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