When you visit the Saab museum in Trollhättan, you’ll find a beautiful line-up of Saab engines. Some are coated with special colors, some are made to reveal their technology by cutting structurals. Most are probably built in the beginning of their era to show the newest engines made by Saab. I have no idea how many engines actually were built for show purposes, but at least one of them is not in Trollhättan. As you can see in the picture above, the sequence isn’t linear. There is a B Turbo, a T8 with intercooler, a T16 with intercooler, but a T8 sans intercooler is missing…
In 1982 the T8 engine without an intercooler was the hottest Saab engine on the market. One such engine was built for a special purpose: it was painted with special colors, attached to a gearbox, and the whole package was mounted on a firm stand made of stainless steel. There are no cut structures for demonstration purposes thus the engine and the gearbox are actually in unused condition and in theory ready to be fitted in a Saab 900. The engine was put on display in the entrance hall of Saab’s Nyköping site.
Later on – and I don’t know exactly when – the unexpected happened. A Saab employee, apparently a real enthusiast, managed to buy the engine from Saab. The lucky buyer stored the engine for many years, but after a long bargaining process it was finally sold to a Finnish enthusiast.
In 2017, the engine got a new owner, again. For three decades it had been moved from a warehouse to another, but now it has a clear destiny. A brand new turbo engine doesn’t belong in a warehouse. When did you last see a brand new H Turbo engine with a brand new gearbox? Probably not after 1994 when the last classic Saab 900 rolled out from the factory. And by the time you managed to have a look, the engines had already been started and the gears rotated...
Right now you’re probably thinking that an unused T8 power unit would make a perfect starting point for a 500 hp standing mile project. Since we’re in Finland, the Saab 90 – designed and built in Uusikaupunki – is quite naturally the most suitable body. I’m thrilled to announce that the resulting vehicle will be on display in IntSaab2021. Let’s hope the gearbox won’t blow before that.
Yes, I’m kidding.
The current owner values this piece of history, and it will remain a show engine in a private collection. The engine will be polished and a glass box will be built to protect it from enthusiastic fingers. It will be on display in IntSaab2021.