The 30-year-old Saab 900 Turbo Won an Oscar

Oscar for Saab 900

As many film and film experts have suggested, the Japanese movie “Drive My Car“, which won the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes, won the first Japanese Oscar for Best Picture, with a 30-year-old red Saab 900 Turbo in one of the supporting ( major) roles.

Based on famous short story

“Drive My Car” is the Japanese film from 2021 that has united film critics around the world and recommended it to viewers. After the film was nominated for an Oscar in four categories, including the one for best movie, the spotlight is now on one of the film’s more unpredictable supporting actors – a red Saab 900 Turbo with thirty years on its neck.

Continue reading after the ad

For those who have not heard,, “Drive My Car” is based on a short story of the same name written by the famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

Most of the key scenes in the film take place in a red Saab 900, so even such a small gesture as moving from the back to the passenger seat takes on symbolic weight and speaks to the dynamics between the characters.
Most of the key scenes in the film take place in a red Saab 900, so even such a small gesture as moving from the back to the passenger seat takes on symbolic weight and speaks to the dynamics between the characters.

Road-Movie Drama

In the film directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who also wrote the script, we get to follow the famous actor and director Yusuke Kafuku, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima, in his mourning work after his wife’s unexpected death.

"Drive my car" movie poster
“Drive my car”

To dispel thoughts, Kafuku jumps on a job offer as a director for a stage production of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” in Hiroshima. Here he is introduced to Misaki Watari, played by Toko Miura. A young, quiet woman who has been commissioned by the production to act as driver for the famous actor in his red Saab 900.

Continue reading after the ad

It will be the prelude to an emotional journey where the main character Kafuku is forced to face his demons from the past. Also a road movie about love, loss and forgiveness.

The Best International Feature Film

A recipe for success that has so far won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, including the one for best screenplay. The film has also topped a number of critics’ lists and won a BAFTA for best foreign film. Prior to the Oscars on March 27 this year, there was a chance to win as many as four Oscars, including a prestigious statuette for Best Picture of the Year, which would be the first in Japan. Still, there weren’t four Oscars, but one – but worth it – Japanese drama “Drive My Car ” won the Academy Award on Sunday for best international feature film.

So how did a thirty-year-old Saab 900 become part of an award-winning film project?

When CNN asks the question to the Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, he describes the choice of the red Saab as instinctive. Over thirty years old and in perfect condition, the car simply appeared to be perfect.

Continue reading after the ad

This despite the fact that the car in Haruki Murakami’s original short story was actually a yellow Saab convertible. Something that the director had already written off because a convertible makes sound recording more difficult, writes CNN.

It was when an employee whose task was to produce the film’s vehicle appeared on the set with his private red Saab that the pieces fell into place and Hamaguchi decided. “It almost feels like the best casting I’ve ever done,Hamaguchi told CNN.

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.


  • I’m wondering why this 900 SPG has a TURBO badges on the side of the hood.
    I was under the impression that all SPGs DID NOT have a marking or badges to identify it as a SPG ( Special Performance Group) model? Can someone give some clarification?

    • I had an ‘87 SPG. There shouldn’t be any badging other than the blue Saab griffen roundels. It has the SPG wheels, side panels and ride height, but I don’t remember any SPGs with automatic transmission. Still makes me miss mine though!

  • I have a 1992 900 convertible that we’ve decided to throw about 5 grand into in to order fix it up (needs everything: new convert .motor, ball joints, exhaust, steering, tires, roof latches, etc) still looks new and runs great! Cheaper than buying a new car! I’ve had this car for 23 years now and never let me down.

Leave a Reply