Saab and 007

Top Gear (UK) had a great programme on the TV tonight which featured 50 years of “Bond Cars”

Richard was the host and he mentioned cars from both the books and the films, sadly he missed one out, well more than one, but one that is special to us here at SU.

The Saab 900 Turbo stared in three novels and was a personal car of Bonds and not one from the brilliant Q.
In 1982 Saab constructed a  real version of the 900 Turbo with the gadgets exactly as described in License Renewed. This 900 included a specially developed turbo changed engine with water injection, increasing the power to 240 BHP from 2000cc and the car launched from 0 – 60 Mph in less than 7 seconds. Martin Lyons from Cardif remembers having it at a dealership he once worked in and remembers the inch thick glass windows.

You can read about this very special 3 door at Bond Lifestyle and Commander Bond .
But a nice quote from Commander Bond;
“But this was no ordinary Saab.  This was what James Bond called his “Silver Beast,” a car that saw 007 through the first three novels by John Gardner; a car that saw as much action, and delivered just as many surprises, as the beloved Aston Martin DB5. If the DB5 is “the most famous car in the world,” could the Saab be the second most famous car in the world?  Okay, maybe not.  (That honour may belong to yet another Fleming creation, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.)  But the CBn poll reveals that the Saab is clearly a fan favourite and one that deserves to have its history told.”

Bond’s Saab 900 Turbo, 3-door version, is fully loaded with the following features:

  • Water-cooled turbo engine modification per Saab Law Enforcement specs, producing a top speed in excess of 170 MPH
  • Modified fuel system capable of running on petrol or gasohol
  • Halon 12 fire extinguishing system and fire-proofing
  • Digital Head-Up Display
  • Remote text-messaging system via black box phone hook up to landline
  • Mobile phone
  • Four external tear gas ducts
  • A filter to neutralise deadly gas entering the car’s passenger cabin
  • Oxygen masks under the seats in CO2-operated compartment
  • Several hidden compartments in dashboard containing TH70 Nitefinder goggles (for driving without headlights), grenades, one unauthorized Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum revolver and one Browning automatic handgun
  • Fully armor-plated body
  • Bulletproof glass
  • Steel-reinforced ramming bumpers back and front
  • Heavy-duty Dunlop Denovos tires, self-sealing even after being hit by bullets
  • Black leather upholstery Side gunport
  • Remote starter kit
  • Rotating license plates
  • Air Conditioning
  • Cruise Control
  • Two halogen fog lamps
  • A fully built in sound system
  • Aircraft headlight hidden behind front license plate

10 thoughts on “Saab and 007”

  1. When it visited our dealership it even still had the gun inside the glove box too! It was amazing to see how they had managed to fit 2.5cm thick bulletproof glass to it.

  2. I bought that book, “License Renewed” or was it, “For Special Services”. The author was John Gardner. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I may still have it in my basement. Currently reading “Cold Fall” by the same author.

  3. The HUD is from a Saab J35 Draken double-delta interceptor aircraft. I former colleague who flew them said it keeps accelerating and the you run out of fuel. Top speed unknown.
    Landing lights behind the number plate is from a Saab AJ 37 Viggen multirole fighter (unfortunately NOT the best in each category but decent overall)

  4. James Bond Skyfall trivia:
    There is a Saab 9-5 SW that nearly gets hit by the Jaguar driven by Bond kidnaps M and rushes around a corner near White hall. + a street episode when the rear lights of a 9-3 is seen also that in London.

    • Yes, I spotted the 9-5 too. I think it is silver. The best car-related bit is the DB5 driving through Glencoe in Scotland. A close second is the fate of a black Audi whose driver is trying to be cool and menacing but gets completely humiliated by an old Land Rover. Car anoraking aside, it is a great film. After so many crap or mediocre Bond films since Goldfinger, the Daniel Craig ones are just fantastic.

  5. Sure the tyres were Denovos? 79-83 turbos were fitted with Michelin TRX wheels and tyres (although in some markets the 3-door was fitted with Incas, esp in the M81 UK variants) – is the TRX wheel compatible with Denovo? Another dead end – I thought only the BL M-cars and Princess had them and certainly not on 15 in rims

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