SAAB Safety

How it works: Saab 99 Headlamp Wipers

Saab headlamp wipers

This is another pioneering innovations of Saab in its long history. Yes, It is the SAAB 99 model that saw the introduction of headlight wipers in 1970.

These wipers are extremely rare, having only ever been fitted to the SAAB 99 Turbo and no other car, in this (linear) way. They’re using a linear approach to the wiping as opposed to an angular approach like conventional wipers and other manufacturers’ Headlamp wipers.

The electronical Headlight wiper and combination washer system were designed and integrated into the model and promoted as a safety feature. This feature continued in the wiper / washer form until 2001 on the 9-5 and 2003 with the 9-3 Convertible.

After Saab, a small number of luxury car makers (Mercedes, BMW, Volvo…) applied the concept of a headlamp wipera, but none of them had a linear approach – so simple and at the same time so efficient.

Those headlamp washers and wipers were mandatory in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries for the obvious reasons since the early 1970s. They are also extra cost option as well as standard equipment on the higher trim levels outside Scandinavian countries.

Eventually, the high pressure washers started to replace the wipers in the early 1990s as the headlamp shape became less and less flat, rectangular, or round.


3 Comments

  • I have a 1971 Saab 96V4. It has the same headlamp wiper system fitted. The system uses a larger washer bottle with two pumps.

  • In the artical, it says
    “These wipers are extremely rare, having only ever been fitted to the SAAB 99 Turbo and no other car, in this (linear) way. They’re using a linear approach to the wiping as opposed to an angular approach like conventional wipers and other manufacturers’ Headlamp wipers.”
    This is wrong, ALL 99 and 90, exept the turbo and us models with 4 round headlights, were fitted with these linear headlamp wipers from model year 71 to 87. Turbo models did not have linear wipers but angular wipers as the engine bay was full of turbo stuff and did not fit.

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