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Iconic Saab 900 convertible turns 25

Fri, 13 May 2011

In happier Saab news, the iconic Saab 900 convertible is a quarter of a century old this year, having made its U.S. debut in 1986.

The 900 convertible played a key role in expanding the drop-top segment from a tiny niche in the market 25 years ago to its current . . . small niche.

Just three generations after the first car was delivered, almost 300,000 Saab convertibles have been sold around the world, and the Scandinavian drop-top marks the brand’s global icon.

The Saab convertible has comprised up to 50 percent of total sales for the segment in European markets with milder weather, like the United Kingdom.

Saab sold 48,894 copies of its first-generation convertibles, from model year 1986 through 1993. It sold 149,145 copies of second-generation cars, from model year 1994 through 2002, and 99,535 units of the third-generation convertible to date, available since 2003.

Some fun facts about the Saab 900/9-3 convertible:

-- There are six swiveling crossbraces in the soft top to ensure minimum sagging and tight stretch in the raised position.

-- It takes 20 seconds to fully deploy the top with the engine running.

-- The ideal back-rest inclination for rear-passenger comfort is 21 degrees, which was a requirement for the 9-3 convertible.

-- The top can be raised at speeds of up to about 18 mph.

-- To check weatherproofing, roughly 396 gallons of water are sprayed over the convertible’s soft top in a special chamber.

-- The latest Saab 9-3 convertible is most sought after in the colors black, steel gray or silver.

Also see our review of the 2011 Saab 9-4X.

By Michelle Koueiter