Like a cat with nine lives, P-A Johonsson's '94 Saab 900 keeps coming back, resurrecting phoenix-like after the long Nordic winter. "I had a drive to build a very extreme street Saab-one built for both driving and exhibitions," said the 27-year old Swede. "I take prizes in both, the car is a big success." Last year the show car sported a discreet light-to-dark two-tone silver paint. This year's version, the third iteration of his "extreme street" vision in three years, is somewhat less discreet, wearing screaming yellow paint overlaid with tribal-tattoo inspired graphics.
Extreme too are the 19-inch chrome Dotz wheels with 235/35ZR19 Yokohama AVS tires and the giant custom brakes. The speedparts-labeled six-piston front calipers come from a Porsche GT2, while the four-pots in back are Boxster bits. Tomas Lennstrand made up the custom two-piece rotors, 386mm and 320mm front and rear, respectively. Look carefully and you might get a glimpse of the Ohlins suspension. Then there is that giant hand-built stainless-steel exhaust.
Inside, a pair of Sparco Evo 2 seats hold the driver and a passenger firmly in place, assisted greatly by Sparco four-point belts. An astute passenger may begin to wonder about the wisdom of such a ride after noticing the roll cage, the lack of a rear seat, the carefully laid out carbon fiber dash surrounding the AEM dash logger display and that ominous looking shift lever.
If all this sounds serious, it is. Johonsson's pride and joy is no trailer queen. The upright shift lever connects to a Tractive five-speed sequential gearbox complete with a clutch-type limited slip diff, and the dual plate Sachs clutch clamps down on an aluminum flywheel weighing only about seven pounds. Johonsson loves the quarter mile and he should be running in the low 10s by the time you read this. His first outing in this year's car, shortly after the last of the snow was shoveled off the track, was 11.28 at 130 mph on Mickey Thompson drag slicks.
The Trollspeed-built dohc 16V Saab four, complete with JE pistons, Swedish-made Verdi rods and Nikasil cylinder liners, will safely spin to a claimed 9000 rpm. But with the 550 lb-ft torque peak at 6500 rpm and the 754 horsepower peak just 500 rpm further on, the AEM display rarely reads over 7500 rpm. A 300-degree Piper intake cam opens 34mm Ferrea valves, while a matching 288-degree cam and 32mm valves handle the exhaust side. A Tial wastegate keeps the Turbonetics Q trim turbo's boost at 2.5 bar (3.5 absolute) and just in case Trollspeed owner Tommy Karlsson welded a spring-loaded mechanical safety valve that opens at 2.9 bar into the intake.
Johonsson does drive his beast on the street, though not often. "The police like this car-and I don't want to talk to them," he said. As part of the Saab Festival '05, Kinnekulle race track was opened for some hot-lapping. Though set up for drag racing, the yellow Saab seemed quite at home on the little road course and conversation in the paddock stopped whenever he came onto the main straight and hit the throttle. Wastegate shrieking and tires spinning on every upshift, Johonsson put on quite a show. One can only wonder what next Spring will bring. "When you have much horsepower, you just want more," he said.
1994 SAAB 900
Engine2.0-liter inline four, dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder JE pistons, Verdi rods, Nikasil cylinders, Piper camshafts, Ferrea valves, Turbonetics Q-Trim turbocharger, Tial wastegate, custom stainless-steel exhaust
TransmissionFive-speed sequential manual, aluminum flywheel, Sachs clutch, limited-slip differential
SuspensionOhlins adjustable coilover
BrakesSix-piston calipers, 15-inch rotors (f)Porsche Boxster calipers, 12.6-inch rotors (r)
Wheels and TiresDotz Nardo, 8.5x19Yokohama AVS, 235/35-19
ExteriorCustom tribal graphics
InteriorSparco Evo 2 seats and four-point harnesses, custom carbon-fiber dash panel, AEM dash logger, four-point roll cage
PerformancePeak Power: 754 bhp @ 7000 rpmPeak Torque: 550 lb-ft @ 6500 rpmQuarter Mile: 11.28 sec. @ 131 mph