The SaaBSA makes you go 'duh.'


There have been lots of bizarre accounts of bike engines swapped in cars, and car engines in bikes. But there has perhaps never been a more motorcycle-like car engine than the old Saab two-stroke triple. Not only are two-strokes and triple cylinder arrangements much more for bikes than cars, but the 841cc capacity was much more appropriately sized for a bike than even a small, light car like the Saab. It was destined to find its way into a bike.

The man who succumbed to the obvious was Ray Pye, a Manxman who was dissatisfied by the British bikes of the day. The bike was built in 1975 by combining the chassis from a BSA Rocket III with the 841cc triple out of a Saab 96. To make everything work together, Pye used a Triumph primary case, clutch and transmission, Vincent primary chain and sprockets, and a modified Morris Minor radiator.

The SaaBSA was famously owned for many years by Bob Sinclair while he was President of Saab-Scandia USA. Sinclair, an avid motorcyclist, wanted to ride something appropriate for the leader of the Swedish brand in America. He commuted to the office regularly on it for years, upgrading the front disk to a huge 4LS unit somewhere along the way. After retiring, he sold it to another collector, but the bike is still in existence, and still runs quite well. Proving that what sounds like a good idea sometimes really is.

A more recent photo of the SaaBSA and its current owner.

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  1. engineerd Avatar

    This proves that karma exists in the automotive world. Somebody puts a car engine in a motorcycle, somebody else puts a motorcycle engine in a car.
    http://www.streetfire.net/video/600cc-superbike-p

    1. Velocitré Avatar

      I've got a Honda RC51 that I wadded up, and I'd really like to find a Fiat 500 to transplant the engine into

  2. Velocitré Avatar

    Three cylinders rock! (I ride a Speed Triple, hence my name)

  3. Hopman Avatar

    This swap actually makes some sense. In a bizzaro sort of way.
    An 850cc engine is a good size for a motor cycle.

  4. Christian Louboutins UK Avatar

    hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. restrict up with healthy go well!

  5. Stvsnclr Avatar

    The last picture is also of Bob Sinclair, in his later years – probably at a SAAB Owners convention

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