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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1971 Saab Sonett aerodynamic sports car from Sweden

Pick of the Day: 1971 Saab Sonett aerodynamic sports car from Sweden

The rarely seen coupe has been extensively refurbished and is turnkey, the seller says

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The Pick of the Day is a rare Swedish sports car, a 1971 Saab Sonett III that has been fully restored with some upgrades, according to the O’Fallon, Illinois, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com

With front-wheel drive, as are all Saabs, the Sonett was a limited-production outlier for the innovative brand, which lists among its creds the first turbocharged engine in mass-produced cars.  The model started as an open two-seater built from 1955 to ’57, powered by Saab’s ubiquitous 750cc 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine that generated 57.5 horsepower.  They are little known, particularly since only six of them were ever produced.

sonett

The Sonett II returned in 1966 as a sharp-looking but diminutive coupe with a streamlined fiberglass body and an updated version of the 2-cycle engine.  Before long, that smoky little motor was replaced by a 1,500cc V4 engine adapted from a Ford Taunus, at which point it was renamed the Sonett V4.  Still a limited-production car, the second generation nonetheless sold many hundreds more than the first.

The Sonett III presented here also is powered by the compact Ford V4, now housed in a very ‘70s-style aerodynamic body designed to fit on the existing V4 chassis and powered by the same engine that produced 60 horsepower, which was adequate motivation for the small, lightweight coupe.

sonett, Pick of the Day: 1971 Saab Sonett aerodynamic sports car from Sweden, ClassicCars.com Journal

Since just 1,265 Sonett IIIs were produced for 1971, these cool sport coupes are rarely seen, especially in such gleaming restored condition.  Just 10,236 Sonnet II, V4 and III models were produced overall from 1966 until 1974.

The Saab was redone in 2013 and remains in very good condition, “turnkey and ready to be shown off,” the seller says. 

“The engine did receive some upgrades such as its Weber 34ICH carburetor, Classic Auto Air under-dash A/C system, aluminum radiator, electric fan, and so much more,” the seller says in the ad. “The odometer reads 77,251 actual miles but the rebuilt on this drivetrain was done only about 500 miles ago.

sonett

“The tub was sandblasted, trunk floor replaced and painted with POR-15. All of the suspension components were powder-coated satin black; new shocks/bushings/ball joints/ brake lines/ fuel lines/ and braking components were replaced as well.”

The Sonett looks terrific in the photos with the ad, which show the extensive work done and the preservation since.

“Painted in a sharp Ford RZ Red Candy metallic tri-coat paint that looks amazing and flows well with the two-tone red and gray leather interior,” the seller adds.

sonett, Pick of the Day: 1971 Saab Sonett aerodynamic sports car from Sweden, ClassicCars.com Journal

This Saab Sonett III, an unusual sports car that a driver would be highly unlikely to see coming the other way, is priced at $22,000.

 To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Hagerty
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This Sonett is not only ugly, but a poor example. It is overpriced and the paint is not what was used in 1971. The pea green one, also a 1971, is better because it is original. Where were you in October, when I was trying to sell my Orange 1972 Sonett for only $7495? Other than the upholstering, mine was completely original, and well restored. And even though thousands looked at my vehicle and hundreds had watched it, not a single individual had bid on it. I really couldn’t do anything about the poor photographs. I had to use what I had. Realizing that it’s a tough car to sell, I still believe that it should have been sold. The frame and body are rust-free, the engine was professionally rebuilt and is strong, and I had placed a lot of thought toward offering the car at a very fair price. I had priced it to sell, and it should have sold.

  2. The interior leaves a bit to be desired the car itself is over done and much of the originality is gone. Having owned one, a 72, I can tell you of the issues. The original exhaust should have twin mufflers located in the rear quarter panels. The rocker panels are prone to rust and make up most of the frame support. the engine produces several resonant frequencies and these vibrations cause nuts and bolts to loosen. That makes the engine prone to oil leaks. My exhaust pipe split open just outside of the manifold no rust on the pipe vibration caused it. The transmission has a “spill fill” you add fluid until it over flows the spill similar to a model T oil fill. Because of this and the rarity of the car many have transmission issues.

    All that being said the car is a blast to drive!! it will keep up with a 71 Porsche until it reaches it’s top speed of about 105MPH and corners like it’s on rails.

    The current owner is upside down in the car. I would buy it as is for $10,000. I will put my offer in.

  3. My Dad ended up having two Sonett III’s; a 71 and a 72. The 71 was red like this one, but needed a lot of work that he never got around to doing. The 72 fed his sportscar addiction for a time. He got it running, took care of most of the cosmetic blemishes- it was a blaze orange and black paint scheme, with a black interior that was rather utilitarian. Incidentally, it was the first Saab with a manual on the floor that we’d had, (at the time, the other Saabs we had were 96s, with a 4spd manual on the tree) so I used to practice shift changing with the clutch (car off of course, I was what, 14 or 15 at the time?) which actually made my first foray in a manual while driving relatively painless, once i worked out how the gas pedal worked in tandem with the clutch. Every now and then Dad would pull it out of the garage and give me a ride to work in it and it always drew at least a few onlookers who wanted to know just what the hell it was. Co-workers included. Even though that V4 only made 60hp, the car was so light that it was actually adequate. It would never win any races, but it could handle like it was on rails. He ended up selling it; just not enough power for him despite how rare it was. I think I’ve seen only a handful in my entire life; his two, a couple others down in Central VA and one other that I can’t recall exactly, just that I saw it (because it was blue, the only blue one I’d ever seen). This car brings back some good memories…

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