I’m not sure it’s wise to say who dug these drawings up, but suffice to say they’re in the public domain, having been found as part of a patent application by Saab. I believe it was lodged last year.
When the 9-X Air concept car came out, I told you all that there was something special about the operation of the roof. We never got to see it in action, however, as Saab never allowed the roof to be opened (or closed) in public. Having looked over this patent app and the associated drawings, I believe that’s because the 9-X Air doesn’t show off the full system they’ve developed, though it gives a hint as to what’s to come.
This is the 9-X Air as we saw it last year. And yes, I know Saab are now calling it the Saab 9-X Convertible, but I liked the ‘Air’ name better.
And below are the patent drawing relating to the convertible concept they’ve developed and applied to protect.
As you’ll see, the 9-X Air gives an indication as to their intention with the high sides coming down from the B-pillar to the rear of the car. What you can’t see in the photo above is the retractable rear window, which would protect rear passengers from uncomfortable headwinds with the roof in the open position.
Figure 1, below, is basically the car with the roof closed. When opened in the preliminary position, the roof folds into a compact unit and is stored in the boot of the car, as per normal.
Unlike a normal convertible arrangement, however, there is still a rear window. Normally this would be part of the roof on a convertible, but in this new system, it’s a separate piece of the puzzle.
Figure 5 shows the folded roof being tucked away, with the boot of the car raised from a hinge at the rear and about to close again concealing it.
Figure 6, below, shows the boot closed again, with the rear window still up and the car in a similar configuration to what we’ve seen with the 9-X Air.
All four passengers are now enjoying open-top driving, but all are protected a lot more from the wind than they would be in a regular convertible.
If the initial party trick is the protection of all occupants whilst creating a damn sexy body style, the Figure 7, next, is the extension of the party trick.
The rear deck of the car is raised and reveals a pivot point…..
In figure 8, that rear deck has now rotated on this pivot…..
And in figure 9, below, the rear deck is lowered, along with the rear window, to reveal a classic convertible body style.
So essentially, you’ve got two convertibles to choose from in the one body. If and when you’re carrying rear seat passengers, you can all enjoy a comfortable drive protected from the headwinds that normally toss the rear seat occupants around a little.
If you’re driving solo, you can go for the pure convertible look and enjoy the breeze.
Saab ingenuity once again.