Per Gillbrand, a former automotive engineer who designed the first Saab turbocharged engines in the 1970s, markets and builds an extensive range of miniature engines, with the W16 and even the Rolls Royce Merlin among them.
Most carmakers have tried turbocharging throughout the years to achieve more power from small engines. Many have had success. Some have not. Saab perfected turbocharging, thanks to Per Gillbrand. Saab has done more to adapt turbocharging to family cars than any other manufacturer.
Gillbrand had a simple explanation for his commitment to turbocharging: “All engines have an oil pump, a fuel pump and a water pump. So why not an air pump, which is all a turbo really is? I think it’s odd that all engines don’t have one.”
Turbocharging had its skeptics in 1977, because early attempts at controlling boost pressure had revealed severe reliability issues that discouraged manufacturers. Gillbrand and other Saab engineers came up with a bypass valve to control boost pressure buildup. Fitting this turbo to the Saab 99 gave it 23 percent more maximum horsepower and a 45 percent increase in torque, which is the engine’s pulling power under acceleration.
Recently, a month ago, this engine genius in Stockholm held his own engine show – must see:
Another Gillbrand demonstration: