- 1 Saab Sonett – The Fascinating History of Sweden’s Sportiest Car
Saab Sonett – The Fascinating History of Sweden’s Sportiest Car
The Sonett was a series of two-seat sports coupes and convertibles produced by Saab from 1955 to 1974. With its aerospace-inspired design and cutting-edge technology, the nimble Sonett represented Saab’s attempt to produce a world-class performance car. Its quirky Swedish charm makes the Sonett a beloved driver’s car.
Testing the Waters with the Saab 94 Protoype
Saab’s aircraft engineers secretly developed a mid-engine prototype sports car in 1955, dubbed the Saab 94. Powered by a 750cc twin-cylinder engine, the 94 demonstrated Saab could produce an engaging driver’s car. Public interest convinced Saab to pursue a production sports model, setting the stage for the Sonett
Saab Sonett I Brings Competition Inspiration
Drawing from its success in rallying the Saab 93 sedan, Saab introduced the Sonett I in 1956. The curvy fiberglass-bodied roadster had a tuned 3-cylinder engine generating 60 hp. Advanced front-wheel drive and independent suspension showcased Saab’s innovative thinking. The Sonett I showed Saab’s sporting spirit despite tiny production numbers.
Refined Sonett II Arrives
In 1966, Saab introduced the redesigned Sonett II using systemized production methods. The engine grew to 841cc, adding power while retaining the front-wheel drive layout. Dunlop disc brakes and a rear anti-roll bar enhanced handling precision. Spunky performance and high technology made the plucky Sonett II fun to drive.
Saab Sonett III – A True Sports Coupe
The most fully realized Sonett finally emerged as the 1967 Sonett III. Moving to rear-wheel drive allowed a more powerful 1.7L V4 engine rated at 90hp. The modern fastback shape with pop-up headlights was aerodynamically refined. Front and rear anti-roll bars plus radial tires improved road-holding, while power disc brakes added stopping muscle. The Sonett III was Saab’s most serious sports car yet.
Innovative Saab Technology Throughout
All Sonetts showcased Saab’s innovative thinking and aircraft engineering heritage. Features like electrically heated seating, column-mounted ignition lock, and freewheel transmission demonstrated Saab’s ingenuity. The Sonett married quirky Swedish style with functional high-tech details.
Beloved By Saab Enthusiasts
While the Sonett never achieved mainstream sales success, its funky personality attracts devoted Saab enthusiasts today. With less than 10,000 Sonetts produced over its entire run, the cars remain rare sights. The Sonett fulfilled its duty of bringing Saab’s unconventional engineering prowess to the sports car scene.
The Sonett holds an endearing place in sports car history by injecting Swedish sensibilities into a niche roadster. For Saab fans, the plucky Sonett represents the brand’s adventurous spirit and pride in technological innovation.