SAAB (Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget or Swedish Aircraft Company) was first registered back in 1937, and at the time its logo was not a griffin.
We previously dove into the history of Saab’s famed griffin logo, and now it’s time to check out the origins of its other logo: the “aeroplane” or jet.
When SAAB first took off, it shared its headquarters in Linköping with the aeronautical division of the Swedish Railroad Works Company. A few years after its inception, SAAB secured its position as the Swedish Air Force’s key plane supplier. One of the first planes was the SAAB 21, which was later converted to jet power as it became the first in SAAB’s line of jet air-crafts. Also in the lineup was the SAAB 37 Viggen, whose nameplate went on to be shared with one of the most respected Saab auto vehicles ever built.
As Donut Media’s video overview explains, SAAB ran into a bit of a pickle when the war came to an end after it had just made huge investments in tools and equipment to improve production. So, in 1949, under the direction of company president Ragnar Wahrgren, the company of 300 employees decided to get into the business of making cars.
By March of 1954, the company had sold 10,000 units of the SAAB 92, which utilized a two-cylinder engine. Enhancements were made to the 92 throughout its life cycle, and by the following year the number of units sold had more than doubled. Then, in 1955, SAAB released the 93, which had a three-cylinder engine that made 38 horsepower.
SAAB Motors was incorporated in June of 1956, after strong interests in the U.S. led the company to invest in the prospect of importing vehicles for sale in the states. SAAB went on to import 1,400 vehicles in 1957, which then grew to 3,700 vehicles in 1958. By the end of 1959, SAAB had established two more distribution ports in the U.S., and its dealer network had grown to close to 150 dealers.
In 1963, the first “SAAB Aeroplane” logo was implemented. Then, in 1965, when SAAB diversified its programs and registered the name SAAB Aktiebolaget (SAAB AB), it rolled out an updated emblem that bore the jet logo (shown above). It’s worth noting that not every model was fitted with the updated badging when it was released.
Finally, in 1969, SAAB AB and Scania-Vabis merged to form SAAB-SCANIA, and from this point forward, the jet logo was no longer used on cars produced by SAAB. That said, if you prefer the Saab aeroplane logo to the griffin, you can find aftermarket options or simple badge over-lays like the ones on Kayla’s 9-2X Aero. And if you’re wondering when SAAB was no longer spelt in all caps, that would be when GM bought half of the company and the name was changed to Saab Automobile AB.
Eventually even the griffin logo gets axed, and since NEVS never purchased the rights to the logo, it will likely never return; at least not on a car. If you’re not sure who or what NEVS is, we encourage you to read about Saab Automobile AB’s fallout with GM. Otherwise, enjoy the small logo gallery below, and stay tuned ’til next time when we discuss whether or not GM could have found a symbiotic solution to selling off Saab.