In 1949 on this day in automotive history, a Swedish company by the name Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget debuted the first motorcar. This same company changed its name in the 60s to Saab Aktiebolag, and then later to the easier and recognizable Saab.

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Saab’s factory was built in Trollhattan, Sweden, in 1938 and was not initially in the automobile manufacturing game. It had spent its first years modernizing production of aircraft.

On September 1, 1939 war broke out (eventually turning into World War II) and the Royal Swedish Air Force was in need of planes. Saab took the request because of previous experience and produced copies of American and German designed bomber and fighter jets for the Air Force.

In 1941 Saab created its first in-house designed airplane, the Saab 17, and then the bomber, Saab 18.

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The Saab 17

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The Saab Bomber 18

After the beginnings of the end of Word War II in 1944, Saab began its work on nonmilitary aircraft. “Project 92” commenced and Saab produced the full-scale Saab 92 in December of 1949. Approximately 700 were manufactured with a two-cylinder, transversely mounted ahead of the front axle, engine.

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The Saab 92

The Saab 92 was designed with fighter plane precision.

When the then President of Saab, Tryggve Holm, visited the United States in 1955, he made the comment, “If Volkswagen could sell the Beetle in the U.S. why not sell the Saab 93.”

And the rest is history. Saab gained popularity in the United States with the Saab 9000.

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The Saab 9000

Saab is now known for producing safe and reliable vehicles.

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