Project or scrap? Saab Sonett II relic!

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?

Saab Sonnet V4 1968
Saab Sonnet V4 1968


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 .

Toxic mix

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?

12 thoughts on "Project or scrap? Saab Sonett II relic!"

  • Well, I think the sonnet, especially number 2, is very beautiful and I could also get something out of the V4. But unfortunately everything is lost in this state, I think. In the end there is nothing that doesn't look somehow broken or that doesn't need to be welded or repaired and the engine will also need new parts and well ... It's a shame, but I don't think anyone would want to take care of it. what should the thing still cost?

  • If salvable, then project (and in the process say goodbye to the idea of ​​ever seeing all the project money again). Sonett is cool, unfortunately a development branch of Saab that was no longer continued after number 3.

  • I'm also not really enthusiastic about Saab Sonett II and III. I only find Sonnet I remarkable. I would rather keep this sonnet as junk and put it away as a “bar find”. Maybe someone will still be able to use something as a spare part.

  • Pretty negative ...

    what has been commented here so far. And now it's getting worse and better at the same time.

    On the one hand, I see everything very similarly. On the other hand, I see the sonnet as an authentic child of his time with the status of a rarity.

    Between 1950 and '70 plus, a series of derivatives of series technology were built as sports cars. What they all have in common is that you got less utility for more money.
    Sometimes the car brands have squeezed 5 HP more out of the engines, but often they have even dispensed with such cosmetic measures.

    They completely relied on reduced weights and wind resistance in order to outperform the internal competition on the data sheet. 155 km / h instead of 150 was sometimes enough to qualify as “sports car”.

    Most of the “sports cars” from back then cannot be measured against the standards of our time. Even in their day, they were hopelessly inferior to many limousines. This even applies to Porsches, who pop the champagne corks when they cracked 190 km / h - although they were still only hanging on the back of some bigwigs who read a newspaper in the back seat at 193 km / h and cigar smoke in his chauffeur blew the neck.

    A sonnet is a sonnet. You don't have to want it yourself and you can still be happy about each one if you see one again. That has its (historical) justification.

  • Definitely difficult. I think Saab really missed an opportunity back then. Whichever way I turn it, the sonnet isn't really nice. I'm afraid the relic won't have a future. As bad as that is. 🙁

  • I think Hans S.'s comment gets to the point, for me too.
    Thrash metal.

  • The Sonett, no matter which, are models that I would never identify as Saab without the Saab emblem.

  • A long term project

  • Emotionally, the sonnet immediately evokes the association of a life-threatening, rickety, raging soap box. Catharina would have been much better. For me personally, Saab stands for the later models anyway, which are characterized by safety, ingenious practical design with high utility value and turbo engines.

    But every animal has its own little treat! 🙂 That was a different generation back then. It would be nice if a lover could be found with the necessary large portion of passion, enthusiasm, courage and money.

  • Difficult, I never wanted the sonnet. I always found them ugly and far from the aesthetics of other Saab models. In my eyes rubbish, without a chance.

  • My admiration would be a “project manager” for this project, uh, probably wreck for sure! You have to have a lot of understanding, knowledge, ability and stamina, also financially.

    Sonnet, I don't know. Not everything that is written with Saab has to be liked. I don't like the Sonett and I don't see this car as a sports car either.
    Let's see what else the Saab community has for opinions on the sonnet ?!

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