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

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

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.


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.

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.


“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.

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

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