Saabs were front-drivers when every American car had rear drive. Their two-stroke, three-cylinder engines sounded like popcorn machines, while other cars were muffled into silence. The first Saab car, the 1950 model 92, was built around an aerodynamically slick unibody. It rode on an all-independent torsion bar suspension and used something called rack-and-pinion steering. It was impossible to over-rev a Saab’s engine because it ran out of power before the redline. So you just threw your boot at the accelerator pedal and shifted up until there was evidence of forward momentum. All that unconventional engineering led to good fuel economy: Saabs got better than 9,5 litres/100 km.
Leno’s Saab is a 1958 model 93B. It doesn’t have the key on the floor like later Saabs, but this was the first year for the one-piece front windscreen, and the doors are hinged at the back, suicide style. With a 750 cm³ engine making about 25 kW, it’s not fast. But you can go 120 km/h down the road with four people in it. Leno is most fascinated with the water pump that’s located on the back end of the generator. Watch the video to take a closer look at Leno’s Saab…
Read more about the brand in the PM’s September 2012 issue – on sale on 20 August.
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