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by Jeff

Through My Eyes

March 22, 2013 in Jason Castriota Design


Fact: Jason Castriota’s 9-3 replacement is sensational. The more you’re allowed to see, the more you get to see how all the details come together to create a design that has Saab DNA to its core.

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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

February 11, 2013 in Jason Castriota Design


SR P4 West publishes images of 9-3 Phoenix *Updated

February 1, 2013 in Jason Castriota Design

Swedish Radio P4 West (original story here) has published two images of the Saab 9-3 designed by Jason Castriota. The Swedish magazine Auto Motor & Sport has also published an image of the convertible*.

Phoenix 9-3 4-Door

These images are screenshots of an computer model made in the beginning of 2011, it is an accurate although earlier version of the design. They originate from a copy of a business plan called Viking presented in May of 2011 which describes the future plans of Saab Automobile and the future products which were planned for. We’ve had a copy of that business-plan since august 2011, but out of respect for Jason’s work we agreed not to publish any material until such time he felt was right.

The very reason these images are of such poor quality is that if the business plan is leaked out, it’ll show the car without giving away important details. The images show the general theme, a 5 door hatch-back, of the car are true but not much more.

While speaking with Jason he told me that the final design was much more athletic and we’re doing and yesterday we launched the first teaser of a story together we’re doing together on how his car was designed from the first day all the way up until the day of the bankruptcy.

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