SAABO

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SAABO camper. Notice the low set window.
Only one SAAB 401 hovercraft was built.

The SAABO was a caravan produced from 1964 to 1968, by Saab.

The SAABO caravan (camper/travel trailer) was manufactured in Ljunga, outside Norrköping. The project was started by Bo Bjernekull of the Ljunga plant and Birger Lindberg at SAAB in Linköping. Officially they were working on a project called MEFAN that was supposed to produce hovercrafts for the military. Unofficially they made a camper caravan.

The idea was to get a product to even out the workload at the helicopter department, that at the time mainly assembled helicopters manufactured in France. After making a model in 1:10 scale they received the OK for production. A first prototype was made at Fisksätra boatyard and the pre-production prototypes at Marieholms Bruk. The first prototypes were made without brakes, but these were soon added. It was important to keep the weight down as the caravan would be used with automobiles with as little as 25 hp (19 kW), like the 38 hp (28 kW) two stroke Saab 96. And the Swedish regulation at the time allowed unrestricted speed with a caravan if the weight was low enough.

Despite the small size the SAABO was designed to accommodate a family of four (five with an extra bunk). The interior consisted of two sofas, a dining table, galley sink and two wardrobes. Liquified petroleum gas was used for cooking, heating and lighting. The design was made with two half shells of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) enclosing an insulation of folded cardboard. The SAABO had large, low set front and rear windows so the driver of the towing vehicle could look right through it in the rear view mirror. At least 438 SAABOs were made.

Total length: 3.60 metres (141.7 in)
Width: 1.84 metres (72.4 in)
Height: 2.10 metres (82.7 in)
Inner height: 1.80 metres (70.9 in)
Weight: 230 kg (507 lb)
Cost at launch: 4950 SEK

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