The (most recent) Saab V-8

I was saving this little piece of Saab trivia for a rainy day, but since the V-8 is a hot topic right now, why not?

As I mentioned previously, I’m not sure that Saab should spend time developing a V-8 power plant option, but it wouldn’t be the first time that it came to light.

In 1989, the engineers at Valmet, a long-time Saab manufacturing partner in Uusikaupunki (Nystad), Finland, took it as a personal challenge to develop and fit a V-8 engine into the Saab 9000. Their counterparts at Saab in Trollhattan said that it couldn’t be done. Of course, resourceful folks that they are, they succeeded in their mission to prove the Saab engineers wrong. As we all know, GM bought a controlling stake in Saab the very next year and thus negated any need for a Saab-developed V-8.

Saab V8 - thanks Tommi

This Saab V-8 was, as it appears, two B202 16-valve engines combined to create a right-angle V-8 engine which the good folks in Uusikaupunki managed to fit into a 1989 9000 and drive around terrorizing the local law enforcement community.

This is text directly from Tommi’s page:

The Saab engineers in Sweden had said that making a V8 fit the engine bay of the 9000 was impossible. The people at Uusikaupunki didn’t buy it and in 1988 produced a prototype of a V8 engine by combining two 4 cylinder Saab engines. The 4 litre Valmet TF (Twin Four) V8 engine put out almost 300 horsepower and it was mounted sideways under the bonnet of a Saab 9000. No body modification was necessary, the engine fit right in.

The engineers at the factory said that the V8 9000 was “a hoot to drive”. This is evidently backed up by the several speeding tickets that were gathered during the road tests.

Great stuff.

No matter what side of this debate that you are on, would you ever want to stifle creativity like this? I hope not! These “tangents” create new ideas and new technologies. Not all of them are useful, I’ll grant you, but without the failures you cannot have the successes.

9 thoughts on “The (most recent) Saab V-8

  1. The engine is on display in Uusikaupunki car museum. A place worth visiting if you happen to be in Finland some day.

  2. That is not the most recent Saab V8. Saab has tested 9-5 with a V8 just a couple of years ago. The problem was that the enging was so big that there where no room left for AC, the engine also runned hot so they had to turn the heat in the car to max to cool the engine. All this in 40 degree celsius. Here is a swedish article about it:

    I should have been more specific — the 9-5 used a GM V-8, and I was making a point that Saab engines came in V-8 form, too. You are correct, and I’ll write with more precision in the future. EnG

  3. Psycho Dave, that’s nothing new for a Saab, in fact, very Saab-like. I had to run my 2-cycle 66 Saab with the heat turned up full on hot summer days to keep the engine cool.

  4. i didn’t see anything in there that saab opposed the v-8 on the grounds that it’d be some sort of diabolical bastardization of the brand, which is:

    a. the take i get from recent contributors; and

    b. what the 9-7x, long ago, managed to accomplish.

  5. i dont understand why a V8 would be so TERRIBLE. i mean, you have the potential to step up the game and compete with the audi RS4 or RS6…M3…M5….AMG cars….it can still be effecient too…the technologies today…cylinder shut down…etc..etc… if it’s just because you’re too bull-headed to let go of a non saab 4 cylinder…aka…ecotec…aka…the same engine in a saturn…i dont know what to tell you. :)

  6. It is said Saab also put a few Triumph Stag V8s into the 99, but became more interested in turbocharging due to the fuel consumption.

    They also made a copuple of two stroke V6 engines, but that’s another story.

  7. I just found this old post by Googling. What an impressive engine. So SAAB takes a Triumph slant 4 that was originally designed to be a V8, spends 20 years or so improving it for reliability, power, smoothness and more and then restores it to its original V8 intentions. You just know that ever since SAAB brought over the Triumph 4 and made it their own, engineers were thinking “we could design our own V8 from this, we don’t have to wait for Triumph to do it” and eventually they did. I would bet that this V8 as a prototype was world’s better than Triumph’s production version in the Stag. Better yet, it would have already been strengthened for twin turbocharging. That would have been just frightfully fast. With or without turbos, it would have sold in the US. Better a reliable V8 with too much weight up front than a light weight 4 that wiggles the car at idle. This was the same time that BMW launched their 3.0 V8 to compete with Lexus and Infiniti. SAAB could not compete their own 4 or the bad GM V6. Too bad.

    Now if only Chrysler had turned their slant 6 into a V12 and then had the Aussies make it into a hemi.

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