The Saab Monster

The mystery Photo published in this Monday’s Left-Handed Spanner was almost instantly identified by a Saabvant and first time anonymous commenter who subsequently picked the name Monsaabster.  You can read the entire Saab story in the comments; it is really a great story of an anonymous commenter finding his name —a real DT tearjerker.  Anyway, the car in question is a 1959 Saab Monster, a gutted Saab 93 that used twin inline-3 two stroke engines combined for 1.5 liters that pushed 138 horsepower into the front wheels.  Pictures from Kaibeezy’s visit to the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan.

DT commenter Paul Wells was kind enough to include a link to a youtube video that shows the Monster starting up and driven in all of its homicidal mosquito glory.  Much of the information on the Monster available on the web is in Swedish, so we took the liberty of translating a page written by Josef Eklund and originally published on here. The bold is some emphasis and poetic license from Kaibeezy.

At Saab’s Car Museum is the above vehicle, which still attracts a lot of interest
from those who visit the museum. The undersigned intends to posterity
tell us a little about how this car came about and what happened before
it became a museum piece. 

Monster came to Rolf Melldes initiative in the early
60s, and his intention was to evaluate the road performance of a front
wheel drive car with extremely high power output. , the high engine
power is achieved by using a spiral bevel gear bind 2x 3-cylinder 750 cc SAAB engines according nedanst diagrams. 

The combined effect of these two engines were 130 hp,
which in a former SAAB 93: A corresponded to a weight-power ratio of
7,7 kg / hp, which in today’s (outrageous !!) Car care is not so
remarkable. (Eric Carlsson’s rally cars had 15 kg / hp) The clutch and
other components erfodrades, was constructed by Kjell Knutsson who was
provningsingejör at SAAB’s engine laboratory. 

Since Mellde likely not have received this
experiment sanctioned by the higher authorities drew Kjell of
confidentiality everything in its then townhouse in Skoftebyn. I stood
for kuggväxlarna, produced by Lidköpings mechanical engineering LMV in
Lidköping. Had I known then what I know today about the dynamics of
power transmissions, I probably tried to get Mellde to abandon the project.
, we realized yet from the beginning that this way of connecting two
engines would not be without its problems, given the difficulty of
mastering the fluctuations that occurred in the structure. 

The inertias of the link, which was placed on the gearbox input shaft, constituted, worsening oscillation problems
Another problem was to synchronize the throttle the engines, and one
motor rotation must be reversed. To achieve the high speeds that were
expected, were exchanged input shaft on the gearbox up, to prevent
over-revving of the engines. Consequently, there was a lot of questions,
but a lot of trial could still be carried out before the final accident occurred

During speed tests with Carl-Magnus Skog Såtenäs
airport measured a top speed of 196 km / h. But when I recently checked
with Carl-Magnus was one up there for over 200 km / h, which is not many
cars were capable of at this time in the early 60s. car was also tested
on the race track Gelleråsen Karlskoga where Erik Carlsson together
with bl. A Kjell Knutsson, Sven “Solebo” Olsson and Rolf Ebefors drove
“Monster” for two days. these samples, we could see that the car in
terms of performance amply fulfilled all expectations. But it also
turned out that the hard drive assembly ,. additionally, for the most
part was placed in front of the front wheels, resulting in a extreme understeer, which had not been accepted in reality. 

During the runs at Gelleråsen occurred that put an end to further test the “Monster”. Then wrecked namely the conical gear,
something that really should have been anticipated from the beginning.
But it may nevertheless still be the case that from the beginning to the
seemingly impossible project may eventually prove useful and even
become hits. “Monster” can still serve as examples of the
experimentation that prevailed during Rolf Melldes leadership, and if we
had continued on that path might SAAB had survived as a private company
without the involvement of either GM or Muller. The turbo that kom1978
is another example where SAAB proven themselves in terms of vehicle

Kjell Knutsson was immortalized along with the
finished drive assembly in ovanst images. Kjell was at that time head of
performance development of Saab two-stroke engines, which also included
Eric Carlsson’s rally engines in early in the 60’s when Eric won the
Monte Carlo Rally and Rally English several times. This little script, I
want to dedicate Kjell Knutsson, who also stood for many other contributions to Saab technical development,       

Trollhättan 2010 11 08th Josef Eklund

Sorry for the poor translation, but it was the best we could do between Google translate and the great-grandson of Swedish immigrants.  Got pics from a museum that might make a good story?  Send them here: