Saab introduced the last generation of the 900 lineup in 1994 and made the car available with a canvas roof for those who enjoyed driving with a clear sky above them.
General Motors owned the Swedish automaker in those times, but Saab was not an excellent asset in profitability. But GM needed a premium brand on the European continent, and the Germans from Opel were not fit for that. And, like any other premium brand, it had to offer a drop-top version. Just like its sedan and coupe stablemates, the Cabrio was built on top of the same platform that supported the Opel Vectra.
The aerodynamic look of the car was linked to the carmaker's heritage in the aircraft industry. It featured that slim front fascia with a grille that resembled an aircraft flanked by two side intakes. The thick front A-pillars also served as safety arches protecting the occupants during a roll-over crash. In the back, the short deck also hosted the storage area for the canvas roof when that was retracted.
Inside the cabin, Saab installed a pair of high-bolstered seats at the front and a bench in the back. Since this was pushed forward to make room for the ragtop, the legroom was limited. So it's safe to say it was mostly a two-passenger vehicle, with some storage area behind the front occupants. Still, the Swedish engineers created a unique-looking dashboard, with the center stack incorporated into the same big dashboard element that also hosted the instrument cluster. As usual, the ignition was between the front seats, next to the hand brake and the gearstick.
Under the hood, Saab installed a choice of three inline-four engines developed by the Swedish brand and a 2.5-liter V-6 carried over from General Motors.
Saab introduced a new generation for the 900 lineup in 1978, but since the snow is more present in Sweden than the sun, the carmaker didn't bother to make an open-top version for it.
But the carmaker tried to export the car to other countries, and it was quite successful. When it sent the car to the U.S. market, the customers were stunned by the turbocharged engines. But all premium carmakers offered a rag-top version for their coupes, while Saab didn't. The U.S. importer suggested to the carmaker that it should offer one to increase the sales. There were a few offers from custom coachbuilders, but the Swedish carmaker was not pleased by their results. It ended up by asking its design department to create one, and the result was far better. Last but not least, Saab produced the car at Valmet Automotive just across the border in Finland.
Saab unveiled the 900 Cabrio in 1986, and it looked special. The front of the car kept the same front fascia with rectangular headlights. It's steep but curved on the sides, and the windshield was inspired by former Saab fighter jets. A black rubber spoiler adorned its sloped trunk and the power-operated roof featured two layers for better sound and temperature insulation.
Inside, Saab kept the same interior from the two-door coupe, from which the Cabrio was derived. Its dashboard designed around the driver enhanced the driving experience. Since the car was based on the two-door coupe version, not on the three-door hatchback, the car could retract the rag-top behind the rear seats completely. Thus, it provided adequate legroom for the rear passengers. It was not a car just for two.
Under the hood, Saab used its special, turbocharged gasoline engines that offered up to 175 hp. It paired them with either a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.