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December 16, 1949 – Saab’s first car

Saab’s first production passenger car, the 92, began rolling out of the Trollhättan Assembly plant on this day in 1949, four days after the line started to move. Originally an airplane manufacturer, Saab began its automotive branch in 1945 when engineers initiated work on a prototype, known as the Ursaab, or original Saab, designed by Sixten Sason. As could be expected from an airplane company, the 92, like the Ursaab, was extremely aerodynamic. Thanks to the reduced drag. its small 25hp engine could move the Saab at approximately 105 kilometers per hour (65 mph) when pushing the three speed to its limits.

A unique aspect of the 92 was that it had a body made of a single piece of stamped sheet metal, which was then cut to accommodate doors and windows. More than likely, this body was then painted a dark green color. Due to a surplus amount of green paint held by the company from wartime aircraft production, nearly all early 92s were painted this color. By the end of 1950, only 700 had been produced, but the 92 was quickly proving successful on European rally courses.

Ursaab — Original Saab — on display.

Just two weeks after production began, Saab’s head engineer, Rolf Mellde, entered the car in the Swedish Rally and achieved a second place finish in his class. In 1952 Greta Molander won the ‘Coupe des Dames’ of the Monte Carlo Rally in a 92 that had been tuned to 35 horsepower. By the time Saab’s second model, the 93, was introduced in 1955, more than 20,000 of the 92s were completed.

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