In the early days of 1982 Fiat Auto and Saab reached a definitive collaboration agreement for the development of cars with a shared four door chassis.
It was a concept of synergies from Vittorio Ghiedella, M.D. of Fiat, which gave rise to the "Type 4 Project".
The Lancia Thema, Saab 9000 and Fiat Croma were engineered and built followed later by the Alfa Romeo 164, which was a little different in that it had its own unique doors.
From this "type 4 project" an important and long-lasting working relationship was born with Saab and later also with Scania.
The first contact with the Swedish car manufacturer, for Alfredo Stola & Figli, took place in Geneva the previous year at an exhibition, called SITEV, dedicated to introducing suppliers to car manufacturers.
Engineer Alberto Sasso, accompanied by Margherita Stola, was introduced by Doctor Riccardo Bussolati of Fiat Auto to the Saab delegation present at the event.
As a consequence of the introduction, on the feast of Saint Lucia shortly before Christmas, Roberto Stola and Engineer Sasso flew to Trolletthan in Sweden (with 3 stopovers and 9 hours of travel) to meet with Directors Sven Solvang and Gustav Leftinger, from Saab’s technology and purchasing departments respectively.
The exterior design of the 9000 was the work of Italdesign, this was essentially due to the fact that Giugiaro himself was designing the Lancia Thema and Fiat Croma in parallel.
Bjorn Enval, director of Saab’s Style Center, actively followed the whole exterior design activity in Moncalieri, requiring numerous trips to Italy.
The interior style was instead made entirely in Sweden by the Saab style team in Trollhattan.
At the end of 1982, the modeler Vittorio della Rocca was hired as an assistant to the two historians Head of Work Carlo Bordone and Sante Sellan to deal with the increase in the amount of work due to the new assembly masters and the demanding orders of the "Type 4 Project"
In the same period, consultant Engineer Guido Toninelli worked together with Engineer Alberto Sasso and Alfredo Stola until 1989 in the complex management of the Saab customer for the Type 9000 in Basic, CD, CS, 900 Aero and 900 Cabrio versions.
The 9000 project was very extensive since, in addition to the classic master model, Alfredo Stola & Figli created 100% of every single detail of the car in all three versions, both for the exterior, the structures and the interior of the passenger and luggage compartments.
For each variant, a demonstration model had to be built, a negative resin, two positive resins and a control jig.
Every detail had to be created, such as gaskets, springs, handles, buttons, mats and even the internal parts of the light units.
It was a kind of concurrent engineering unknown at the time, most of Saab’s production suppliers (in particular the plastic mould makers) would use the Stola model shop in order to make their work more effective and efficient, to achieve maximum technical alignment and especially avoid any waste of time.
The same procedure was utilised for the 900 Cabrio version, the only variation being the supply of all the cast iron tools for the stamping of the internal and external sheet metal, this was made for Saab by the SAT company in Beinasco, exclusive property of Roberto Stola.
The Swedish car manufacturer used the services of the English company IAD, with their engineers resident in Stola for eight years checking the models, resins and jigs to a dimensional tolerance is 0.2mm (two tenths of a millimeter) using DEA trackers.
Every fifteen days Tord du Hane and Pereic Hoglund of the Trollhattan model department would visit Turin for an unlimited and sometimes exhausting review of the 9000 and 900 cabrio projects
Although less common, there were nevertheless also many visits to Turin by the Purchasing and Technology Directors Gustav Leftinger and Sven Solvang
Perhaps more than a hundred trips to Sweden were made by Sasso, Toninelli, Roberto and Alfredo Stola, at that time it took a whole day to get to Saab with the various stopovers and, on the last trip by car, a passport was still required to cross the border.
Toninelli between 1989 and 1991 worked as a consultant to directly for Giuseppe Stola in the Sev foundry.
The Saab 9000 was also an opportunity to get to know Bjorn Envall, the first non-Italian designer encountered by the Stola team.
Over time this great relationship allowed for a build up of trust that allowed Alfredo Stola & Figli to learn more about the work at Saab’s modelling department, not just the demonstration and master models.