To Celebrate Saab’s Bizarre History, Clarkson And May Must Drop An E30 BMW From A Crane

Welcome to Sunday Matinee, where we highlight classic car reviews or other longer videos I find on YouTube. Kick back and enjoy this blast from the past.

Okay, now Sunday Matinee is back to doing Top Gear clips. I don't think you mind. I have yet to meet a Jalopnik reader who doesn't care for the antics of our car-loving pals from across the pond. And I have a pretty interesting clip in store for you today.

You don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone, as the old saying goes. When we lost Saab to the Carpocalypse, we lost one of the strangest and most unique car companies that ever engaged in mass production. Even after their wares were arguably watered down a bit after being bought by GM, Saab always stubbornly marched to the beat of their own drummer.


In this clip from the most reason season of Top Gear (the one that's not on streaming Netflix yet, which is total poop), Jeremy Clarkson and James May decide they're sad about Saab's death — but they aren't sure why.

To try and find out they accomplish a number of tasks, including driving the original, two-stroke, movie monster face-having Saab 92; tracing the brand's roots in aircraft manufacturing; looking at some of Saab's doofy old "inspired by jets" TV ads; and showing an old TG segment featuring the joystick-controlled Saab Prometheus.

But then things get good when they take a crack at the raucous and lust worthy 99 Turbo, the car Clarkson describes as Saab's first big real hit, their Dark Side of the Moon. Then they trace the evolution of the next few Saabs over the years, including the 9000, 900 and 9-3, cars the company always fought to make drastically better than the lesser vehicles they were based on.

The highlight of the segment comes when they show off Saab's characteristically Swedish commitment to safety by suspending an E30 BMW from a crane and dropping it to the ground, then doing the same thing with the Saab 900. The difference in damage to the two cars is dramatic — the Bimmer's a pancake, but and someone could crawl out of the Saab. (However, as James May notes, "If you were Richard Hammond you'd be fine" in the BMW.)


But Saab was never all that great at making money, Clarkson and May tell us. Eventually GM sold them off, and the new 9-5 wasn't enough to save them, relegating the world's architects to buying 5-Series Bimmers instead. It's a sad an unceremonious end to one of the coolest car companies of all time.

As always, enjoy this clip before the BBC pulls it down for copyright reasons, then tells Liam Neeson I kidnapped his family so he'll come to my house and punch me in the throat. I don't need that, you guys!


Tell us — what Saabs will you miss the most?

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Am I the only one who doesn't care for the E30? I just don't get the constant hard-on for them. It's not particularly attractive, it's not really fast, and it's not exactly fun to drive. Even in M3 guise. Although that is entirely in my opinion.

As far as Saab... Can't really think of any Saab I don't like. Besides the 9000 I think...