How One Man Was Able To Make A Saab 9-5 SportCombi Prototype Road Legal7
When Saab officially went under, the brand was in the midst of a magnificent turnaround. New products like the Saab 9-5 and 9-4X were being well received and looked good to boot.
However, the 9-5 SportCombi would remain forbidden fruit for North America. In fact, the only prototypes remained in Europe in the hands of Saab. But, the time came to let them go.
Michel Annink, an avid Saab enthusiast (like one of our own here at GM Authority), told his story to Jalopnik of how he was able to successfully bid for and purchase a 9-5 SportCombi prototype. Not only that, but he was able to make it road legal.
We seriously encourage you to read his story at the link above, but we’ll provide a condensed version here.
Basically, since the vehicle was a prototype and never deemed for road usage, the 9-5 SportCombi wasn’t going to be seeing the roads of any European Union road anytime soon. Saab was never able to provide the proper documentation to even give officials a starting point to make the vehicle road legal, including the lack of a “Certificate of Conformity.”
However, through the help of the Saab community and dedicated searching for paperwork, Germany granted the vehicle’s roadworthiness. That meant making it street legal in Sweden would be simple. Except it was not. Not at all.
Annink took the battle through courts and appealed Germany’s approval of the vehicle after Swedish officials struck it down. Long story short, the 9-5 SportCombi is road legal today.
It’s a daring story to challenge the odds of bureaucratic red tape. Not only that, but Annink now has a true rarity to drive.
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In fact there was one NG 9-5 Combi in the United States at the time of Saab’s bankruptcy, a European prototype shepherded by John Libbos. The styling is a little awkward around the C pillar as (unlike the old generation 9-5) the sedan’s rear doors were used.
Plans were for the USA version of the Combi to be limited to the Turbo 4 with AWD and Hyperstrut front suspension, a combination we had not seen in the sedan. Seems like the Buick Tourx might be cast in the same mold.
Yes my book “On a Global Mission: The Automobiles of General Motors International, Volume 1” shows a photo taken by Thor Carlson of this 9-5 SportWagon in the US on page 546.
Thor Carlson is one of the finest amateur photographers I know.
Three year olds, really guys? I know news is slow during the end of the year, but this was a high profile story… three years ago. At least put a TBT/Throwback on it.
You must be bored out of your mind to resurrect this three year old thing like it’s all hot and important again.
That’s all jalopnik did the other day. Nothing but old posts about Saab.
It’s nice that you write about it, it’s helpful.