Saab History

Saab Turbo 16 with Saab Direct Ignition (SDI)

Saab B202 engine with Saab Direct Ignition module

A flash from the past – the Saab Turbo 16 with Saab Direct Ignition (SDI) from 1985.

The engine could release of a burst of sparks to burn away moisture on the spark plug electrodes if the engine fails to start first time from cold – a flash indeed.

Sometimes we all need a little reminder – Saab Direct Ignition is a capacitor discharge ignition system developed by Saab Automobile, then known as Saab-Scania, and Mecel AB during the 1980s. It was first shown in 1985 and put into series production in the Saab 9000 in 1988. This system has been revised several times over the years.

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Engine builder John Nicholson also developed a Formula 3 engine from the B202, for use in a Reynard 853 chassis. This version one of the first to use Saab’s direct ignition system (SDI) and produced 165 HP (121 kW) at 5600 rpm.

Saab SDI Turbo 16 engine
Saab SDI Turbo 16 engine

The year 1984 saw the introduction of the 16-valve DOHC B202 engine in Europe. With a turbocharger and intercooler, it could produce 175 hp/129 kW in the Turbo 16 model (less for catalyst-equipped engines). The Turbo 16 Aero [designated SPG, Special Performance Group in North American Markets] had a body kit allowing the car to reach 210 km/h (130 mph).

Saab 16-valve engine with the Direct Ignition (DI) system from 1987
Saab 16-valve engine with the Direct Ignition (DI) system from 1987

This style of DI cassette never made it into production, instead the valve cover was changed to the Saab 900 OG sloped style cover and the cassette modified to fit.

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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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