Saab History

Saab’s Pioneering 99 Turbo on a 3,500-kilometer Journey

saab 99 turbo

Although it is less known, the British engineer Geoff Kershaw made a considerable contribution to the Saab company in the seventies of the last century being among the first to adopt the successful integration of turbochargers in its engines.

After completing mechanical engineering at Queen Mary College, University of London, Geoff continued his training in the Rolls-Royce Aero Engines department, and later in 1974 he joined Garrett AiResearch, where he assumed technical and sales responsibility for their Scandinavian customers.

Today, a very well-known company in the world of turbochargers, the Garrett company was at the beginning and quite unknown. However, thanks to Geoff’s involvement, the Garrett company became the first supplier of turbochargers for Volvo and Scania. After this, it can be said that Geoff, thanks to his dedication, contributed to the success of Saab as one of the first successful turbocharger integrators.

Just at the time when Geoff joined the Garrett company, Saab was working on the T3 project, which was behind the turbo version of their 2.0L engine in the body of the Saab 99. Geoff, as the representative of the Garrett company, focused on cooperation with Saab for the next four years, which resulted in the worldwide get to know the Saab 99 Turbo 1978.

When the Saab 99 Turbo went into production and sales worldwide in 1978, Geoff as someone who was actively working on the 99 Turbo project got the opportunity to buy one of the two test Saab 99 cars. It is interesting that Geoff still owns that car, and that before this year’s Saab Festival in Trollhattan, he completely restored it and drove to the festival with that legendary test specimen.

Unfortunately for him, that test model Saab 99 Turbo Geoff only drove for about three years, because he had bad luck with the gearbox. Because of this, Geoff parked the car in the garage, and in the garage the car spent the next 42 years.

Geoff Kershaw - founder of Turbo Technics
Geoff Kershaw – founder of Turbo Technics – next to his Saab 99 in a central position in the Saab Museum during the festival

Again thanks to his persistence and dedication, Geoff (the founder of Turbo Technics, company specialized in turbo chargers) decided to bring the legendary 99 Turbo “back from the dead” and then bring it to this year’s SAAB 75th Anniversary in Trollhättan. Although the car is quite a few years old, and was only recently restored, Geoff managed to bring the car to the Saab festival event without any problems, covering almost 3500 km, where it took center stage in the SAAB museum and aroused the great interest of a large number of festival participants.

Geoff and his Saab 99 Turbo
Geoff and his Saab 99 Turbo

As Geoff himself testified, apart from a couple of minor problems, the car served him flawlessly and he claims that it is still very pleasant to drive even over long distances despite its age and 170,000 on the clock.

As most Saab connoisseurs know, the 99 Turbo model was a kind of turning point in the development of Saab, which determined the future of the company. And due to the successful integration of turbo charging into the passenger car segment, it is generally considered to be the first series-produced turbo car.

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