Saab 96, Aunt Cornely's car

ER Classics Desktop 2022

'Saab' naturally stands for: 'Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget'. Not a crazy name for a Swedish company that makes aircraft. After the peace broke out, the Swedes thought that there should also be money in the car corner. Their approach was to start making that from their aircraft engineering background. In Scandinavia, the automotive industry had very different criteria than the competition in the rest of the world. Once chosen models were cherished conservatively. But the evolution in the field of safety was constantly being modified. That did not result in the most swinging, modern, leading bodyworks, but in well-thought-out, solid and safe cars. Moreover, cars that last a long time. Cars that also achieved impressive rally successes due to good road holding and strong cage construction. That those successes also had a lot to do with me men who controlled the Saabs did not change that. The Saab 96 is another development of the earlier Saabs. 

Also interesting: The SAAB 96 "Special", unique Dutch anniversary edition from 1979

As a successor to the Saab 93F, Saab introduced the Saab 1960 in 96

The design of the Saab is 96 can also be traced directly to the very first prototype from 1946. However, a lot has changed technically. At the start of the ride, the new Saab has a two-stroke engine, but now it delivers 38 hp as standard. The weight has now risen to 813 kg. From 1962 the car gets standard seat belts. The Saab 1965 gets a facelift in 96 when a completely redesigned nose is introduced. And in that nose there is certainly more room for a new engine. In 1966, the 96 disc brakes. All this is a prelude to the big news that Saab comes with a four-stroke engine. However, that party would still have to wait until model year 1967.

Aunt Cornely was an internist

Well, actually, she was a former aunt. Aunt Cornely was extremely insightful and internist during her working life. And Saabriding fit in well with those kinds of professions. In the absence of a strong man in her life, she gave her Saabs the names of ancient Northern Viking gods. And she was the kind of customer for whom every garage thanked all the gods in all his prayers. Because if there was something that could happen or could come? Then it had to be sorted out immediately.

Aunt Cornely had decided that the trade-in point for her Saabs was 100.000 kilometers. After that the car usually ended up in the family or acquaintance circle. To then go a few more tons. After her retirement she held her last Saab. At the time of her death, a niece inherited it. With 387.000 kilometers on the clock. The niece has meanwhile let the counter run to 400.000 kilomter plus a little bit. And only now does the Saab retire. Aunt Cornely gave her cars the names of ancient Norse Gods ... The last one was called Njord.

So in 1969 it was time for 'Njord'. Always good to know: Njord is the husband of the giantess Skaði and father of Yngvi-Freyr and Freyja. According to the Heimskringla, their mother was Njord's own sister. His sister's name could also be Njord, according to a name reconstruction of a Suevic goddess, which was transliterated by Tacitus into Latin as “Nerthus” (= Njörðr). He resided in Nóatún (“Ship Town”). Njord is a god closely associated with fertility, just like the other Delusions in general.

Aunt Cornely traveled throughout Europe

But to her 1969 person Saab 96, "Njord." She had the best memories. With Njord, she came to the North Cape after a conference in Copenhagen. And in 1969 the road to the North Cape was still bad and deserted.

The Saab 96 was made from 1960 to 1980

He was the successor of the Saab 92, a car that was aerodynamically very indebted to Saab's aircraft construction. The 92 was a liquid-cooled 764 cc (DKW) two-stroke engine across the front. And there are still people who think that a Saab "with valves" is not a real Saab. But the two-stroke era was about to close. Around 1960 the advantages of the oil distillers no longer outweighed the disadvantages. Moreover, 'the environment' had been invented around that time. As a result, the unbridled growth of Schiphol, the Botlek and the agricultural sector never really got off the ground in the Netherlands.

Also interesting: Saab 96 2-stroke Short Nose, 1962

The four-stroke Saab 96

So four-stroke engines had to come under the compact noses of the Saabs. And that was a thing. Because there is a lot of room to house a four-cylinder? It wasn't there. Fortunately the competition brought a solution: In 1967 Ford Germany presented the Saab 96 96V4, the engine for the Ford Taunus V4 engine. That was a four-stroke engine with balance shaft of 1498 cc, and it was originally developed for the 1962 Ford Taunus 12M. The V4 engine where the connecting rods did not share crankshafts produced 55 hp (48 kW) and the car did 0-100 km / h in 16 seconds. The plastic distribution gear was susceptible to wear, but otherwise the small V4 was a prime example of reliability.

Rejected in the States

It was not an issue that the block ended up in a strange brand. Ford had thought it 'multi-purpose' for pumps, generators, agricultural machines and snow vehicles. In the States, the V4 was intended for the Ford Cardinal. But when that project was canceled, Ford started looking for other markets for the small V4s. Ford even went so far as to buy a pair of two-stroke Saab 96s to try on their newbie. After that attempt, Ford sold the cars including the V4 blocks back to Saab. In Trollhatan, Saab continued to test and develop and the Swedes had such a good feeling that the cars in the USA received at least a lifetime warranty with the first owner. As part of the retirement of two-stroke engines, the Mungas in the German army also received V4s to replace the oil sticks.

The two-stroke version remained available until 1968

In 1977 the V4 engine received a Solex register carburetor that increased the power to 65 hp. But the most important thing: the somewhat messy, grumpy running V4 was a very short-build engine. He fitted in the front. Problem solved. To keep costs down, the new Saab did keep the transmission from the old one. The gearbox initially had three gears, later a four-speed gearbox was added. To prevent lubrication problems in the two-stroke engine with the gas valve closed, for example when driving downhill, the bucket was equipped with a freewheel. This freewheel also remained present in the four-stroke engines and in the first series Saab 99.

De Saab 96 in the pictures is not Aunt Cornely's Saab. We found the car at Classic Park. But it is the car that would have been worthy of Aunt Cornely as a retired internist.


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