Genesis for the Swedish car manufacturer: the Saab 92001 is our Car of the Week.
Imagine the scene: World War II is coming to a close, and Sweden no longer has a need for warplanes. This means Saab, a warplane manufacturer at the time, was in some deep trouble. They needed to diversify, fast. In 1945, 20 people were put in charge of project code XP92, a small affordable car that was to be front-wheel-drive, very aerodynamic, and very light.
Saab engineers had no experience whatsoever in building cars, but nevertheless they soldiered on, procured themselves an Opel Kadett, DKW, and a VW, and got to work.
The first engine in the 92001, an 18 horsepower 2-stroke, was taken from a DKW, but a similar engine was later built from the ground up by Saab. It proved to be a success. Saab tested the car night and day in some of the most adverse conditions the Swedish countryside could offer. It is estimated that over 500,000 km were traveled in between the 3 project models. Despite that, the 92001 is in running order more than half a century later.
In 1947, the 92001 received some minor changes to form the 92002, and was finally revealed to the public. Two years later, it evolved into the 92 production car.
The 92001’s styling and two-stroke power was kept alive in some way or another until the Saab 96’s demise in 1980, when the 99 took over with more conventional styling and an inline-four engine.
A pioneer into a strange and unknown work, the 92001 is our latest Car of the Week.
Image 2 Credits: Wikimedia Commons