The cornerstones: a sports car, quite rare, traditional European brand. Clear facts that could make an automobile wreck appear desirable. If the relic of an early Porsche 911 were for sale instead of a Saab Sonett II, things would be cleared up quickly. But a sonnet? Does she have what it takes for the project?
The Sonett II project was not a lucky star from the start. There was a better design by Sixten Sason, which is now in the museum in Trollhättan. And there were warning voices within Saab. Despite all the indications, the board decided in favor of Björn Karlström's design. And against your own designer and better knowledge.
In a last, desperate attempt, Björn Envall and Sixten Sason drew another design. A shapely, small sports coupe. But that didn't help either, the board of directors in the Stallbacka stuck to its decision. On principle, as they say today.
And the problems came quickly. Karlström's lack of experience, it was the designer's first draft that really made it into reality, became a problem. In addition, ASJ was commissioned in Malmö to build the Saab sports car. The company had previously made railroad cars and had no experience in the production of automobiles. You can do the thriller about the making of Sonett II here .
With this toxic mixture, it is no wonder that the comments in the auto press were consistently unfriendly. Assembled carelessly, reminiscent of an English kit car, that was still nice. The customers didn't see it any differently, the number of pieces always fell short of expectations.
In addition, the Sonett should have come onto the market as a Targa. But this detail has been deleted, as has the large, opening tailgate. Both features, part of the original specification, proved to be too complicated in production and would have had a negative effect on the stability of the body.
It got really bad with the switch to the V4 engine. The sophisticated two-stroke engine had previously given the Sonett II a sporty, nervous character. Compared to the two-stroke, the sedate V4 robbed the sports car of any sporting ambition. He literally put Sonett II to sleep. With the V4, the already negative weight distribution also changed. 60% of the weight was already on the front axle of the two-stroke engine, now it's even more.
Project or scrap
In Dallas, Texas, the relic is a Sonnet II V4 popped up. And here the question arises: project or scrap? Built in 1968, it is one of 899 V4s that left the ASJ factory in Malmö that year. A small number of a sports coupe from a brand that has a big name.
Does that turn the relic into a project? The condition is beyond good, which would not be a problem with a Porsche 911. On the contrary, a 911 of the same year has six figures. As a Targa with a substantial premium. Even as a wreck it would bring many times the sonnet.
Yes, Saab had once again failed to take advantage of an opportunity in the 60s. Targa was in the specifications and was not delivered. Then, as we know, it became a cult in Stuttgart and at Porsche, they celebrate their Targa story in ever new, imaginative versions to this day. Customers like to pay generously for it.
So what does it look like? Not a Porsche - but a Saab. A lost brand and a sports car that is not one of the highlights from Trollhättan. The relic of a vehicle, but largely complete. Engine in unknown condition and lots of rust under the plastic body. The front and rear windows with cracks, and almost everything in a condition that requires work.
One out of 899 - does it stand a chance or not?