Saab always built unusual and perhaps even idiosyncratic cars, but it was also anchored by a sense of rationality. Sure, it put keys in weird places and used unconventional drivetrains (two-stroke threes, V4s, and longitudinal front-drivers) but it always had good, rational reasons for doing so. That’s what makes this Saab 906 Turbo custom car so amazing—it’s a Saab, freed from rational thought.
Saab never actually made a 900 Turbo wagon, and it sure as hell never made anything with six wheels (well, maybe there was some airplane that had six wheels on its landing gear or something) and it also never made anything this, um, exuberant.
The person behind it all was Leif Mellberg, a guy who ran a shop building custom cars and someone who would later work with Saab in an official capacity. Mellberg was the person responsible for building Saab’s 900-based concept car, the Saab EV-1 in 1985, one year after the 906 Turbo, so Saab must have been impressed.
You really should see this ‘80s-tastic video about the EV-1:
But let’s get back to the genuinely bonkers 906 Turbo. It’s not exactly clear why Mellberg wanted to build a hexaped gigantic Saab wagon; perhaps the lack of a true wagon for the 900 bothered him enough that he felt drastic action was needed?
Whatever the reason, Mellberg took a 1981 Saab 900 GLS four-door hatchback and grafted on a solid two feet more car behind the C-pillar, resulting in a beast that was over 17 feet long. To accomodate all the extra mass at the rear, another axle was fitted.
Inside, he crammed everything he could from whatever the mid-’80s Swedish equivalent of a Sharper Image catalog would have been: a television, driving computer, radar detector, small refrigerator, some sort of heater cabinet, 16 speakers, and probably a bunch of ashtrays and lighters and pockets for copies of Interview or Spy magazine or whatever was worth reading at the time.
The whole glitter-beige stripey mass seems to have used the same FWD drivetrain of the stock 900 Turbo, which made about 143 horsepower, impressive for an early ‘80s hatchback but probably a bit sluggish when forced to pull around 17 feet of Swedish sex lounge.
Still, I can’t help but love this insane Swede; it’s all Saab quirkiness finally unfettered, and the result is as dazzlingly weird as you’d hope. Sadly, the 906 Turbo seems to have met its end, post-paintjob, as the meat in an Escort/VW Polo sandwich in a Varberg, Sweden junkyard:
A sad end for something so majestic. Perhaps this world just wasn’t ready for a massive six-wheeled Saab wagon full of gadgets. Perhaps we never will be.