Turbocharging didn't start with passenger cars, but by the 1980s nearly every automaker was building cars with that telltale nautilus under the hood. Still, what car's picture should accompany "turbocharger" in the dictionary? What's the most iconic turbocharged car?
In its June 2011 issue, Evo magazine worked up a lengthy feature on the "Cult of the Turbo," focusing on the highest forms of turbocharged vehicular life. But while there are several obvious answers (actually, hundreds) to which car should represent the turbocharger in car culture, one car had the greatest affect on the public perception of turbocharging. That's the Saab 99/900 Turbo. Why, you ask? Indeed, the Saab turbo wasn't the first, or even the best selling of turbocharged vehicles. But if we're talking about influence, it was the Swedes' little rally homologation exercise in 1978 that made turbochargers accessible to the masses (at least the moderately well-heeled ones). Suddenly, turbos were being driven by those who couldn't tell Stig Blomqvist from Stig of the Dump. And the rest, as they say, is history.
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