Classifieds’ Saab Of The Day

1971 Saab Sonett III – Sports Car Spirit from Sweden Half a Century Old

Saab Sonett IIISaab Sonett III - The body was heavily modified with a new front and stern. Only the middle part was left fairly untouched. The flip-front type Triumph Spitfire was scrapped.,,

Here is a great example of a Swedish sports coupe that has been extensively adapted and ready for everyday driving, and can be yours for just over $ 20,000. As you can see the prices of Saab classics are rising and are expected to rise more and more, since the manufacturer no longer produces these great cars.

The choice of the day is a small, lightweight Swedish sports car, the 1971 Saab Sonett III, which has been completely refurbished with some upgrades, according to dealer Gateway Classic Cars of Tampa. According to some of the most reliable sources such as SaabSonett.org, high-range valuations for concours Sonetts ranged from about US$28,000 for a Sonett III to about US$45,000 for a Sonett II. Thanks to the excellent condition of the vehicle, this Sonett is approaching the upper price threshold for Saab vehicles in this category in terms of selling price. But let’s go back to the condition of the car itself.

Just like new, there are no objections to the body and color
Just like new, there are no objections to the body and color

For those just entering the world of Saab cars, the Sonett models were small lightweight coupes with an extremely aerodynamic sports line, of course with front-wheel drive, but without extremely powerful engines so they are nowhere near the classic fast sports coupes, but these cars have their charms. The entire Sonett I Series began production life as an open two-seater built from 1955 to ’57, powered by Saab’s then-ubiquitous 3-cylinder, 2-stroke 750cc engine that generated “only” 57.5 horsepower.

Then the Sonett II returned in 1966 as an even more aerodynamic variant with a simplified fiberglass housing and a newer version of the two-cycle engine. After that, Soon that smoky little engine was replaced by a 1,500 cc V4 engine adapted from the Ford Taunus, and then renamed the Sonett V4. This version of the II generation is somehow the most sought after and most expensive on the market of classic Saab cars.

The interior of the Sonett III has been completely renovated, down to the smallest detail.
The interior of the Sonett III has been completely renovated, down to the smallest detail.

And then we come to the Sonett III series whose one unit is offered at dealerships in Tampa Bay. The design of the car went a step further, so the Sonett got an even sportier line similar to that of many sports cars of the time. The engine reached up to some 60 horsepower, but thanks to its light weight it was a lot of fun to ride.

According to the dealer – “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 odometer reads 77,251 actual miles but the rebuilt on this drivetrain was done only about 500 miles ago.

Distinctive Saab's V4 with several intriguing additions
Distinctive Saab’s V4 with several intriguing additions

During the restore, the numbers matching original Ford Taunus V4 cylinder engine was rebuilt with new gaskets and seals, the heads were machined and valves lapped, new rings and cylinders honed, the bottom end is original and didn’t need rebuilding, the exhaust system was replaced, and even the 4 speed manual transmission was rebuilt with the freewheel locked out.

As you can see in the photos, this Sonett seems to have just come out of the showroom, even though it’s actually exactly half a century old! The body and engine are in exceptionally good condition, but what is not original is the color of the body. Instead of some of the original Saab colors of the time, the restorer opted for the also attractive Ford RZ Red Candy metallic tri-coat paint. Probably because of that, this Sonett III cannot reach the maximum price, because originality is highly valued by true collectors of classic cars, so this change of color is in a way sacrilegious. However, we believe that true fans of these sports coupes will not mind.


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