Saab Sonnet II. Sports car with 2 clocks

The official name is Saab 97 sonnet. But nobody says that, not even sworn Saab fans. The small sports car from Saab is very exclusive, especially when talking about the 2-Takter. And he transports a lot of legends and dramas, in which the story of the brand of the Göta Älv is particularly rich.

Number 190 of 258 copies. Photo: Bilweb
Number 190 of 258 copies. Photo: Bilweb

With the sonnet on the A3

It was a few years ago. Summer, heat and the A3. Germany's most-used highway and the Sonett II right in the middle. It's tight, it's loud. And it's hot. The vaulted rear window heats up the interior relentlessly, there is of course no air conditioning. 110 Km / h are available. Feels like you are racing with at least 200 on the asphalt. Or more. This is adventure, driving a car, a forgotten world. Every surviving kilometer becomes a success and you really have to like your neighbor.

Because the thing is saueng.

The Saab is tiny, at least by current standards. Pat Moss would have today, surrounded by pick-up truck SUVs, the crisis in their Swedish sports car. However, the said sonnet I was traveling with had a crucial mistake. And Pat Moss would not have liked that. He had a four-stroke V4 under the hood. Not a pithy 3 cylinder 2-Takter, as only the 258 models produced by 1966 to 1967 have.

The early sound of Trollhättan

Add in the incomparable sound of the 3 cylinders, and you get a car experience for all your senses. Anyone who turns up their noses because of the 2-Takt engine, has to relearn. A Saab 2-Takter never spreads the maw of socialism. An 2 Tact Saab, that's the early sound of Trollhättan. A sound experience that sounds like Midsommar Rallye and Rikspokalen, Erik Carlsson and Pat Moss on the gravel roads of the Coupe de Alpes.

In Trollhättan you saw the Saab 97 as a serious sports car, and not a few of its owners as well. Often, the vehicles were converted by private drivers and successfully used in motor racing. With the 2 clock engine was the model year 1968 conclusion. Saab introduced the sonnet with V4 engine and shocking 4 bars. And the cast iron fans wept bitterly. The bonnet of the sonnet got missed a scoop, otherwise the V4 would not have fit. The design, which was not uncontroversial from the beginning, was not particularly conducive to the change. Because of this, the rare 2 Tacts are considered the nicer variant of the model.

Sonnet II with 2 bars - a rarity

The few sports cars that were produced 1966, remained almost all in Sweden. As good as the entire 67er production but went into the export, the vast majority of it to North America. It is correspondingly difficult to buy a Sonett II 2-Tact.

In Sweden, at the current Bil Web Auction, a sonnet from the year 1967 for sale. Like most vehicles originally exported to North America, he was brought back to Europe 2008. There, the sorting car, which was not built in Trollhättan but at ASJ in Arlöv, was extensively restored. Since 2017 the Saab is again allowed in Sweden, the owner drove around 4.500 kilometers, then the engine had to be overhauled.

On this occasion, the 2-Takt engine has been optimized, it makes today around 85 PS. The Sonett II is equipped with Halda Speedpilot and an original Heuer stopwatch, just as Pat Moss and the unforgotten Erik Carlsson used to be on the way. Even the map pocket and the lamp for reading the maps correspond to the equipment of the works cars of Saab.

Desired - or not desired?

The course of the auction until the 10. May should be a test. Sonnet 2-Tact are actually considered rare and sought after. However, it is getting worse in the Swedish sonnet scene. She is outdated, and she has failed to inspire her offspring at the right time for her hobby. What price will the Saab achieve? Around 65.000 € have flowed into the restoration of the sports car. Money that the owner will hardly ever see again.

I have 2012 on the blog about the birth of the Sonnet II and its antagonist, the hapless Catherina tells, Finally, there remains a fundamental question that is discussed again and again: The sonnet? What is correct? In colloquial language, "the sonnet" prevailed, in the historical Saab literature there was always talk of "the sonnet". In relation to this, I have chosen this spelling on the blog, allowed in my opinion both spellings.

9 thoughts too "Saab Sonnet II. Sports car with 2 clocks"

  • Oh yeah! I remember the last SAAB festival. There was two-stroke power in the air! Before, I never thought that two-stroke can sound so good (Trabant ??). Then I knew it. Just awesome.

    • No Trabant but still a (western) German and not a Swedish engine working in the SAAB.
      The East of Germany has been smiled so intensely for its 2-Takter in the last years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, that one completely forgets that the principle was propagated in the West by supporters and manufacturers for many years. I have a historical ad, whose tenor is that an 3 cylinder 2-Takter is the equivalent but smarter version of an 6 cylinder 4 clock ...

      • PS

        Interesting that this can also be read well on the Sonnet II. The V4 had almost exactly double the engine capacity but little more torque (which used to be earlier) and only 5 PS more than the 60-PS two-stroke engine. Since the Sonett II with the V4 but also 110 Kg (!) Was heavier, no better acceleration was achieved.

        The lightweight (about 660 Kg) 85-PS sonnet from the review should be an amazingly spritziges vehicle ...

        I'll ask my neighbor if he does not want to bid on 2. Just the timing belt is about 30.000 Km before the prescribed change with the obvious consequences torn. As complex and modern as the car was yesterday, it is so broken and worthless today - because of a bad rubber!

        Who knows, maybe the captivatingly simple 2-tact-principle, at least in the classic car scene, will experience a certain revival and old SAABs thus a further revaluation? The powerful and indestructible 2-Takt-Diesel old US trucks have long been cult status.

        Speaking of US Truck & Trabant, who would have thought that between these two opposites, one would ever find a significant common ground between a filigree cardboard box and the chrome-plated log made of heavy metal? But it is like that ...

  • very nice! The culmination of the absurdity.
    My grandfather, former owner of a sonnet ll and two sonnet lll, always speaks with a male article about the sonnet.

  • SAAB story

    Have learned a lot today - not least through the link to Catherina. Both contributions should be read in one fell swoop and watch all the photos and the video well and listen well (!) ...

    Cool sound (the video of today) and what a beauty (the Catherina in the article by 2012). And what a thriller. Quote: "It was overlooked that Sason was only to the specifications (...) had."

    Quote: "Another blow to Sixten Sason, for he had invented the name" sonnet "20 years before. Now a project that was not his own got his name. "

    I feel with Sixten Sason and know this from my professional practice. If the specifications were supposedly or actually bad, then no one can remember ever having made them. If an idea is good, some people like to imagine that they came on their own (after having torn them in the air before) ...

    How many times have I been sitting in meetings and (with a certain amount of time) letting my own input and ideas be explained, just as if I had never made or never uttered them?

    Well, even Swedes are probably just people. Great cinema that Tom digs deep enough in history to honor who deserves credit. Catherina is a beauty. A high on Sason and thanks to Tom for the enlightening reading pleasure ...

  • I'm probably a minority - I just found the scoop of the V4 cool 🙂

  • The sonnet is a case for those who are very close to SAAB. For me she is a nice anecdote from the early days, so I can not really start with it. Still important that is written about it. Preserve the ones who forget about the sonnet.

  • Many thanks for this story and the details of the sonnet. I always say the sonnet.
    The sound of the Zweitaktsaabs is unique, the Saab Session Slovakia brings regular Polish Saab fans with their 95 and 96, forming their own group.

  • Very nice Sonett II but really expensive if the seller has to earn his investment back.


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