About that sketch…

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.

Keep in mind that the SSC Tuatara is designed to cheat the wind in every possible way, and that it’s surfaces and volumes are purpose designed. The average SSC driver doesn’t usually have kids, groceries, or small pieces of furniture to stuff in their hatch like the next 9-3 will. So don’t expect such a completely stylized vision for Saab. What you can expect is what has been said in the past, a bit more Phoenix up front and a lot of traditional Saab out back.

A lot of commenters have chimed in that they think all the work of JC is crap. They’re entitled to their narrow opinions, but I am fairly sure they will be changing their tune when they see the 9-3 replacement. That said, I love this Aero SSC.

 

 

100 thoughts on “About that sketch…”

  1. I love the PhoeniX and this Tuatara has a lot of surfaces from the PhoeniX, but this is not my cup of tea. If I had to choose I would rather choose the red iduA in the Background of the first picture. 😉

    This said, I also think that the JC 9-3 will look HOT!!

  2. The problem with Jason Castriota is that so far he seems to be that an ‘one trick pony‘. He has his own (somewhat unique) style which he does well, but so far that is all he has used that style in all of his past projects.

    I might not like all the stuff Chris Bangle has done, but he got it spot on when he asked from JC in Geneva 2011 something along the lines of: “I can see the Jason Castriota in Saab Phoenix, but what makes it a Saab?” In case someone has not seen the video in question, here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5fNg9jP66JU#!

    • To be fair, moose- the Phoenix was a design note, not a Saab production vehicle. It was a point of reference which was more about introducing the JC design philosophy into the language of Saab cars. To think that the next Saab will have the exact same design elements is a moot point, it won’t. It will be very much a streamlined Saab, no doubt. There will also be some more aero elements, and more expressive volumes, in much the same way the original 99 introduced the iconic shape when it was introduced. Before you rush to judgement on a design you haven’t seen, please wait for the real thing to form an official opinion. That’s all I’m asking.

      • Your request is easy to fulfill. If you re-read my post, you’ll notice that I never made any comments about the possible design of the future Saabs to begin with. All I discussed was the past projects of JC, and his ‘consistent design style’ in all of those projects.

        Being a professional designer myself, I think I can say that in general the very best designers are hugely adaptive, and can make different styles and design languages just work. On the other hand some designers have their own strong style which they apply project after project on everything they do. So far JC has fallen in the latter category.

        I’m not saying that if JC sticks to his style, that future 9-3 couldn’t be gorgeous. I just think that to really prove himself as one of the best car designers he should push himself, and produce something gorgeous that no-one expects.

        As you asked for something, I’m going to ask something from you too – In the future please do not read something from my posts which I did not write to begin with.

        • I was reacting more to your post from the standpoint of misunderstanding the JC concept as a bookmark for Saab’s design language, and the reposting of Chris Bangle’s comment that the Phoenix wasn’t really a Saab. That was part of the point. My take from your comment was that the Phoenix concept was evidence that JC didn’t understand Saab. That’s all. Tone is as important as substance here. 🙂

          • Well how much does Jason Castrioto know Saab and The Saab spirit. How many days has he spent with The design team in Trollhättan. Sources says You can count his Trollhättan visits on one possibly two hands. What scandinavian Swedish influences are gathered in Manhattan.

          • Get used to a lot more US influence at Saab Jorgen 🙂

            Jason is a very flexible designer, even if some of his recent concepts share formal similarities. He’s from CT, but spent much of the last ten years in Italy. You don’t see the Italians complaining that he was an outsider. While I agree I wish he was able to spend more time in Sweden, it’s great that modern technology now allows us to collaborate across the Atlantic in the interim.

            I also like that there’s finally a disruptive force shaking up Saab design and introducing a quiet power to the design. There’s bound to be animosity when someone comes in and shakes up established traditions, but I think in the end everyone will be happy at the DNA injection.

          • Jeff, I do not know if you have served in the armed forces of Your nation.
            But let me be very clear on one thing as an Swedish ex-officer. “The general that has the soldiers with him rides with the soldiers”.

            I totally disagree with You that so called american design would be a in any way positive injection to Saab. You need to live here in our great country rated No. 4 in the world to see how we create great stuff with inspiration from our nature, history, simplicity, usability, craftsmanship etc.

            “Saab owners are the best educated compared to the owners of the competing brands”, according Vice President at Saab Magnus Hanson. With education You gain knowledge and make wise decisions. This goes hand in hand with shall we say good taste and wanting to be unique and special. thats why they go for Saab. We do not need to loose the edge for Saab here. We do not need different DNA, period.

            Honestly there is a single example of a truly great american design except the Mustang Fastback and convertible in mid 60 íes designed buy a guy from Omaha, Nebraska. But that was an exception.

          • I didn’t necessarily say US design influence…anyhow, I think it’s a good thing that we’re seeing a global designer coming to Saab. He’s designed American, Italian, and now Swedish cars. I don’t think one can really judge the guy until you actually know him. It’s nice to come in for a cursory view, but unless you understand where he’s really coming from and what he actually knows about a particular subject, I don’t think it’s helpful to judge his credentials. To suggest that Jason’s lens is simply informed by old American classics is an insult to the guy. 😛

          • Jeff,
            I have lived i the US just like you. My experience is that US customers like Saab just because they are NOT american.
            PS Jeff, You do not have to answer this just to get the last word:-) DS

        • Moose, have you ever read the book “the Fountainhead” – by Ayn Rand? JC ~ Howard Roark… 😉
          And if you haven´t read it, being a designer you really should!

    • That is exactly what I can fear most about the Castrota-design of the new 9-3: Style!
      Style is one off the greatest dangers for an Architect or designer. Style – in my opinion (and at least in the Danish meaning off the word) – is something to avoid. Style is to press a specific form-language over the given task. The best and most mature designers and architect are carefully and creatively analysing what a given situation are calling for. A very good example is Jörn Utzon, who did not repeat himself but gave very different answers to different situations. Or as Louis Kahn expressed it: ” One shall ask: How does the brick want to be stabled..”
      I just hope that JC have gone into the Saab-designing with this humble and insights-full approach.

    • And I thought back when that video of Bangle and JC was first posted that many of us agreed with JC that you can see both JC’s style and also Saab design cues in there. He even said the PhoeniX concept was meant to be controversial and it sure drove more positive conversation about Saab in the auto industry than I had seen in a long time. JC also said that the actual new 9-3 design would not be nearly as radical as the PhoeniX…..so let’s wait and see what is in store before we start assuming the worst.

  3. For the dealers that have seen the ‘Castriota’ version in CGI, I can tell you as warm of a reception as this car is getting, the real thing will knock you over.
    Frankly, this car looks okay but compared to Jason’s version it doesn’t hold a candle.

  4. Actually I think the Tuatara looks nice.
    And I didn’t really like the Phoenix; I hope they don’t use the rear pontiac looking tail lights.

    • Look again. The Tuatara looks quite ok until you reach the rear. There it is, some kind of pontiac-stealth-rear-end. I liked to the 9-3 scetch, I thought it was rather nice, especially when I noticed they’d kept the SAAB front. This article erased that hope. Take a good look at the scetch post where SU compare the scetch to the previous photoshop… Please SAAB, don’t do it! What scares me is that Jason only designed one type of cars before and they pretty much look the same (in the design language). I do hope he consults Padian. A lot!

      • >>The Tuatara looks quite ok until you reach the rear. There it is, some kind of pontiac-stealth-rear-end.<< Exactly. WTH is going on there? What a mess… I also quite liked the front of the Phoenix, hated the back. So it's good to know that the new 9-3 will mostly be the Phoenix front and a Saab back.

        I too wish JC would use a few more Saab cues and fewer of his own. Perhaps when Pang Da and Youngman have full ownership they will bring in a new designer. And hopefully it won't be whomever designed this:
        http://www.cartype.com/pages/2716/dong_feng_d120__2006

  5. I was right in thinking the sketch was pre-JC…

    I’m not going to comment on JC until I see the new 9-3 in the metal… There were those that hated the 9-3SS when it was introduced nearly 10 years ago, personally I think the 9-3SS Aero of 2002-2007 is the most stunning piece of design since the 99 was signed off on April 2 1964….

        • I totally agree, that original design has that perfect amount of lagom that has been a trademark of Saab (indeed most Scandinavian design) that makes it timeless. Take a look at the 2004 BMW 5 series as an example of somethng that looked cool 7 years ago but looks hideously out of date now! I have Bang & Olufsen stero system that was designed in the early 1980s that still attracts looks of admiration.

          Here is an example of Scandinavian design that is 50 years old and still looks totally modern

    • The original 9-3ss was a nice piece of design for what it was: GM’s effort to go after the A4 and the 3 series. It is a beautiful Scandinavian take on the things that made the A4 appealing, while holding on to some Saabisms we like (mainly on the interior)… that said, I prefer the 2008 facelift aesthetically (and even more the 2011 facelift) as they bring back more Saab (grill, clamshell, etc) in a more edgy way…

      The original 9-3ss was a design failure in the context of the generations of the 99/900/9-3 series in that the form is all wrong. This new grainy image is exactly the right form, and while there may be elements that don’t make a lot of sense (rear fender, perhaps some other details that are hard to see), the overall form screams Saab 900… I hope Castriota does not mess with that, but from all he’s said, I think he gets it… we’ll see!

      details can be changed in a minor refresh… overall form, not so much…

      James…

  6. Just build the d*mn thing .
    Everybody hated the longnose 96, everybody hated the 99, everybody hated the 900, everybody hated the 9000, everybody hated the NG900/OG9-3, everybody hated the OG9-5,,As far as I know everybody hated the NG9-3, and a lot of people hates the NG9-5

    At least at introduction time.

    • To me it’s not about that. To me cars are something like love at first sight. Second and third attempts almost never work for me. At first sight I truly loved the classic 900 in a way (and a kid’s reactions are the most honest! :). At first sight I went MAD about the NG900 like I never did to any car. At first glance I was very much impressed by the og9-5.

      At first sight I was disappointed by the PhoeniX, but now I’m a bit relieved that this Aero SSC is somewhat stunning. What it takes to convert it to a true Saab remains to be seen. I’m about to wait fingers crossed and see.

    • You are so right on this one! I really hated 9-3SS when I saw it first time and I hated Dame Edna 9-5 even more. I like them both now…

    • At first sight I really liked the C900. At first sight I quite liked the NG900/OG9-3. When the coupe and convertible arrived, I liked it more. At first sight I was somewhat disappointed in the NG9-3/9-3SS, At first sight I found the NG9-5 a bit disappointing too. The 9-3SS hasn’t ever grown on me and I still have mixed thoughts on the NG9-5. I like the interior pretty much, but I still find the exterior somewhat stodgy and conservative.

      • Fully agree. 9-3SS at first sight was a great disappointment to me, and still am very much averse to it today. The facelifted convertible was the only one to save the day, finally.
        NG9-5 is a mixed bag, but I tend to like it. But here again – no significant change of perception since it’s introduction.

  7. The SSC Tuatara holds on the pictures because it is white and (black) and seen in relatively soft light. In other colours and/or in light with more contrast, one would see that too much is happening. I am NOT saying that JC are bad at all in sculpting the details. But he is doing it a little too much and by that he is hurting the wholeness off the design, I think… – If he could just be a little more modest and concentrate about sculpting the whole overall-shape with the same care as he does with the parts.

    • I would argue that since this car is build to compete for the title of the fastest supercar in the world, thus makin the closest competitors the Veyron, the old SSC Aero, Koenigsegg Agera, that the aerodynamic solutions are very subtle, and that in this type of design God/the Devil is is the details, not in the overall design.

      Different world of cars. Different demands.
      For the record I like the Tuatara. But I would rather buy a Koenigsegg.
      Not for visuals, but for what the cars are build for

      • God is in the detail, Yes – in the sense that it should always be a part off the wholeness – at least in my understanding – and if you look at the works off Mies van der Rohe – from who the statement origins – I am sure ho would have agreed… 😉

        • Yes I know his works

          That’s why I also mentioned the devil in the detail the same context
          Miss one detail at aerodynamic design and the thing will crash.

          Different main objective.

          But I agree that the perfect design is that which combines the necessary details into a complete consistent overall design

  8. ALL sounds good, now reality check: it has come way to late for dealers and their long suffering employes, my work is winding saab down , as are a lot of other uk dealers , it has lost money hand over fist trying to sell same model of car from 2002, new 9-5 might have lifted it as it is a great car, but unfortunate urged don’t bulb them anymore!!! As from tommorrow we are all paid off! Saab were always slow to the party, 9-3 is toatly dated and they expect to sell it for at least another year? Customer confidence is below zero! Sorry to state facts but bottom line is if they don’t start production again by January no one will buy a saab that I know including even very loyal customers . SAAB GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER

    • I really feel for you. It’s been a tough few years. I can assure you we’re reaching the end of this mess, though. How were you feeling before this supplier mess came to a head in March? Were you optimistic about Saab’s future then? The new 119g/km diesels? The new 9-5 dashboards and Hirsch packages? The introduction of the 9-4X and future 9-3 replacement? Once Saab is back in production in a few months, what will most fuel your optimism? New PR/marketing/outreach? Dealer incentives? What will it take for you?

      • Sorry jeff by that stage I and all my colleagues some of which have been with saab for over thirty seven years will be out of work . I hope saab succeeds , but is too little too late for us and many more dealers, I understand that you shouldn’t show a new car too soon , but they should go on a pr exercise of showing snipets of lights , door handles bits of dash etc every month to regenerate interest, although again too late for us , unless someone else sees potential in the new product line and opens another dealership .

        • .
          The current 9.3 still needs to sell now [assuming they make some] as they need the production/numbers/and cash.
          if Saab start showing the NG 9.3 now, buyers will say I’ll wait for that…..

          Screwed if you do, & screwed if you don’t.

  9. Ohhhh. Now I am really worried again. I finally thought Castriota had understood the scandinavian design concept. This means that we still may face an overdesigned armerican showcar like the Phoenix. I really hope the real thing will be more scandinavian (less os more) than the Phoenix.

    I am so dissapointed, I really, really liked the version in this add. Once again mr Padian has done a great job! I hope he is still around when the Chinese have taken over!

    • JoPISe, I think JC does understand the scandinavian design concept of Saab. This car is not supposed to be a Saab. It is being designed for another client and another purpose. I think everyone is jumping to too many conclusions about something they have not even seen yet.

      • Yes but, I was referring to the Phoenix which is job made for Saab. I am still really worried. Saab has a unique design which does not fit all. but it is clean, and definitely not vulgar. We have to wait and see what the final product is like. He may have got it……..

  10. I really like this sketch done by Padrian and I think it would have been a success as it is but I’m still looking forward to see the real JC designed 9-3.

  11. Earlier in the day when I was looking at my ’10 9-3 SC and thinking about this leaked photo, I concluded that the front is current 9-3ish with new 9-5 elements with the windshiled, greenhouse and roof with a nice flow to the rear giving a fastback/hatch look. Given that we were told the front-end would have more resemblance to the PhoeniX concept, I didn’t think this was current plus the date when the related document was given to NDO was also a clue.

  12. My first Saab was a 2007 9-3 SS which I recently traded for a 2011 9-3 SS. So I am rather fond of the current design. I think it’s sleek, elegant, and sporty. It took me a while to get used to the 2008 face lift, but when I did, I really started to like it, hence my recent purchase. But I am keeping an open mind on the NG 9-3, knowing that I won’t be in the market again for quite a few years, probably. So that will give me time to get used to it, too. As I’ve written elsewhere, I like the nose of the PhoeniX, but I do hope for a much different rear design. And not just a copy of the 9-5.

    A question, what is Simon Padian’s role in Saab’s design team now? I haven’t read that he’s left the company. I know there were some who were upset when Jason Castriota was appointed Design Director over Padian. I hope he’s still playing an integral role in the NG 9-3.

  13. What you can expect is what has been said in the past, a bit more Phoenix up front and a lot of traditional Saab out back.

    Jeff, I had to laugh when I read that phrasing! I know this is essentially what JC said in the interviews, but the way you put it reminded me of the way people describe the “mullet” haircut…..business in the front and party in the back. Let’s hope the new 9-3 design is more classy and timeless than the mullet!

  14. So there are some folks here that couold clear up a point that has been rasied tme and again…and without giving away any secrets.

    Does the new JC 9-3 look like a Saab? Does it look like it has evolved?

    or does it look like its just fallen out of JC’s head on to planet earth?

  15. I have been in contact with a Digital Sculptor that works under Jason Castriota, and my impression is that the next 9-3 (which may be called something else) will definitely hark back to Saab’s heritage — but with some interesting modern twists. That sketch that we saw is probably quite different from what the end result will be but the overall muscular motifs, and possibly even the general profile of the car will likely be consistent with the sketch.

    One part that seems very likely to change is the visibility of tail-lamps, when looking at the side profile. Honestly, this doesn’t strike me as being a particularly “Saabish” design characteristic. Jeff’s statement “a lot of traditional Saab out back” seems to support this conclusion. A progressively more “rounded” front with a “flattened” back seems to be a positive and likely design direction that I see Saab going after. As for the rear-wheel arches: I think those will make it to the final product as well.

    Finally, I very much like the blurring of the line between this being a hatch-back and a sedan. This is also very Saabish as much the 900 had a more slanted hatch back than most other hatch-back cars on the market. But, ironically, it has now become a very modern design characteristic as well. If you don’t believe me, look at all the “crossovers” that have cropped up over recent years. Of course, this 9-3 replacement isn’t going to be a crossover by any means (as crossovers tend to be rather large), but I can imagine some people possibly thinking of it as a “small crossover”.

    • Saab has never used the historical rear mirrors much through the years.
      99 had nothing in common with 96
      9000 same in relation to 900, as well with NG 9-3 to OG 9-3
      The spectacular NG 9-5 is truly unique, everyone taking à look at my 9-5 says it is stunnning!
      Saab should be stunnning make The next 9-3 à smaller combicoupe with some 9-5 looks.
      That Will be a winner!

      • I strongly agree. As you saw me posting on FaceBook: I saw a NG 9-5 yesterday and it definitely stands out in a crowd (in a great and big way).

        I can certainly understand being a bit worrisome about how the new 9-3 will look but stay tuned … I think we will all be impressed!

  16. Interesting that so many people here at SU in The previous NG 9-3 thread saw the Phoenix in The picture.
    And there is NONE!
    It is all Simon Padian et.al. Just look at the roofline and You see à NG 9-5.
    Must say The picture looks so much better than The ugly phoenix design study.
    Go Padian! Padian up! Saab can not risk any crazy design stunts!

  17. what gave it away for me was the large overhang of the front n back from the position of the weels. It has been widely published that castriotas first achievement as design director was to modify the existing platform architecture to become the phoenix where the weels are moved out further to give a sportier look. Ive said it before Saab needs a revised design identity n Jason is the right man for the job. The new Saab buyers might not be the ones that worships saabs of the past.

      • I hope jason has challenged the engineers to match his cool new design with technical content. The question is not what mr castriota do to Saab, but what Saab might do to castriota. Saabs heritage, people n customers n fans will have alot of impact on his design process. Let’s forget the input of the boss / self-proclaimed spyker designer mr muller.

  18. Castrotia should design sports cars. He doesn’t know anything about usability or “form follows function”. Let the real Saab people let design that Saab. The new 93 should be a Saab and not only a car.

  19. So, as I said in that other blog post thread, 31 Oct, with 180+ comments:
    Should that be “First photo of the new 9-3” or “First photo of the new 9-3?”?

    It was not, and we knew it more or less, a photo of the new 9-3; so a question mark would have been suitable.

    On the other hand that wouldn’t change much, since there is no other subject that can drive comments as car design…

  20. That fuzzy picture never looked right and the proportions were out for a car that’s meant to be slightly larger than the 9-3SS. It seems like a lot of people got excited about nothing? Here’s hoping the real car is a whole lot better! Hatches, wraparound curved windscreens/windshields and clamshell bonnets/hoods please!

  21. I read somewhere that the next 9-3 should be only 4.45 m long (or something like that). I havn’t read all the comments, but I think it’s strange that this fact get so little notice.

  22. To JC, or whoever does the design of the next 9-3…PUSH THE ENVELOPE!!! I want to push Saab forward. To be a world player, Saab has got to move forward. Do it!

  23. I wish Saab would just shrink the 9-4X a bit in all dimensions and it would make an awesome 9-3 hatchback. The lines of the 9-4X are just perfect and timeless. Same for the interior. I always liked Saab’s understated design and hope VM and JS don’t mess too much with that. And no, I don’t care much for the PhoeniX either. It just doesn’t say anything Saab to me like the Aero X does.

  24. Well, irrespective of any particular desginer, I would be glad if they recognised that a car has:

    no “DNA”, since it is not a living being
    no “muscular stance”, since it is not propelled by muscles, but by a internal combustion engine, and maybe an electrical motor
    no “face”, as it is no human being
    no “evil eyes”, since it has no eyes at all. These two thingys on the front are called headlights
    no “agressiveness”. That is reserved for its driver (or _hopefully_ not).

    • Oh, you’re no fun 🙂

      Haha, no I get what you’re saying though. But that’s what a lot of people enjoy hearing about, when reviewers, advertisers (or whoever) personify the product. It becomes endearing to the consumer.

      Also, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch of your imagination to view a car as a living creature. It has a front, back and sides. Most have headlights like eyes, and a fairly animal-looking face… kind of 🙂 As far as ‘evil eyes’ or ‘aggressiveness’, this has to do more with the lines and contours of the car. Distinct lines and edges evoke more of an ‘aggressive’ look, while softer lines and fewer edges more gentle and cozy. Psychology… sort of.

      Though I think more often than not, you’re going to continue to hear/see people describing a car as if it were a champion race horse or something 🙂

      • When I was a little boy, I always felt that also unliving matter had kind of a soul. It really hurt me when something broke, even worse of course with my beloved cuddly toys. I still have that feeling to a certain extent. But still, a human is a human, a horse is a horse, and a car is a car, each with its own attributes. I think you get sub optimum results in car design when you try designing a car as if is was a human; as you would get sub optimum training results with a horse, when applying human psychology. To use elements from nature to shape the style (not the function) of an object was done in previous centuries, it had its peak in the baroque, and I am glad that “form folllows function” gained track. How could a sidesheet of a car be optimized for aerodynamics when the designer has some strange attitude from the 17th century interfering with that task. (or, off topic, some early 20th century atttude on car design left over from the early days when cars were directly derived from carriages?)

        As a nice example, the grills of cars. These are getting bigger again, which quite evidently is a conceptual mixture of an “aggressive mouth” (humanization) and “I got such a big engine I need extra cooling” (retro), despite the fact that the grill is no mouth, but a wind brake, and engines are more efficient nowadays and require less cooling.

        • Oh I completely agree that function should always come before ‘style’, especially with something as expensive and potentially dangerous as a car. I don’t think engineers should design a car with humanoid qualities (or any other animal) especially if they detract from its function. I’d like to think that most designers have maximizing functionality in mind, and that stylistic approaches are all supplementary/complementary.

          With that said, I think it’s just human nature that talk like this comes up on the consumer side of things. Especially when the consumer has little to no idea why this particular design was chosen and honed into the product before them. I think more often than not people attribute humanoid/animal qualities to things so they feel they can better understand them, or relate to them, rather. I’ve heard people say their car is sick, instead of broken down.

          Not everyone will be pulled in by the archaic notion of a man and his faithful steed, obviously. They’re more interested in the technical design and how it enhances the drive, safety, performance, etc.

          I’ve never associated a gender or anything like that with my car. I always found that to be ridiculous.

  25. Haha, I THOUGHT that wasn’t Jason’s work. It looks too inspired from the Aero-X/9-X Air. Definitely looking forward to what Jason does with it.

  26. re the tuatara: I can’t imagine driving over some of our rough roads on those carbon fibre wheels!! recipe for disaster! they’d better be engineered damn well – a wheel failure at top speed of that car would be absolutely catastrophic!

    I know carbon’s a good high performance material, but even on a mountain bike (that goes an order of magnitude slower), there’s just some things you probably don’t want carbon for safety reasons!

    James…

  27. I think that VM was smart to get JC on board with Saab. He is widely known, young and popular. Unfortunately Saab needs that right now. His designs are all very much his own. You’re allowed to disagree of course, but I really think the people that have already mentioned it are right. You can tell a car was designed by JC just by looking at it quickly and the Phoenix is no exception. The good thing is generally, they’re really pretty cars. This Aero SCC is completely bonkers and out of place for a Saab enthusiasts website, but, it is very functional. I don’t really like it too much, myself but I appreciate it. I think it looks like a cheap knock-off of a 458 Italia front end with a 1970s Bat-Mobile back end. The tail end of the Phoenix was basically hideous too (irony? hrmmm).

    Anyway, I think that JC being involved in Saab IS A GOOD THING because Saab needs to be stirred up a little. But the hard part is getting Saab DNA injected into a car that is designed by a man who really only does his own thing. His own thing is good, but difficult to change I’m sure. I think the Phoenix works. It’s a direction for Saab. Concepts are always more “out there” and aggressive looking, so tone down the Phoenix and add a couple more doors and a completed tail end, and I really think you’re on to something good. Lets face is, the AeroX is one of the most beautiful concept cars ever, and it still hardly looks dated, but it didn’t look very Saab-ish when it came out. To my knowledge the Phoenix went from an idea to a rolling chassis (semi-completed car) in a very short period of time. I think that with more time, the Saab design cues will sink into the next 9-3 more and we should end up with a more Saab-like Phoenix.

    Sorry for bouncing all over the place, I’m just thinking out loud right now. Anyway, I am excited to see what happens!

    • Funny thing is though, while I am rather sceptical of Jason Castriota for Saab’s design, it is not at all for fear of loosing the previous attributes. If they do something completely new, that’s fine for me. I get easily bored anyway. In the end, unfortunately, design is about personal taste; you either like it or you don’t. So far, I did not like what I saw.

      Very personal, indeed. There are designers the work of which I liked even before I knew that the objects all derived from one individual. E.g., I liked the Alfa 156, a bit later I thought that the Seat design had impreoved a lot, and then Audi finally came up with a non-boring car, the A5. Only after this, I first heard the name of Walter Maria de Silva (who now unfortunately was promoted to the wring position as Volkswagen head of design).

      Jason still has to come up with a design I like. The above pictured car reminds me of the Birdcage 75th, but again, it is over the edge, like a exaggerated parody of the Birdcage.

  28. Wow, if that’s what they started with, combined with Jason’s edgy design talent and VM’s history of fantastical designs and details with Spyker, we are in for something really unique and spectacular. This car needs to rock the automotive world to rescue Saab and I have to say, I’m confident that it will.

  29. My 2 cents: I think the main problem is that Saab has to be back “in the head of people”. With an awesome but
    not excessive design you´ll win the first step on the road outside. An eye catcher. It is the first contact to a potential customer. Times where Saab cars were described as quirky should be ended. Although they should not been followed by playful and egocentric designed or indifferent cars. Not an easy task. So I wonder how the new 9-3 will be designed. Which range of customers will be the target ? 🙂

  30. If its going to be “a bit more Phoenix up front and a lot of traditional Saab out back” has anyone sketched up a mash between a Phoenix front and a c900/ng900 rear (that’s my guess on what “traditional Saab out back means)?

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