The 9-1, as designed in 2008


I have been going through trademark registrations today as I ran into those pictures. They are part of a registered design patent that GM filed in 2008. A quick check back confirmed that it shows what was referred to as “a small Saab” back then. I have some angles that I like a lot and some that I find a bit odd, but that’s no surprise with those computer drawings.

To me it looks like a 9-x Air with a roof so it is nothing all new. But it is a nice thing to look at, not only on a Monday.

36 thoughts on “The 9-1, as designed in 2008”

    • I hunk the main reason why people scratch their heads as to why the C30 doesn’t sell well anywhere, even in countries like UK, is that they forget it’s a 4 seater. Whilst I was selling Saabs (early – late 2000s) I had many customers who had been to look at the C30 tell me they would have bought it, despite the smallish opening for the boot; but they could ‘t get 5 people in the car. So this is where I feel Volvo made a big mistake in the design dept.

      • That´s exactly my thinking reg c30. Even thou people instantly tells you that those moments are so few when you really need the 4th passenger seat, it is inevitable that the occasion will occur some time.
        And you don’t want to have to reject a 4th passenger when you normally doesn’t have to.

        • I see it much differently. I think the liklihood of needing a 5th seat is almost zero for most. And the problem is, when you squeeze three in a narrow back seat—-it is very difficult to fit a child safety seat in. The positions are too narrow. I’m all for 4 seaters. A young family is much better off with two positions in the back with breathing room—–instead of three positions jammed in. I have found it almost impossible to get some safety seats in the back of my company car, a Prius. It’s ridiculous considering how few times (in my case NEVER) that 5 people need to be in that car. So silly.

  1. Are we ever going to get a video or explanation of how the 9-X air’s retractable top worked? Supposedly it was funky.

    Also, pardon me while I fix that freakish back.

  2. This would be a nice start as a design. On a different note: is it possible to make some sort of gallery when adding pictures in a post? Now I need to click a pic, go back to this page, click again etc. It would be nicer if it was possible to just click through the images without having to go back and forth all the time.

  3. Perfect design (and wonderful touches at the back – no fix needed!). I would buy it without hesitation. Was it supposed to be on the same platform as the Opel Corsa? Any tech specs?

  4. Fantastic!
    I had a Ovlov 480ES (2+2) for many years. While appalling quality and a bit under powered I loved this car, perfect for the young single/couple. Even used for some serious IKEA hauling, just easily lowered the passenger front and rear seats, easily over 2 meters for cupboard doors, bookshelves (Billy!) etc. Also, loved the design that was completely different from everything else and the pop-up lights and car computer was great!
    This car was replaced with a 900SE coupe in 1996, picked up at the factory. The Saab was bigger, more practical and better pull, but rather front heavy…
    Now, times are different and when I looked for a second car in addition to the 8 seater for school runs, I got the smallest Saab I could get, a 2006 9-3 SS Aero. This was replaced last year with a TurboX. Nevertheless, it is almost too large for my preference. I have been looking at the C30, Scirocco, Veloster, et al, all well sized for my needs, as a second car. If the 9-1 would have been available as shown, that is what I would have purchased with my own hard earned moneys!
    Now, since the IP is in GM’s hands, I guess we will never see it for real???

  5. Its a fantastic start but I think the main reason the C30 didnt sell too well was because it was only a three door. The five door V40 soon fixed that which, I might add, is a very nice looking car.

  6. that probably would have been my next car…
    so I need to ceep my 2009 9-3 for at least 20 more years an get a 2002 9-3 convertible in addition

  7. The nose looks like my 9-5ng 2011. Instead of the Volvo this is a goodlooking car.
    You can better compare with the Audi TT. This Saab design has a more sporty image then the Volvo.

  8. The nose looks like my 9-5ng 2011. This is a kick ass design. Instead of the Volvo this is a goodlooking car.
    You can better compare with the Audi TT. This Saab design has a more sporty image then the Volvo.

  9. Friends,

    I love the front end end of this rendition but from the sides and rear, well, if a 9-3 and a Chrysler crossfire had a baby this is what it would look like.

  10. Somewhat average I’m afraid. It doesn’t look much better than the 9-X BH with probably even worse rear visibility. Fancy trying to see through that letter box slot. It probably makes the rear visibility out of a Lotus Europa look good! The 9-X Air was the only thing reasonably decent to come out of that design phase. Saab needed a small hatch but this wasn’t it.

    • This is most definitely not that Saab. No offense to Victor, because I think he’s a genius of the highest order, but that car looked really, really strange, and not in a good way. It was very, very, very similar to Saab’s original 92. Think modernized details but exact same form.

  11. Sorry for the late comment but the images are the 9-x Air with the softtop up.
    Look at the roofline, it’s broken up and wave formed as a soft top roof would be.

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