Saab 9000: A Legacy Unveiled at the Custom Motor Show

Discover the enduring spirit of Saab through the lens of the iconic 9000 model - from the pioneering Ecosport prototype to the legendary Long Run challenge

1986 Talladega Challenge: 25 drivers and one of the three Saab 9000 Turbo 16s that conquered 100,000km non-stop over 20 days at an average speed of 220km/h."

Celebrating Innovation and Endurance: The Saab 9000 Special Exhibition

As the automotive world continues to evolve, certain classics remind us of the innovation and daring that defined their eras. The Saab 9000, a model synonymous with engineering excellence and a pioneering spirit, celebrates its 40th anniversary in a spectacle of history and performance at the Custom Motor Show. This year, the show not only revisits the marvels of automotive design but also pays homage to a model that has carved its niche in the annals of car manufacturing.

The Custom Motor Show: A Confluence of Automotive Excellence

Since its inception in 1971 in Sweden, the Custom Motor Show has grown to be a cornerstone event for car enthusiasts and builders alike. Held in the expansive halls of Elmia in Jönköping, the show has been a catalyst for careers in car building and a source of inspiration for countless attendees.

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Custom Motor Show
Custom Motor Show

Managed by the adept hands of Hans-Ove “Hasse” Boberg, the event today stands as a testament to the passion and dedication that drive the automotive hobby. The show’s evolution from a collection of separate events into a singular, powerhouse exhibition demonstrates a successful synergy among automotive clubs and the enduring appeal of the automotive culture.

The Saab 9000: A Celebration of Four Decades

Marking its 40th anniversary, the Saab 9000 receives a special showcase at the Custom Motor Show, featuring a selection of five unique vehicles that highlight the model’s significance and versatility. Among these, the Saab 9000 Ecosporta prototype that heralded the development of the Saab 9000 CS Aero – takes a place of honor. Not seen in public for approximately a decade, its reappearance is a tribute to the collaboration between the Saab Cars Museum and Peter Bäckström, showcasing the enduring legacy and the innovative spirit of Saab.

The Saab 9000 Ecosport Prototype: A Glimpse Into the Future

The Saab 9000 Ecosport, revealed in the early 90s, served as a blueprint for what would become the CS Aero, marking a significant milestone in Saab’s history of automotive innovation. This prototype not only exemplified Saab’s commitment to performance and efficiency but also demonstrated the company’s foresight in design and technology. Its presence at the Custom Motor Show allows visitors a rare opportunity to explore a pivotal piece of automotive history, linking past ingenuity with future possibilities.

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Saab 9000 Ecosport Prototype
Saab 9000 Ecosport Prototype

The Long Run: Saab’s Testament to Durability

In the annals of automotive endurance tests, the Saab 9000’s participation in the “Long Run” project stands out.

TheLong Run” challenge, initiated on October 27, 1986, at the Talladega Speedway in Alabama, USA, served as a formidable testament to the Saab 9000’s durability. In this endurance test, three Saab 9000 Turbos, selected at random from the production line to underscore the reliability of standard models, were driven continuously over 100,000 km (approximately 62,000 miles) at an average speed of 132mph.

Precision and speed: The 32-man crew refueling a Saab 9000 and executing a full 20,000 KM service in just 2 minutes and 18 seconds, with driver swaps every two hours.
Precision and speed: The 32-man crew refueling a Saab 9000 and executing a full 20,000 KM service in just 2 minutes and 18 seconds, with driver swaps every two hours.

The challenge highlighted Saab’s innovative approach to demonstrating vehicle reliability, with the cars undergoing minimal modifications for safety. This grueling test pushed the vehicles to their limits, demonstrating the exceptional endurance and performance capabilities of the Saab 9000.

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Despite facing unexpected challenges, such as fuel starvation due to the steeply banked track, the Saab team quickly adapted, showcasing their engineering prowess. This minor hiccup, resolved by replacing affected components, was the only significant issue encountered, underlining the robustness of the Saab 9000.

Saab 9000 turbo in "the long run" project
Saab 9000 turbo in “the long run” project

The completion of the “Long Run” with minimal wear and no major damages set 21 international and 2 world records, affirming the Saab 9000’s legacy as a paragon of automotive durability and performance. This historical feat is commemorated at the Custom Motor Show, inviting visitors to witness a piece of Saab’s enduring legacy in engineering excellence.

Conclusion: A Journey Through Time and Innovation

The Custom Motor Show this year (29 March – 1 April 2024) offers more than just a display of automotive beauty and craftsmanship; it presents a journey through the history and heart of Saab’s innovation. From the pioneering Ecosport prototype to the endurance champion of the “Long Run,” visitors are invited to witness the legacy of a brand that dared to push the boundaries of what was possible.

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The Long Run / Saab 9000 Turbo
The Long Run / Saab 9000 Turbo

As the Saab 9000 celebrates four decades of influence and innovation, the show stands as a fitting tribute to the enduring spirit of Saab and the vibrant community that continues to cherish its contributions to the automotive world.

Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.

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