A moment of silence, please, for Saab Automotible. The venerable Swedish brand officially expired today, December 19th, 2011, when the company filed for bankruptcy. The car maker’s exact age depends on how you measure its start, but if you count from the year it first began working on a car, it was 68 years old.
Saab Automobile will be remembered as a creator of small, sleekly-designed coupes that found success in rallying, such as the Saab 92; as a builder of quirky, console-mounted key slot-equipped hatchbacks like the 900 and 9000 that became popular among yuppie New Englanders graduating from Subarus ; and, sadly, in later years as the manufacturer of rebodied Subarus and General Motors SUVs like the 9-2X and the 9-7X.
As enthusiasts, we choose to remember Saab not as a manufacturer that got forgotten, diluted and led astray by GM, but as the company that gave their cars slippery designs in an era when blockier shapes were in vogue. We choose to remember them as one of the automakers who popularized the turbocharger in road cars. We choose to remember them as the company that produced the Saab PhoeniX concept car, one of the sexiest concept vehicles of the last few years. We choose to remember it as the brand that not one but two niche sports car builders—Spyker and Koenigsegg—were interested in buying.
It is survived by its current owner, Swedish Automobiles—formerly known as SpykerCars—as well as its former owner General Motors. Goodbye, sweet Saab. We’ll keep hoping for a resurrection. [via Wall Street Journal]
Pictured: Saab PhoeniX