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

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - Theo Ford- Sagers

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.

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