In 1978 Geoff Kershaw, Turbo Technics’ founder, had been working for Garrett and had been heavily involved with the SAAB 99 Turbo development programme. As the programme drew to a close he was given the opportunity to buy one of the development test cars which was run as a family car for nearly 3 years until a gearbox problem confined it to the garage where it stayed for 42 years!
It has recently undergone an extensive restoration, assisted by TR Autos of Yeovil, in time for the SAAB 75th anniversary celebration in Trollhättan, Sweden. Geoff drove the car to the event, covering almost 3,500 km, where it took centre stage in the SAAB museum and created much interest. Apart from a couple of minor problems, the car ran faultlessly and is still comfortable to drive over long distances despite its age and its 170,000 km.
One of the landmarks in the SAAB history was the introduction of the 99 Turbo, generally credited as being the first series production turbo car. Geoff’s car was central to that development, and was based on a 2-door 99 EMS but fitted with the turbo engine. The engine was a SAAB-manufactured slant-4 cylinder of 2 litres located above the 4-speed gearbox, with the flywheel to the front. Power output was 145 BHP (107 kW) and torque was 174 lbf-ft (235 N-m).