Trollspeed Saab Tuner Builds 760-Horse Powerhouse
The engine revs at ear-splitting levels. Although the sound is deafening, if you listen carefully, there's a perfect rhythm within the din, which, as the rpm climbs, becomes the noise of pure performance. Then, in an instant, silence as the DynoJet comes to a halt. All eyes are directed to a chart on a computer screen. The numbers show 760 hp at 5800 rpm-impressive, to say the least. As surprising as it is impressive is that the car tested isn't a modified twin-turbo 996, Ferrari Maranello F1 or Lamborghini Murcilago. Quite the contrary. Though it outputs horsepower comparable to any of the world's top supercars, the car in question is a Saab.
Built by respected Swedish tuner Tommy Karllson of Trollspeed, the 2.0-liter (2046cc) engine is highly modified but still is recognizably a Saab.
Located near Saab's plant in Trollhttan, Sweden, the shop builds perhaps the most powerful Saab engines in the world. The Garrett turbocharged four, which uses the original Saab engine block and 16V cylinder head, easily possesses three times the horsepower of its stock 2.0T counterpart. It's but one of a handful Karllson has built for several race teams, including for rallycross racer Per Eklund. Recently tested for Eklund's Pikes Peak program, the engine takes the four-wheel-drive Saab 9-3 (with programmable active differentials and a six-speed prodrive gearbox) from 0 to 60 mph in only 2.3 sec. and to a top speed of 155 mph.
With Karllson's help, Eklund has racked up several noteworthy finishes, including a prestigious European Rallycross championship.
While competition-oriented business makes up a considerable percentage of his work, Karllson also builds many applications for the street, all undeniably stout in performance.
From the exterior, the shop appears much like a rural farmhouse. The inside, however, is quite the opposite. The well-equipped 2,000-sq. ft. facility boasts a full machine shop, engine building center and a four-wheel-drive dyno room. It's all Karllson requires to build some of the world's most impressive engines.
Karllson has a personal interest in Saab. His first involvement with the company began in the late '70s when he worked with Saab AB's factory race team. Karllson was also instrumental in the development of the first Saab 9000 prototypes before branching out on his own to form Trollspeed.
Over 20 years later, Karllson continues to share a strong rapport with Saab AB and is considered one the most venerable tuners in his field.