GM’s Swedish arm Saab is celebrating 60 years of car-making this summer
. The first vehicle, the “Ur-Saab” (pictured), was revealed to the automotive world on June 10, 1947 in a staff canteen at the aircraft company’s Linköping headquarters.
To mark the start of the celebrations
Saab has published a list of 60 things you didn’t know about the premium brand. Here’s our pick of them…
* Saab once considered going into boat-building instead of cars. In 1944, as war was drawing to a close, the aircraft maker was looking to diversify into other products during peacetime. A number of aluminum-hulled boats, including some with hydrofoils in the bows, were built. In the end automobiles were considered a better bet.
* It was back pain suffered by a senior Saab executive that prompted the development of the heated driver’s seat, an innovation from Saab in 1971. The pain was particularly bad on cold, frosty mornings and a colleague devised a means of heating the driver’s seat to minimize the discomfort.
* Rather like the first Model T Ford, you could have an early Saab 92 in any color you liked – as long as it was bottle green. The paint was readily available in surplus army supplies left over from the war. Saab did not offer a color choice until 1952.
* Jack Nicholson (As Good As It Gets
), Matt Damon (The Bourne Supremacy
), Richard Gere (Final Analysis
), Paul Giamatti (Sideways
), Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld
) and Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama
) have all appeared in a Saab Convertible on screen.--Richard Yarrow