The Saab is the latest car to be featured at the garage. Leno actually featured the 93 on a very early episode of his YouTube series filmed within the garage. However, the videos were short, about two or three minutes long, so he decided he wanted to bring it back for the full episode treatment.
This classic Saab boasts a two-stroke inline-3 displacing just 750 cc. That means there’s no camshaft or valves, or anything of the like. The 93 sounds like a barrel of angry bees barreling towards the driver under hard acceleration, which is all part of the charm, according to Leno. And while a 3-speed manual transmission was originally equipped, Leno at some point decided to place a 4-speed transmission in the car from another Saab.
The comedian and car guru said the Saab 93 caught his eye as a teenager. He recalled his friend’s mother owned one and he and his friend used to take the Saab out for cruises often. One of the neatest features that really hooked him was the car’s ability to “free wheel.”
Basically, the engine would disengage from the transmission. The mechanism allowed the wheels to spin faster than the engine, which would idle when engaged, and helped solve the two-stroke engine’s unquenchable thirst for lubrication. Toyota patented transmission technology that recalls this kind of mechanism last year.
Leno also gets into where the Saab stereotypical drivers came from (which seemed true until the day Saab was killed) and about why not much power still meant the 93 was plenty of fun to drive.