One man and his Saab dream – Sixten Sason

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I thought it time for a little Saab history lesson, and for those of you that know almost everything there is to know about Saab I apologise, but I know there are a great many fans out there new to Saab that will find what I have written about the visionary that was Sixen Sason both informative and also interesting.

Sixten Sason was a techniical illustrator for Saab during and after world war two, and as most of you know was responsible for the shape of Saab’s first car, the 92.  Sixton Sason sadly died at a the very young age of 57, but what he achieved during his relatively short life was quite incredible and he played a very key role in the early years of Saab Automobile helping to establish a new car brand in the years following world war two.

Examples of his work could be seen in the early 1980s at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London displayed within the ‘Boilerhouse project’ the brainchild of Terence Conran who established the Conran foundation, an independent charity to make design ideas more available to students and the general public.

It was called the Boilerhouse project because the exhibition was situated in the old Boilerhouse yard of the V& A.

Sixten Sason was born on the 12th March 1912 in western Sweden, and during his teens trained as a pilot. Eventually, he became a freelance designer and illustrator for Saab aviation. It is said that one day, carrying a bundle of drawings, Sixten walked into the office of Gunner Ljungstrom, who was an engineer designing the Saab 92. The Saab 92 was the first car to be built as an all-Swedish concept using aviation principles and techniques. Sixten had visionary ideas of what the car should look like. It was both an intuitive and aerodynamic success. So much so that wind tunnel tests showed the Saab 92 had a very low drag coefficient of 0.32; almost unbelievable for the time.

Again, we all know the first 92s were painted green and produced in the factory at Trollhattan. After the 92 and 93, the 95 estate car appeared, and Sixten’s name was first mentioned in advertising brochures for America. By 1958, Gunner Ljungstrom and Sixten Sason had already made their decision on the next generation of Saab cars, and in 1969, the 99 was unveiled to the media. Sadly due to Sixten Sason’s untimely death the same year, Sixten never got to see his Saab 99 design come to the market.

Who knows what could have been if Sixten Sason had lived longer? But we can take comfort in the fact that a great many of us own and drive a car created through one man’s dreams, vision and design.

Sixten Sason 1912 – 1969.


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