Spoiler Alert: More Photoshop Fun

Now that the CGI images from Jason Castriota have had chance to circulate a little more, we’ve had time to really start to study what Saab details he chose to celebrate. For me, my favorite part is the side profile and back. I even love the controversial ducktail and its connection to the 900. To start out, I wanted to see what would happen if we put a set of my favorite black Hirsch wheels on it to see what it might look like.

After the break we’ll see have some more fun with photoshop and Jason’s 9-3.

When I look at the rear profile of Jason’s 9-3 more, I can instantly see a connection to the model it replaces with the shoulder line and its proportion to the tail light which also has a NG 9-3 shape, which leans back. To show you more, I took the rear spoiler off.

castriotabacknotailI actually like both spoiler and non-spoiler versions, but obviously the downforce that the spoiler adds is welcome at high speed. When you look at older Saabs next to Jason’s, you can really see how he not only applies the light bar of the NG 9-5 and NG 900 refresh, but spaces the spoiler further away and tricks the eye into seeing the proportions of the original 900, all while integrating the new shoulder into the back. It’s pretty fantastic in my opinion.

93backhistory Keep in mind this is a near-premium priced car, not a 911 fighter, so an electronic spoiler isn’t exactly in the budget. If it was you might have the best of both worlds, NG 9-5 and 9-3 trunk look with a spoiler that activates and reminds you of older Saabs. You’ll also see the LED headlights I adapted from the last exercises, and I moved the hood/bonnet line over to hide it towards the middle of the car. After seeing them, Jason told me that they were actually part of the plan, but expense was keeping them out. We’ll have more from Jason later this week at the New York International Auto Show. Here’s another image from a different angle.


And one more without the red light bar from the NG 9-5 and 9-4x, seeing as they won’t be around much longer and just for fun and out of curiosity. Again, I don’t have a favorite, just trying to see options.

jcbacknolightAt this point, I remembered an image I had worked on that was actually an adaptation of someone else’s photoshop way back in 2011 when Jason’s Phoenix concept first came out to guess the form of the 9-3. When I put the two side by side again, it was pretty amazed how well they fit together, and the chopped one could actually make a great little 9-2 to sit aside Jason’s 9-3 and the UrSaab for size and formal comparison.


One reason I was so happy to see the back of Jason’s 9-3 was it meant the return of what I feel are the only proper modern tail lamps, as I mentioned, ones that lean back. Here’s a graphic that explains it.


The green lines that are backslashes in the image are the traditional Saab angle, and the red forward slash of the NG 9-5 made a break with that tradition, which also meant that the bumper panel met the tail light at a new awkward point. As much as the new 9-5 received buckets of praise for its design, I have to say this back area has always looked clumsy to me.


Now, I know that detail doesn’t seem like that huge a deal in the scheme of things, but for someone scrutinizing every detail of these cars and really looking for Saab DNA, I have to give Jason’s car the clear nod. If you want to see what a 9-4x looks like with the lights turned the right way, here’s a quick but crude photoshop. See any 9-5 wagon in there?


Finally, in case you missed it in the other thread’s comments, I slapped an NG 9-5’s face onto Jason’s concept. You’ll notice I moved the hood line too to a more 9-X biohybrid line where it bifurcates the headlight. It reinforces the fact that I’m happy to see the Aero-X face retire. I hope NEVS can embrace a new front graphic design, and I hope Jason’s is the basis for it.

frankensaab9395And here’s just the grill and new hood with Jason’s face and our LEDs.



We’ll have more insight about the design process from Jason as I said this week from New York. As you can see from the images above, dissecting all the details of his 9-3 reveal an intense connection to Saab’s core DNA, and I certainly hope that we can see this car adapted to NEVS’s future for Saab.


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Good job Jeff!
I think its getting better all the time but the rounded ‘pedestrian safety hood’, oh man. I can’t imagine other manufacturers will go for something that completely destroy their front designs?

Something must be screwed with the 9-5 headlights you used as I was expecting to see the car turn more into: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saab_9-5_Aero_Turbo_XWD.JPG

And PLEASE make the cut in the bumper to create a bigger tailgate. Lets call it the practical Scandinavian version 😉


When I was little and drew the 900 Turbo (in 2D from the side) I always started with the front blinkers bending up and the rear lights bending down. They are to me the SAAB significant detail of the 900. Therefore I really like the 9-4X photoshop =)


Thanks, Pretty pictures and nice story to read.


Agreed; fine work Jeff !!!!


Very interesting experiments. Would it be too much to ask whether you might be able to provide a de-cluttered side view? One in which the fake wings are removed, and where the “edge” below the windows does not have a concave bend below it?


The gaping fish mouth grille worked to a limited extent on the Aero-X, much less on the 9-5 and looked even worse on everything else. I’m glad to see it depart too. I’d still like to see J.C’s design in a cleaner 3 door hatch/coupe because that is what I’d have waited to buy.

Troels, Denmark

Thank You Jeff for those interesting experiments!
I agree about the tail-lights (although some models, like the 9-5 OG – wagon and the 9-4 especially “demands” the right shaped tail-lights because of the interplay with the last side-window – and the OG 900 because of the interplay with the side-view of the rear-body-shape).
It is interesting to see the different side-views. I have to confess that the “common-photoshop-model” (although not perfect) – in my eyes – seems more elegant, less clumsy , more clean/simple and more like “one whole body” than the JC-design…. – even in a clear side-view.


Interesting work Jeff thanks. I just stil font ‘get’ the design as a whole it doesn’t hang together IMHO. Funny the rear is my least favourite and any similarity to the GM900 confirms my views as that was IMHO one if Saabs less inspiring designs, looked aged on launch never mind by the time it was replaced. The 9000 and ’08 9-3 have kept fresh because they were original rather than derivative. The ng9-5 still looks good to me particularly the rear lights 😉


The 9-3 does grow on you, and there are hints of Panamera in it ( a car that I think is great looking).

Your 9-4x taillights nail it. It now looks like a Saab, instead of resembling slightly the back end of that hideous Buick Rendezvous.

Alan Izzo

Nice work Jeff, thanks for the time and effort, it’s fun to see!

+ on the Panamera, spot on with that I think.

I like the 9-4x taillight treatment as well. This design is growing on me too, but I only wish I could see it in “the metal” 🙂


I disagree, I think Jeef’s Saab light treatment on the 9-4x turns a nice looking vehicle into a Buick Rendezvous.


The more and more I see of Jason’s car, the more I love it with every next viewing. It carries enough SAAB DNA to harken back to the past, but brings new design language to SAAB to push it forward into the future. Really a spectacular looking SAAB! Nice work, Jason! I’m sure a 3-door would look even sportier…


“so an electronic spoiler isn’t exactly in the budget”. I must ask, why not? BMW uses it now on its 4-GT as an example? This beancounting hysteria is exactly why Saab was mismanaged by GM. The money is in the premium area, not competing with removing cool stuff all over the place. I would have loved to see an active rear spoiler.

Carl Holland

Awesome. Still all distinctively Saab. GM owe the world an apology for breaking these development opportunities.


Great work Jeff. I do think the rear spoiler gives it a Saab look because without it, it starts to look like the new BMW 3 or 5 series GT which integrates a lip into the last part of the hatch lid. I would appreciate a wider spoiler as the one on Jason’s design just looks like it was thrown on there. Maybe if it curved up to match the rear window bottom shape a little. A rear wiper would need to be integrated somewhere as well. Also, while I think the rear light bar can look nice, it is… Read more »


Thanks Jeff, I really like the photoshopped 9-4X (would buy it at once), the traditional Saab angle looks better than the headlights of the 9-5 II, IMO. And I like your photoshopped version from 2011. The proportions of front and rear are more balanced than in JC´s 9-3. For me the front is too heavy/dominant in his version. Could you try to draw a higher rear and the AeroX nose flatter or perhaps something like the three section front of the current 9-3 ? 😉


The light bar on the rear is way too fat, really not subtle or anything… And I want to start ironing out all the superfluous bulges creases etc. However, I’m afraid a very bland basic shape will remain after that, meaning the design has to be re-done from scratch. Okay, this is the last thing I’m saying about it.


Now I’m thoroughly impressed and depressed. What could have been, or could be? Now all we need to see is interior followed by a test drive.


Really nice stuff, Jeff! I love to see designwork in action. I would love to see a larger image of your black JC 9-3/Phoenix design experiment…but with JC’s engine hood and the rear wing on. Do you take requests? Please, please…


C’est moche in french ( Ugly ). So common to other brand styles in the market Lexus, BMW, …. Saab. Superieur Aux Autres Bagnioles. Superior to other Cars. N


I think it bears a resemblance to the Jaguar XF. Is there some copycatting going on.


Now open your eyes and look again.


It’s a great car, but when can I drive it? and who is going to service it? I just don’t want another nightmare in my case on Rte. 53 (Denville, NJ) – my 9.5 is 11 years old, and getting a lot of miles…. come on guys!!!!


And that is the crux of the continuing Saab Saga. Even when there suddenly would be a NEVS Saab, and it would be a ‘reasonable’ car, and it would come to the US, and there maybe would be parts for it, and…and………would I be willing to take the risk to spend family money on it? With bleeding heart I have to admit that my answer, as time passes us by, leans more and more to a NO. I hope that our Viggen and 1999 9-5 keep going for a while but it is becoming more and more unlikely that they… Read more »


it is where I am as well, the 9.5 has over 125k, the convertible is 18 years old, my daughter uses the 250k+ 9.3 (last of the hatchbacks) as an emergency car, but with no real parts available, and no thank you, I’m not buying them on ebay, I’ll probably go over to Volvo – I didn’t like any other similarly situated drive.


I am not a fan of Jason’s design, but this was a great post nonetheless. Nice work Jeff.


Hey Jeff, you do realize that all your designs tend to go in this direction, don’t you?

Nothing wrong with that, though 🙂


The fact that these images are for public viewing means that we will never see this car for real because the design will have aged. Is this true? just thinking . . .

Allan B

This is interesting stuff from Jeff. I am glad to see the balance that Jason Castriota has brought to the car’s profile, with more length at the rear and less bulk overhanging the front wheels than we have seen on Saabs designed in my lifetime. But I would like to see the actual production version of the next-generation 9-3 looking even more like a 99 half combi. Short overhang at the front and a longer tail. It is a much more elegant and poised design than the classic 900 that came after it, in my opinion. (Yes, I know the… Read more »

Soren Christensen

Hey Jeff, I appreciate your efforts and look forward to read your interview with JC. Would it be possible create one or two image renderings where you replace the dramatic spotlight illumination with diffuse headlight type of illumination? It seems to me that some of us do not appreciate what the use of light source(s) do to a CGI image, the appearance of the car and especially the impression of surfaces and contours of same. I am very impressed by JC’s work and I think it is a bit misinterpret by some due to the illumination applied on these CGI’s.… Read more »


Nice work Jeff!

To me, the 2’nd car (“9-2”), between the Castriota design and the Ursaab in the picture above looks so much better that the JC 9-3. It has something to do with the proportions, the more sloping bonnet and smaller overhangs make this photoshop profile more harmonious.

Troels, Denmark

You are right. A main reason is the more open angel between the bonnet and the wind-shield which makes the whole shape more like a unity. The JC-design has – as the only Saab-sideview shown – a long almost horizontally upper-bonett-line, which makes the whole body less united, more common/less Saabish and adding a small tendency to – visually – break where bonnet meets wind-shield…

James Laman

This just reeks of the horrible looking Panamera…. no thanks. It also looks a bit Lexus….. gads, maybe we need to get back to “quircky” designs?

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