On this day in auto history - January 16th

Sat 16th Jan 2021

It was on this day in 1950 that the Swedish manufacturer Saab began delivering its first cars, five years after its automobile division had been created.

Renowned as an aerospace company, Saab’s first car production was the Saab 92 which was noted for its aerodynamic design and three-gear transmission. Top speed was a modest 65mph and all models were painted in a dark green colour, apparently because Saab had a surplus of green paint from its wartime production of airplanes.

Having made steady progress throughout the 1950’s, particularly with the unusually-styled Saab 96 which became its first model to be widely exported out of Sweden, Saab strengthened in the 1960’s through its merger with Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania-Vabis.

By 1976 one million Saab's had been produced and two years later it unveiled its best-selling vehicle ever - the iconic Saab 900 - which could go on to sell almost one million models in a 20 year production run.

The success of the 900 model saw General Motors acquire a significant stake in 1989 but, after taking full control in 1999, the acquisition was to turn sour amid dwindling sales and the Saab brand was formally wound down in 2010.