The “classic” Saab 900 was based on the Saab 99 chassis, though with a longer front end to meet U.S. frontal crash regulations. The 900 was produced in 2- and 4-door sedan, and 3- and 5-door hatchback configurations; in addition, from 1986, a cabriolet (convertible) model was produced.
The 1979 Saab 900 was available in three versions:
- The GL had the single-carb 99 hp/73.5 kW engine,
- the GLS had twin carburetors for 106 hp/79.5 kW, t
- the EMS and GLE had fuel injection for 116 hp/87 kW, and
- the 900 Turbo produced 143 hp/107 kW.
In 1977 Valmet had created an elongated executive model of the 99 combi-coupé named “Finlandia“. With the introduction of the 900, the concept was transferred onto the new chassis. The “Finlandia” was 20 cm (7.9 in) longer than standard, by adding 10 cm (3.9 in) to both front and rear doors, but only the rear leg room was larger.
The idea behind the car was to produce an executive car which would appeal to the Nordic market as an option to big German and American sedans. The first cars were sold as the Saab 900 “Finlandia”.
These cars made between 1979 and 1982 were combi-coupés, and didn’t have the ‘CD’ designation. Very few examples of these early models were exported. After the more representable 4-door sedan was introduced, the CD designation replaced the nickname and the Swedish Saab headquarters started to officially offer the car for export. The Saab 900 CD was made at the Valmet factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland.