One of our own named Tiago do Vale – the man responsible for the beautiful banner at the top of this page, by the way – has turned his creative skills towards the new smaller Saab being proposed by Victor Muller.
Following are his images and what he had to say about them.
I must say a few words before you see this image.
First of all, I’m not a retro guy.
…And, at the same time, I’m a believer in that if Saab has a chance to develop a new small car, it should be a car that can draw a large number of new young owners to the brand, and I’m not sure if a small premium retro sports car is the right formula to do it. (After all, VW Golfs/Rabbits or Audi A3s sell a lot more than VW New Beetles or Audi TTs).
Having said that, I’m as much of a car guy as the next Saaber so, of course, the manifesto for a driver’s car really pushed many of my right buttons. 🙂 (And I guess the new mini popularity sort of proves that my thesis isn’t 100% right.)
So here’s what I imagine a small teardrop-reared sports Saab should look like.
(Should it be a 92 or a Sonnet? It sure is a product of the 92 design discussions, though.)
It’s not retro at all -it just slightly blinks an eye towards those classic 92-to-96 Saabs. I based it on the 9-X BioHybrid, as I really believe in that car and design.
The 9-X BH already has a tridimensional teardrop shape, even if it is more apparent from the top, and not so obvious on the side view, so the base was right in that respect, too.
I shortened its wheelbase by around 30 cm, as I suspect that would fit the target segment just right.
I tried the classic low teardrop roof arch, like the 92, but I found a few problems with that: most people recognized it as a Porsche design cue, and not a Saab one and, with this short wheelbase, managing to have both headroom and a low “tip” in the end resulted in a not so elegant arc, with an abrupt descent. (It works on Porsches in part because of the longer wheelbase but mainly because of the huge rear overhang).
So, I raised the rear (the tip of the teardrop). This allowed for a more elegant and dynamic shape, more headroom, more practicality and storage capability… and for losing that “I’m ripping off Porsche” sensation. 🙂
I guess those were some of the reasons Saab slowly did the same thing with their teardrop “tip”, moving it up from the 92 to the 96, and then moving away from it with the 99 and the hatches.
And there you go. 🙂 Hope you have as much fun with it as I had imagining it.