Did You Know?

This is really off topic but anyone that knows me and my choice of comedy knows that I love me some Top Gear. While looking through their website yesterday I came across an odd piece on the late producer Tony Scott, who the day earlier took his life. I was not aware of his history or of a tie into Saab. Scott is the brother of producer Ridley Scott who produced a commercial for Apple called 1984 and Tony Scott produced an equally great commercial for Saab before his Top Gun fame.


The ad is for the Saab 900 turbo and preceded Top Gun as you can see the influence that it would later have on the movie itself. Its too bad watching this that commercials are typically just something we’d like to mute or skip over, when we can see that in the hands of a story teller they can be something more then what we see now.

I had read that Tony Scott had struck out with his first film The Hunger and went back to producing commercials, that is until Jerry Bruckheimer came across this commercial featuring a race between a jet and a Saab. Bruckheimer would then hire him to produce Top Gun which became a box office hit in 1986 bringing in more than $177 million and to think, in a way it was all because of Saab. Maybe not all because of Saab but this commercial is what brought him into the film and you can see why.

RIP Tony Scott, thank you for creating one of my favorite movies of all time and for this little gem of a commercial that I am glad to have found.

33 thoughts on “Did You Know?”

    • Minus the death of coarse. I had no idea either and found it interesting and searched a little further to find that this actually played a huge part in Scott getting into Top Gun.

  1. You’ll see my comment on the youtube clip

    that car is a 900 (Carb) 4-door MY85, not a turbo. basically it’s the £7.5K they’re alluding to. Somewhere it switches from LHD to RHD, and into a 9000 twice – there is a 9000 variant of this ad too.

    I remember the story behind this ad… the driver/pilot evokes the image of the former pilot and Saab’s first designer Sixten Sason

    Great ad – RIP Tony

    • It does several switches from LHD to RHD, including one that looks like a morph from one to the other over a second or so of sequencing. I only noticed the 9000 once in the overhead view while still in the hangar. I had to go back an view the clip again after reading this comment to pick up on the 9000.

      Keeping the Top Gun-related theme going, there was the 1997 commercial with a Saab coming to a quick halt at the end of an aircraft carrier deck. This was one of several TV commercials that was previewed at the US Saab Owners Convention in 1997, the 50th Jubilee.

      • The exhaust is 9000

        for entertainment value watch the driver wind up his window…these days as most cars have electric windows a manual winder seems anachronistic and not so graceful an operation…

        • Thanks for replying. The exhaust was my guess. I stared at a few frames but it was too fuzzy. The position of the exhaust tip was a good clue for me.

          I noted the manual window operation – like my ’84 900.

          The YouTube links from JH below were were closer to originals and much cleaner. The one in this post looked like a copy from VCR with the wow, flutter and tracking adjustment in progress.

  2. Hi Jason, yes a very emotive video clip. As you know I was heavily involved with Saab in that era and it is a little know fact that on the first take of that ad the planes exhaust completely burned the paint off the uppermost facing surfaces of the bodywork. On the finished product they managed to film it in a way that avoided such a possible catastrophe of the driver getting toasted!
    Those were the days when the marketing guys at Saab really had the right idea, just like this!

  3. I think that’s not just “a jet”. It, too, is a Saab. JAS-39 Grippen, with the canard? Someone here will know for sure.

  4. Did you know?

    GM has issued a massive recall of 250.000 cars in the US, one of them being the Saab 9-7X.

    BMW today sued Saab Automobile Parts AB for SEK 20 million.

    News that don’t qualify for SaabsUnited anymore now that we have entered the era of NEVS business plans?

  5. I googled what you have claimed, Finn, about BMW suing SAAB Parts and no information remotely similar appears. Where did you get your information? Maybe you should post a link to a real news story before making such statements…

    Otherwise, Thank you, Jason, for posting this ad and the correlation between Tony and SAAB. It’s easy to see whay any director would want to work with him after seeing this small piece of his work. The film world will surely miss him. RIP, Tony.

      • It’ll be interesting to see this play out as the company was taken over by the government but I guess when they take over, they probably take over debts too. @FinnFemFel we do know about the recall and it’s been covered through other threads. As far as the BMW thing, I’m not sure if you are being critical about the story not being up here or not although it is from today so not sure how fast you’d want it up as it is still news that matters as Saab Parts is still something we all need. There is not much of a story to tell right now though as what you wrote is almost all there is to the story right now. In future you may want to email this in rather then posting to a thread that has nothing to do with it. These kinds of comments can serve to kill a post because people end up just talking about that comment rather then the story that was originally told although I’m sure you chose this post because you could start with a did you know? because of my title.

      • Thanks for posting, CokeIsIt, though as Jason says there does not seem to be much to the story yet. I sure hope it will be worked out and not negatively impact our parts situation which is already so unstable.

    • Regarding BMW, Göteborgs-Posten has a detailed story. Without posting a link so as to avoid moderation, go to Google News. Where it says “U.S. edition” (or whatever) use the dropdown list to select “Sverige”. Then search Saab and the first story is the GP story.

      • Sorry guys, only so much time in a work day to devote to throwing a post up but it’s up now. If anyone wants to talk about BMW lets move the discussion to that post.

  6. Did you know that the Mig 31 Firefox in the Firefox movie starring Clint Eastwood was originally supposed to be a repainted Viggen? Unfortunately the Swedish Air Force didn’t want the silhouettes of their planes to be recognised as Soviet superweapons.

  7. You know..I was the first person to use the phrase “Off Topic”. They stole that phrase from me. I commented many times “off topic” on Swade’s web site Next thing I know, the term started popping up. I should have patented it.

  8. ^ Although I think this Viggen driver seems more an “average Jorge” than Tony Scott’s “cool hand Luke” pilot and driver …… grin.

  9. ^ Although this Viggen driver seems more an “average Jorge” than Tony Scott’s “cool hand Luke” pilot and driver …… grin.

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