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Old 11-22-2013, 12:48 AM   #1
Charlie
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Default Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

A new story entry has been added:

Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Quote:

The mysterious Saturn SL3 is the loch ness monster of the Saturn world. Some have witnessed proof of its existence, but only a few have seen it and I'm not aware of any photos of the vehicle. I've been told that if you can imagine a first-generation SL2 sedan with a SC2 grafted on the front-end, you'd have a good picture in your head of the SL3. Significantly, it was powered by an 2.5L 30-valve inline six-cylinder powerplant (five valves per cylinder!) that reportedly produced around 250 hp.

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Old 11-22-2013, 01:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Thanks for this Charlie, every once in a while the SL3 question comes up, but I never knew there were so many references to it in the "93 owners manual. I may have to dig out the one I picked up at the JY and page through it.

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Old 11-22-2013, 06:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Great flashback.

Just imagine how cool it would be if one of these things appeared one day, pulled from long term storage or something of that nature. They must have at least had a prototype or two that drove for it to reach the point of inclusion in owners manuals.

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Old 11-22-2013, 09:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

That actually is true about is being mentioned in the 1993 S-Series Owners Manual my friends S-Series is a 93 and we went in there the one time to look at the fluid specs and capacities and it mentions SL3 and we looked at one another and didnt know what they were talking about.

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Old 11-22-2013, 09:35 AM   #5
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Happy Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Looks like that could have been fun. Thanks Charlie.

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Old 11-22-2013, 10:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Is this one? Naturally its green....
SL3.jpg

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Old 11-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
Is this one? Naturally its green....
Attachment 35760
Pop the hood and find out for us all!

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Old 11-22-2013, 04:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

I would be very surprised if a stock, mass produced, normally aspirated six cylinder engine of that era intended for a mainstream economy car would have produced anywhere close to 250 hp. That many ponies (more than double an SL2) in a car of that size would be very quick indeed even now, especially so for the early '90s.

Straight sixes are typically torquey, so the power would not only be usable, but feel magnified. I had a 3.6 liter straight six in my Jaguar of that era, rated at "only" 180-something hp, and that thing was smooth as silk and pulled like a freight train. It didn't feel under powered for the era even in a car much heavier (3900 lbs) than an S-Series.

Heck, most mainstream sixes of even the early 2000s - ten years after the mysterious SL3 - were rated at only around 190s - low 200s. The GM Vortec 4200 I-6 in the early '00s Blazer produced mid 200s, but of course that was a 4.2 liter engine ten years after the SL3, and in a much heavier vehicle.

For an N/A engine developed in the late '80s - early '90s, 150 hp would be a more believable but still respectable number, and even in that range a car the weight of an S-Series would scoot right along.

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Old 11-22-2013, 05:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
Is this one? Naturally its green....
Attachment 35760
OMG. That is so rad looking! I'd snatch one up, even if it were a prototype, if one ever came out of hiding.

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Old 11-22-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

I wanted to make one of these, have a SC2 with an SC1 front end and an SL3 in my driveway. But still no inline-6.

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Old 11-28-2013, 02:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

According to these websites, they do exist. Only in 1993.
http://www.xtralights.com/93saturnsl...depackage.aspx
http://community.cartalk.com/discuss...n-sl3-stalling
http://www.ehow.com/about_5052030_sa...o-history.html

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Old 11-30-2013, 02:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

From the e-How article linked in the above post:

"In April 2009, General Motors announced its desire to sell Saturn due to its strained financial situation."

That's pretty rich coming from GM. The way I heard it is that GM kept meddling in the workings of Saturn, which was what helped it to fail financially. I know Saturn was never really a top producing part of the GM lineup, but IMO if it had been run better as a car maker, and they had stuck to what Saturn did best (producing rugged, efficient, economical cars at a decent price), it would have been doing extremely well in the down economy we've been under for the past several years.

Oh, and the SL3 sounds like it would have been a terrific car to own (or at least drive!).

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Old 11-30-2013, 11:31 AM   #13
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Arrow Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl1driver View Post
The way I heard it is that GM kept meddling in the workings of Saturn, which was what helped it to fail financially. I know Saturn was never really a top producing part of the GM lineup, but IMO if it had been run better as a car maker, and they had stuck to what Saturn did best (producing rugged, efficient, economical cars at a decent price), it would have been doing extremely well in the down economy we've been under for the past several years.
Very good observation. Saturn originally started out as an wholly-owned separate subsidiary of General Motors. Over the years GM slowly brought Saturn closer and closer into the GM fold, eventually making it into just another division like Buick or Pontiac.

From a production standpoint, the Saturn S-Series was one of the best-selling GM vehicles at the time. By the mid-1990s Saturn was selling 280,000+ vehicles a year. Unfortunately, despite those impressive sales figures, Saturn never was able to drive significant profits for GM which inevitably led to its demise. Although, I think if GM would have given the original, independent Saturn model more time to succeed the company would still be around.

Charlie

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Old 11-30-2013, 12:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Yes, GM and the UAW Central killed Saturn. That was a premeditated killing.

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Old 07-05-2016, 10:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

So wait... how hard is it to graft an SC front end onto an earlier S-series anyway? O_o That picture of the green one was very pretty.


I can't imagine a 6cyl existing though that doesn't have a single example somewhere in a junkyard for a 20+ year old car. Though now it has me re-wondering how a VW VR6 would go in there, with some other Saturn driver who had a VW TDI diesel swapped into his having worked out the swap before and the gas engines pretty much bolting in place of a diesel and vice versa from what I understand. The 2.8/3.2/3.6 VR6's are capable of stupid power (400-500hp reliably) and would fit unlike any other V6 or inline 6 I can think of.

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Old 07-06-2016, 10:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

More than likely, this SL3 was just some editor not catching a typo. Legend of the SL3 ... fun to think about though, and contribute to the rumor mill.

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Old 07-06-2016, 10:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

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So wait... how hard is it to graft an SC front end onto an earlier S-series anyway? O_o That picture of the green one was very pretty.
It could be that the original had front end damage and somebody decided to see if they could build a unique Saturn by replacing the SLX front with the SCX front end.

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