SAAB Safety

How tough is a Saab?

Saab 99 hanging on railway bridge

There’s a pic in book The 99 & 900 Story” by Lance Cole, while they’re explaining the extensive accident research Saab did during the 60’s & 70’s, where they actaully dropped a Saab 99 on it’s roof from 2-5m. All the windows remained intact, which is saying something.

Saab 99 drop test - after falling from a height of 2.4 meters
Saab 99 drop test – after falling from a height of 2.4 meters

Apparently, Saab investigated all road accidents, not only the ones involving their cars, as part of their extensive R&D, which was over and above the research carried out by their nearest “safety conscious” competitor.

This lead to the 99 being designed from the outset with crumple zones, front & rear, and from 1972, side impact bars in the door were standard.

Saab 99 hanging on railway bridge

One of such interesting cases was “hanging Saab“. In this accident, in 1972, the Saab 99 which was left impaled on a railway bridge afer a transporter driver had misjudged the cleareance, received great pulicity in UK.

But, quick to turn the accident to their advantage, the local Saab dealer exhibited the car in his showrooms at the weekend and took great delight in demonstrating  that despite the strain on the bodyshell, the doors still opened and closed, and there was no distortion. And here’s another similar incident that set the Saab 99 as a very robust car.

The British newspaper “The Sun” then published an interesting news about the miraculous survivor.

Saab accident

Englad cricket star Ian Botham chaeted death in two terrifying 1000mph crashes… In short, he managed to make two heavy traffic accidents in just over an hour.

On both accidents, he smashed two Saab cars, and he survived both times!

Ian Botham for SAAB

Embed from Getty Images


  • I believe they were very safe. They used to test with elk crashes (their local “deer” impact test) decades before the others. But let’s not forget that despite that, the a pillars were weak despite the strength elsewhere. There was a division president of Saab that died probably 20 years ago hitting an elk-which was a design parameter of their crash tests oddly.

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