Since it was primarily an aircraft manufacturer, it was inevitable – and absolutely normal – that Saab cars would be inspired by planes, both in their exterior, aerodynamically pleasing shapes but also in their highly functional and expertly designed interiors, particularly dashboards. While it was not a high-performance car, the 1959 Saab 95 was an exceptional car in many ways, integrating innovations in design that would not be seen for decades, and paving the way for Saab to become a respected, if relatively small automobile manufacturer. The 95 was a station wagon, or ‘estate’ model, available with either 3 or 5 doors, and featured an extra row of rear-facing seats at the back, designed for children.
In terms of performance, it is unfortunate to say that the Saab 95 was a true representative of small, budget-minded cars of that era, meaning that its performance was appalling. Its 841cc, three-cylinder engine produced a paltry but unsurprising 38 horsepower; the Saab 95 could reach a top speed of 75 miles an hour (I suspect downhill and with the wind at its back), and accelerate to 60 in a yawn-inducing 47 seconds. No rush.
Performance, however, was not the name of the game. The 1959 Saab 95 survived, essentially unchanged in design, until 1979, an incredible achievement, and buyers appreciated its versatility and durability.