We haven’t done a Car of the Week for some time now, as we’ve been very busy. Now though, the feature is back.
With Saab’s future looking bad, we decided to make a Saab our Car of the Week. The Saab Sonett was an obvious choice, being a brilliant little sports car.
The car started with a prototype in 1955. This car is known as the Saab Sonett I. Only six prototypes were made between 1955 and 1957. It was intended to grow into a race car, with a production of 2,000 units as a road car, but racing regulations changed and made the car ineligible, forcing Saab to cancel the project.
In 1966, Saab came up with the Sonett II, which was loosely based on the Sonett I. Unlike the first Sonett, this actually went into production. It first used a Saab developed two-stroke engine, putting out a mere 60 hp, but in 1967, the car switched to a four-stroke Ford V4 engine, developing 65 hp. This car was called the Sonett V4. To fit the engine, the hood was given a bulge, which was offset so that it didn’t impair driver visibility. The hood was criticized by the press and even Saab insiders. This, along with new emissions standards, forced Saab to redesign the car in 1970, creating the Sonett III.
The biggest changes are on the outside, but there are internal changes as well. It had a floor mounted shifter instead of the II’s column mounted shifter. Air-conditioning was made available as an optional extra. The engine was limited to 55 hp due to emissions regulations. The car received further changes in 1972 due to the ever changing regulations. On the outside, bumpers were added. Inside, it got a V4 engine with larger displacement, but still the same output.
The car was eventually killed off in 1974 due to poor sales. Saab has never tried their hand at a sports car ever since.
Now, on paper, they weren’t terribly good. 0 to 100 kph took 12.5 seconds in the Sonett V4, the fastest of the production models. However, not only do they have some special charm which we always look for in a car, but they also managed to be very good fun. Also, in my opinion, I think the II and III were very good looking cars.
So then, maybe if Saab survives, they could one day come up with a successor to this brilliant car. That’s exactly why you should help them stay alive.
Pictures credit: Liftarn (1 / CC BY-SA 3.0) (2 / CC BY-SA 3.0) (3 / CC BY-SA 3.0) and Martin Bergstrand via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5