designer Jason Castriota, Jan Åke Jonsson gave Jason the mission to design a new replacement for the aging Saab 9-3, another important piece of the mission was also to reduce current design costs by as much as 40%. They met first in Geneva and then again a month later in New York.

In 2007, GM made a design study in Rüsselsheim, Germany for the replacement of SAAB’s 9-3 line. Simon Padian supervised the design language but the general work was performed in Russelsheim and Detroit where GM had placed the majority of its designers and engineering assets. This study resulted in a clay model and a number of computer models which we have presented here previously. Designing a car is a major undertaking and Saab in 2010 needed a replacement for the 9-3. The management at Saab felt that a new design language was needed in order to further separate Saab from GM.

Jason Castriota’s mission from Saab was to design a car that captured the historical roots of the company while bringing out something new that could be based on the new flexible PhoeniX-platform that Saab had developed for a couple of years. Another criteria was that everyone needed to instantly see that the car was a Saab, without looking at the logo, while at the same time feel that the car was ground breaking and new. Having these criteria in mind you can understand the difficult job Jason was given, considering the long and important history of different designs that Saab has. To keep thing simple, Jason was given free reign to create a car within certain limitations and this is what he accomplished.

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The Story of the Phoenix, coming soon on SaabsUnited

January 31, 2013 in Jason Castriota Design

Teaser Saab 9-3 Phoenix from Jason Castriota Design

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by Jeff

About that sketch…

November 3, 2011 in News

Many of you could have guessed by now, but the sketch that leaked out [read, the NDO forgot to redact] in Saab’s business plan documents was far from final. So far in fact, that I can confirm it’s pre-Castriota. Meaning, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Literally. But it’s fun to dream isn’t it?

Just for the enjoyment of Kurt Schirm, National Dealer Council Chairperson at SCNA and SU Regular, I’m posting what it would look like in the same copper that Mercedes-Benz uses. While the general idea of this car will certainly be close, you can rest assured that the real thing will be way, way cooler. As a reminder of what Jason brings to the design discussion, enjoy his latest creation, the SSC Tuatara in pictures after the break.

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by Red J

Autoweek on Saab

September 3, 2011 in News

On the September print edition of Autoweek, a US car magazine, has a two-sider, albeit with not much text, on Saab.

On the left side there is an article on Jason Castriota. It really doesn’t say much we doesn’t already know.

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by Swade

CAR Magazine on the Saab PhoeniX concept

March 18, 2011 in Editorial

CAR Magazine are generally pretty reasonable when it comes to Saab. They, like the rest of us, tend to think that the automotive world is a much more interesting place with companies like Saab in it. That’s why one of their roving reporters was busy getting a good spot at the Saab stand while Opel, next door, were running overtime with their Geneva press conference.

Back again to Hall 2, where I should be seeing a presentation from the brand that will not die. However, it’s GM Europe, Saab’s old owners, working their way through the presentation of the new Zafira Tourer. I’m keen to see the new car, but try to get a better location to view Saab’s presentation instead.

This traditional affection is why I’ll be very keen to read their April issue and see how they explain this headline about the PhoeniX concept. It’s fair to say that early signs from CAR are not looking promising.

From their online digital preview:

A harsh assessment?

I know I’m biased, but I’d say decidedly so. Alfa Romeo would want the “Right Car” assessment because the 4C is actually slated for production. Nobody wants a “Wrong Car” assessment, so it’ll be interesting to read what the assessment is based on – some controversial flying buttresses, or the use of a real-world new platform, a new hybrid turbocharged drivetrain and a real-world communication and control system that’s made massive waves everywhere. I hope CAR bore point 1, below, in mind.

We’ve covered plenty about the PhoeniX on this site and there are a few things of note that came out of that discussion:

  1. PhoeniX is a design concept (my emphasis) and the one thing you don’t want a design concept to be is boring. You want it to create discussion, which PhoeniX has certainly done, with the vast majority of it in the motoring press being decidedly positive.
  2. Given that it’s a rather radical concept in terms of looks, it’s going to divide opinion, which is fine. The trick is to look deeper than what you see at first glance.
  3. The importance of PhoeniX is not confined to it being Jason Castriota’s first statement as head of Saab design. The looks are deliberately Jason with deliberate Saab cues, and some of that look will carry through to the next 9-3. The importance of PhoeniX, however, is not just how it looks. It’s also concerned with what’s underneath. The PhoeniX platform that it’s based on is real – and when the next 9-3 is only 18 months away, that’s an important thing to know – and the PhoeniX concept showcases some of the vehicle proportions that will be possible with that architecture.

I guess I should hold my tongue until I get a chance to read the article, but I have a feeling that CAR may have only looked at the surface to judge the validity of PhoeniX and made a bold headline out of a subjective assessment.


Yes, it’s OK. Tim’s given me the OK to continue to write here occasionally. This is one piece of subject matter that I couldn’t resist.

More photos and video from Geneva 2011

March 3, 2011 in News, Troll Stuff

Well, let’s start with the fun stuff, shall we?

From Swisstroll, we have our inimitable host, Swade, along with Jason Castriota and Golfhunter.  Looks like they’re having a good time!!



I laughed out loud at the photo from Golfhunter. It’s certainly not the Saab 9-5, which I may add, looks absolutely magnificent in this color — Java Brown. Can you guess why I laughed?

That’s right! I chuckled at this picture because one can clearly see the Opel and the Subaru logo and banner, respectively. They both had a shot at being closely related to Saab, and neither was able to make it work. There, right in front of them, is this gleaming 9-5, full of potential and energy. I guess that you could call it schadenfreude. (Of course, Subaru is on a roll of their own, but it’s still an odd juxtaposition.)

In another bit of fun at someone else’s expense, check out the write up over at Autoblog on the Chris Bangle/Jason Castriota confrontation as noted in these pages yesterday. Hint: one of the designers was called out for “hassling” the other. I’ll let you be the judge.

We’ll wrap up with a one-minute long review of the new Saab 9-5 as posted by MotorsTV France.   Good capture.

Well, it turned out that it was all fun stuff. Who knew? 😉

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by Swade

Video: Jason Castriota talks to the press

March 3, 2011 in Saabology

This one has been posted in comments several times but I haven’t had time to get it on to the front page until now.

Jason Castriota had a meeting with various members of the press (no, I wasn’t there) during day 1 of the Geneva Show and talked about the Phoenix Concept.

The audio isn’t that great, but it’s still worth watching.

The guy complimenting Jason at the beginning of the video and then leaving the room is Dan Neil, formerly of the LA Times and now of the Wall Street Journal. Jason goes on to speak about how much of the PhoeniX concept we’ll see in future Saabs, specifically the front end going through to the Saab 9-3 replacement (“the new 9-3″, though I don’t think that name is confirmed).

He goes on to talk about the fact that three body styles have been confirmed and that he wants to do at least two more. The Convertible is one of them and there will be a hatchback, too.