SAAB'S LATEST REAL WORLD SAFETY TEST WAS UNSCHEDULED


Saab driver Herman Rundstrom conducted an unexpected collision test during a high-speed crash at Talladega Superspeedway


NORCROSS, GA. - In what may have been the world's fastest, longest durability test, six factory-fresh Saab 900s were driven flat out for eight days at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. While the event was a successful affirmation of Saab's rugged nature, it inadvertently put Saab's safety engineering to the test as well. Halfway into the round-the-clock event, a severe thunderstorm struck. At 4:14 a.m., Oct. 18, a powerful gust of wind pushed car No. 2, a Saab 900 Turbo, into the track's wall on a steeply banked corner. Although the driver had slowed from a top speed of about 150 mph because of the heavy rain, the Saab was still traveling at more than 80 mph when it crashed head first into the concrete barrier. The car spun around and squarely slammed the back end into the wall also. The impact caused extensive body damage and both airbags deployed, but the car's passenger compartment was completely intact. In fact, the structural integrity of the Saab was so sound that both doors opened and closed perfectly The driver, Swedish Saab employee Herman Rundstrom, emerged unscathed and was back on the track later that day after being examined by a doctor. The car's body structure and safety systems performed exactly as designed," concluded Christer Nilsson, Saab senior safety engineer, who showcased the damaged car in a safety seminar held at the track later that day. At the end of eight days, the remaining Saabs set 40 international speed/distance records, including one car that set a record for 25,000 continuous miles at an average speed of 140.709 mph.
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