In 2014, the very last Saab-badged car emerged from a factory in Trollhattan, Sweden. It was one of just 420 build by the brand’s last owner, NEVS, which now concentrates on designing electric vehicles. Saab, once part of General Motors, had died slowly and painfully, to the regret of many supporters who appreciated the company’s off-centre approach to car design.

Things had once been very different. Seventy years ago, Saab’s first car went into production. It was an interesting diversion for a business whose main talent was building aeroplanes – its four-letter name is a shortened version of Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolag, which in English means Swedish Aeroplane Company Ltd. (Saab still exists as an aerospace manufacturer, the now defunct car division having been sold off some time ago.)

For reasons we’ll explain later, the car was given the model name 92. For 1949, its shape – the work of the great Swedish industrial designer known as Sixten Sason, though he was born Sixten Andersson – was futuristic almost to the point of being shocking.

There was a good reason for that. Having built planes since 1921, Saab didn’t need a lecture from anyone about aerodynamics, and it was natural that its first car should be able to guide air round itself in a way that seems quite reasonable now but was at the extreme of motor industry thinking in the immediate post-War era.

Despite its oddness, the 92 was the ancestor of many Saabs over the next 19 years, nearly all of them following the same design principles. It wasn’t until 1968 that Saab adopted a completely new policy with the 99, another product of Sixten Sason’s imaginative thinking.