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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

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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 11-30-2013, 08:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

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Yes, GM and the UAW Central killed Saturn. That was a premeditated killing.
It's as if GM didn't trust the Saturn Corporation. Or it felt threatened by it, not sure which. And then pressure was put on GM from UAW to get the red-headed step child " back in line," or something to that effect. And when GM's and UAW's meddling didn't produce the desired effect, they just decided to do away with the whole brand.

I am confident Saturn could have competed with the best of them, if just left alone. Instead we ended up getting Opels that were imported and simply sold under the Saturn banner. And then of course, the complete demise of Saturn altogether. It's all very frustrating.

OK, off my soapbox now. Sorry to have hi-jacked this thread. That actually was not my original intent. I was feeling excited to learn more about the SL3. But when I saw some of the things written under the Saturn History on the e-How page, I just lost all control of my fingers and they were typing away in frustration.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

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Old 03-30-2014, 11:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Funny I have not heard of this car before but my son has been talking about how cool it would be to take the front clip off our 01SC and put it on our 2000SW.

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Old 06-19-2016, 02:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Actually, it wouldn't be too hard to determine if any SL3's were ever sold... Their parts would be somewhere in the GM parts catalog. In other words, you can't sell a car without also selling parts for it.

It's something for those with the resources at hand to look up.

On the other hand, there have been some things listed in owners manuals that never existed over the years. The manuals were printed before the first cars of that model year ever left the assembly plant. Or sometimes these features only existed for very short time or were only available in export cars. For all we know there may have been SL3's built only for export to Australia for example or other places with less stringent pollution controls. Still there should GM be part numbers for it somewhere.

If he SL3 never made it past the prototype phase, we will never see one. Like I said you can't sell a car that doesn't have available parts.

Oldsmobile actually distributed an overhead cam V8 in the 1960's. It was only distributed to dealerships to be evaluated and driven by mechanics. Most of them went and made a few bucks at the race track with them.... Then they were all recalled and crushed. Pretty much the same thing happened with the Mopar Jet Car. It's just too expensive to maintain a parts inventory for a car with only a couple hundred examples.

It is conceivable that a few SL3's were built and distributed to dealers for testing and evaluation... so there might even be a few photos of them on the road and a few Saturn employees who remember them. But if there aren't any parts in the catalogs for them.. they would all have been collected up and crushed.

As to owning one, it might be nice for a very short while, but without any spare parts or even shop manuals I can't see that it would be practical unless you had a car museum to keep it in.

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Old 06-19-2016, 02:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

Not in parts book.

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Old 06-20-2016, 12:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

If there aren't any parts, there weren't any cars ever released to the public. If they ever existed at all they would have been recalled and destroyed after testing. It's the chicken and the egg phenomenon... no eggs means no chickens and no chickens means no eggs... you can't have Sl3's without parts and you can't have parts without SL3's.

And lastly... GM never built or sold a part without a part number... hence, no part numbers in the (contemporary Saturn) catalog... no parts and therefore no cars.

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Old 06-21-2016, 12:19 PM   #20
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Default Re: Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3

6 cylinder, can't wait for that to burn oil

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