Saab Celebrates 25 Years of Open-Air Motoring

From the harshest Scandinavian winters to cruising with the wind in your hair in 70 degree beach weather, the Saab convertible has been one of the most iconic drop-tops in automotive history. The embattled Swedish automaker, which needs something to celebrate these days, is highlighting its convertible’s unique 25-year history as it continues to assert itself as an independent company.

What started out as a topless 900 concept at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show became a sensation when it went into production in 1986 (as a 1987 model). European customers waited as much as a year to get one. The story was much the same in the U.S., with numerous pre-orders from eager Saab fanatics looking to score the first cars.

The “four season, four-seater” 900 stood apart from other convertibles in its day, boasting smoother lines while offering an overall practicality and all-season ability most other drop-tops of the era couldn’t match.

Since the initial 900 ‘Vert debuted, Saab has sold more than 300,000 convertibles around the world, with some 100,000 of those being the third-generation, 9-3 Convertible which debuted in 2003. The company still holds true to its roots and has stuck with a powered soft-top, which has now become the fastest-acting in the premium convertible segment according to Saab, fully deploying in just 20 seconds. Also making the Saab soft-top unique are 11 manual heat settings that replace the climate control when the top is retracted.

It wouldn’t be celebration without a special edition model, and for the 25th anniversary, Saab has added a new 9-3 Convertible trim level called the Independence Edition. Building on the top-level Aero trim, the Independence Edition is glazed with an amber orange metallic paint, matching orange interior stitching and accents in the interior, and five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. Only 366 (one for each day that the company has been separated from GM) will be sold.

The 2012 9-3 will continue to be available in sedan, SportCombi wagon, convertible, and 9-3x body styles. Hopefully now that Saab’s finances appear to be shaping up, we’re betting the next-generation 9-3 convertible will be better than ever.

Source: Saab