Whilst Saab’s first car, nick-named UrSaab, was made in 1946 and Saab’s first production prototypes were shown to the wider world in June 1947, it wasn’t until December 1949 that Saab began production of vehicles for public sale. That first vehicle was the Saab 92 and with an initial production rate of only 4 vehicles per day, it’s no surprise that only 700 were made in the 1950 model year.
The Saab 92 was a compact two-door car made by a Swedish company for the Swedish post-war family. As such it had to be pretty hardy, well designed and constructed, and affordable. Hardiness was tested in racing, literally just a few weeks after the 92 began production. Construction and design were based on the parent company’s aviation theories, which saw the car receive a light, strong body and a very low 0.35 drag coefficient. And affordable? Even in Sweden, the first Saab 92s came with heating as an option! The Saab 92 had an initial sale price of 6,550kr in 1950.
The first run of Saab 92s came in any color you liked as long as it was green. Three extra colors were added in 1953. Initial versions also had a tiny rear window and the car’s battery was located in the boot (trunk), which was only accessible by a lowered back seat, the boot having no external access of its own.
The car had a 25hp two-cylinder two-stroke engine with the gearbox built integrally. The gearbox was a three-speed manual with an unsynchronised first gear, column-mounted shifter and the first use of the Saab freewheel.
There were minimal changes to the vehicle at all in its first years of production. 1952 saw the American gauges from Stewart-Warner replaced by VDO gauges made in Germany. 1953 saw what were Saab’s first major model evolutions. They added external access to the boot of the car, relocated the battery into the engine bay, relocated the fuel tank and filler pipe, and enlarged the rear window of the car. The three new paint colors in this year were grey, blue-grey and black.
The front seats were improved with ‘dished’ backrests and Saab made a point of promoting the versatility of the vehicle; with the back seat removed and new external access to the rear it could be used as a delivery van and a special bedding kit was available for those who like to camp out in their cars.
1954 saw the first public use of the 92B model designation. Power improved to 28hp thanks to a new carburetor and there were many cosmetic design changes, especially in the interior of the car. The dash panel was painted in the exterior color, and there were new knobs for the various cabin functions. Saab offered their first sunroof in 1954, a sliding canvas roof. An electric fuel pump was fitted late in the model year and 1955 saw change to the tail lamps.
The Saab 93 started production in 1955, but Saab continued building the 92B in parallel with the 93 right up to late 1956. There were 20,128 units of the car built from late 1949 and of these, 14,828 were the Saab 92B.
Saab 92 Gallery
The first Saab 92 prototypes are presented to the Swedish press, June 10, 1947. On June 10, 2007, Saab commemorated the 60th anniversary of this event by presenting the 2008 Saab 9-3 at the Saab Festival in Trollhattan, Sweden.
Saab 92 in production:
The 1000th Saab was a Saab 92 made late in 1950 as a MY1951 vehicle. The ladies at Saab do the hard work promoting it in the snow.
The Saab 92 was swiftly grafted onto the racing circuit…..
….and the show circuit:
The initial cars were only available in green, rumoured to be surplus army paint
Other colors came a few years later. Maroon was added in 1954 with the official arrival of the 92B.
It’s hard to believe with the size of modern motor vehicles, but the Saab 92 was a family car in its day. A cozy family car….
Saab’s first sunroof, offered for 600kr
One of these was ground-breakingly aerodynamic for its time. The other one is a jet plane.
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