SAAB SONETT MKI-III
These elusive Swedish beauties are like hens’ teeth in the UK, but how far would you go to find one? In this case, fortune certainly favours the brave
Tempted? You should be. The Sonett’s Scandinavian quirkiness makes it a fun, featherweight plaything for anyone seeking a left-field alternative to a Triumph TR or MGB. And they’re a welcome reminder that Saab’s explorations with funky, aero-inspired bodies extended beyond its stylish saloons.
‘Sourcing a Sonett is not easy,’ cautions Nick Walker, Sonett registrar for the Saab Owners’ Club GB (saabclub.co.uk) and owner of one of the two, early two-stroke Sonetts in the UK. Despite the vast majority of Sonetts originally being sold in the USA, we found only one currently available across The Pond (a project car in Virginia, see right). If you’re lucky enough to find a wellpreserved model from a dry state such as California, Nick reckons it’s worth the hassle of importing.
‘The Sonett can rust badly, and they are a complex car to repair properly,’ he advises. ‘A rust-free example makes far more sense, and the money saved on repairs would more than make up for the additional transport costs.
‘However, dry climates can bring their own problems with sun damage to body and trim, although these parts tend to survive better on rusty cars, so most can be sourced eventually, if the Swedish Sonett Klubben (sonettclub.se) can’t help. This club is almost essential to owners of Sonetts.’
Continental Europe is another option, but availability is still limited. Even the Swedish equivalent of eBay (tradera.com) has none available at the moment, which Nick reckons is due to the very close network of Swedish enthusiasts, meaning that most sales are done by word of mouth. The Netherlands currently has the greatest number for sale.
Conversion to right-hand drive isn’t really viable, although it has been attempted on vehicles which required major restorations anyway. But if you’re desperate to have it done, Nick recommends JamSAAB ( jamsaab.co.uk, 0117 986 9997) or MSA Autobodies (msaautobodies. co.uk 07815 567154).
It’s worth speaking to club members about which Sonett model will suit you, and where to find one. Just bear in mind that they’re tricky fish to live with and restore.