Dec 6 is the Finnish Independence Day, and today we commemorate our small Northern country’s ability to be just as bone-headed and stubborn as we like it, since 1917. The Soviet wanted to challenge that from 1939 to 1945, and these days we’re a member of the European Union which can be seen as the modern-day equivalent to the Soviet Union, but no matter: here we stand, 95 years later.
As a tribute, I present you what might be the most Finnish car built: the presidential edition Saab 99 Finlandia and the short-run production version. Back when all our presidents were called Kekkonen, this is what the top brass got to enjoy. A stretched Cadillac is nothing compared to the 12-window Saab.
I’m featuring a couple of magazine scans of the Scan-auto automobile, in Finnish. The car featured above is the production edition prototype, with a 25-centimetre extension welded in the middle. The rest of the car is a Finnish-built 99 Combi Coupé, with the two-litre fuel-injected 118-horsepower engine. “It’ll transport the bigwigs as fast as 168 km/h, if that speed happens to be legal in any country.” All the trimmings are GLE specification, and the magazine proudly declares how the extension section was cheaper to manufacture than the Swedish-designed job featured below.
In comparison, here’s the actual Presidential car, with the rear doors extended instead of an add-on middle section. This is an earlier car than the Finnish-designed one, even if the base car was also built in Finland before it was taken to Malmö, Sweden, for the stretching job. The notchback car was lengthened by 20 centimetres, in comparison to the 5cm longer 5-door.
The article mentions the “most expensive car stereo in the world, the Blaupunkt Berlin Electronic”, which was controlled from the back seat. In addition to that, the car features air condition (rare in a 99), police radio and louder horns.
“The usual black limousines of the President with their lion emblems are sure to stand out in traffic. A humble Saab 99 is inconspicuous in comparison, and can navigate easily through the downtown traffic jams.”
Later on, there were comparable stretched versions of the OG 900, the 900 Finlandia and CD. These too were Uusikaupunki-built.