Automotive production

How an Aircraft Manufacturer Created a Popular Car

This is about the SAAB 92 that was first put into production in December 1949 and was widely known at the time.

After World War II, Svenska Aeroplan AB (SAAB), an aircraft company, when demand for its products became declining, engaged in the production of passenger cars without stopping to build airplanes.

So, it is not by chance that an airplane was featured on the emblem of SAAB cars. However, the company has never produced similar twin-engine machines with a fuselage as narrow as that of a bomber.

Due to the fact that SAAB names from 1 to 89 were assigned to combat aircraft, and 90 and 91 to the SAAB 90 Scandia transport aircraft and the SAAB 91 Safir training aircraft, the first car was named ‘SAAB 92’.

The work on it began in the fall of 1945 under the leadership of Gunnar Lungström. The first prototype vehicles were produced.

It is interesting that all the firstborns were of dark green protective color: thrifty Swedes did not let the remnants of the paint intended for military aircraft go to waste.

Aviation kinship also affected the appearance of the car. The supporting body of the streamlined shape, which was developed by an industrial designer Sixten Sason, had a very low frontal drag coefficient of Сх – 0,30, although it reached 0.45 in most cars at that time.

As for the mechanical part, the car was front-wheel drive, with a transversely located two-cylinder two-stroke engine. Structurally, it was similar to DKW liquid-cooled engines and delivered 25 horsepower with a working volume of 764 cubic centimeters.

The gearbox was three-speed, while the first gear was unsynchronized. The suspension of all wheels was made independent and spring. The SAAB 92 reached a speed of 105 km/h (65 mph).

Two weeks after the start of production, the company’s chief engineer, Rolf Mende, took part in the Swedish Rally with such a car. And it won second place in its class. It was a good beginning, and SAAB vehicles went on to win a number of competitions.

In 1952, a modernized model appeared – SAAB 92B (upper image). If earlier access to the trunk was possible only from the inside, now it has received an external cover and at the same time, its useful volume has increased. In addition, a large rear window appeared on the car.

1951 SAAB 92
1951 SAAB 92 Interior
SAAB 92 engine compartment
SAAB 92 Engine Compartment
SAAB 92 Rear
SAAB 92 Rear

Later, in 1954, the engine was fitted with a new Solex carburetor and a new ignition coil – and its power increased to 28 hp. The following year, an electric fuel pump and square lights in the rear wings appeared.

In December 1955, the plant began production of a more advanced model – the SAAB 93. But the 92 remained on the assembly line until the beginning of 1957. A total of 20,128 SAAB 92 cars were produced.

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