Man Cave Find: 1973 Saab Sonett

1973 Saab Sonett

While going to College in Wyoming I would make the 8 block journey from my small apartment to campus and each time I made the trip I would walk past a wonderful looking Saab Sonett. Each time I went past it, I would tell myself I was going to go knock on the door and talk to the owner about it. I had learned it wasn’t always a good choice to approach people about their cars in Laramie, probably something to do with overly zealous WyoTech students, so I never got the courage to approach the owner. To this day, I regret not at least attempting to talk to them. When I saw this 1973 Sonett III that Al H spotted here on craigslist, it instantly reminded me of the one I use to walk by. Special thanks to Al for the tip and for bringing back some memories.

Man Cave Sonett

Unlike the car I walked by at least twice a day, this Sonett is in running and driving condition. The seller doesn’t offer much more information than that, but if the photos are any indicators of it’s past, it appears to have been stored in a barn or garage that literally is a “Man Cave”. It’s complete with stone walls, interesting paintings on the walls, and a Saab with a few upgrades.

Saab Sonett V4 Motor

The seller doesn’t come right out and say it, but a single look at the motor reveals that it has been modified. The only mention of its performance potential the seller gives is the single mention of SCCA Vintage racing in the listing’s title. Outside of the engine bay, I don’t see any modifications or signs that this car was ever raced in the past. The flaking red paint in the engine bay would suggest that the modification were done a while back, but how long ago I don’t know. I’m curious to know what all has been done to the V4, as I know this motor can be quite potent with the right upgrades.

Saab Sonett Interior

The interior looks to be original and in nice shape. There doesn’t appear to be any upgrades here, but the Sonett III was already fairly sporty on the inside. The factory buckets are very supportive and the rest of the interior is quite basic. It would make a great weekend track car or a fun rally car without much work. I would clean it up and save the money for suspension upgrades.

Saab Sonett III

It’s funny how seeing a car can trigger so many memories. I never got to experience that Sonett I walked by, but it still burned its place in my memory. Maybe it was the bright paint and great looks or perhaps it was the simple fact that it was the mid-point of my journey, but either way I’m sure I will always remember it. I have a feeling this Man Cave Sonett would be more fun than the run down example I saw, especially with the performance upgrades.

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Comments

  1. tom999p

    I don’t know much about these cars ,but is he jacking up the car by the trunk floor???? ugh…………..
    If he’s the person that modified the engine, then we’re in trouble….

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    • grant

      hopefully he’s putting a floor jack under the differential….

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      • rapple

        ….which would be at the other end of the car.

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  2. jim s

    always interesting, as was the 72 from a few days ago. but they are not going to sell themselves. this seller needs to provide a lot of detailed information. then the car would need PI by someone who knows these. i would want to know where the bumpers are, about all the changes and are the stock parts included in the sale, any rust and any racing history. if it all checks out this too would be a fun daily driver. great find.

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    • Don Andreina

      I’d leave the bumpers off.

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  3. dbigb1

    She came with a 4cil That is a 6cil Count the plug wires on the side you can see I was told that a 2.8 v6 from a early ford Capri would drop right in. Saab used ford 4cil in some models If so It looks like some fun

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    • sir mike

      good eye there…also missing oil filler cap..should be a lot of fun with a V6.

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  4. oldsaabguy

    Ok.. the trunk floor should be corrugated not smooth. It is one of the first placed to rust through and finding the right replacement panel means just welding in some flat plate.. so.. rust. No pics of the rockers which is where the other rust starts.

    Not likely a 6 cyl, the coil is mounted on the side of the engine bay, so two plug wires and one coil wire makes 3. Painting the valve covers red doesn’t make it go any faster BTW. However, it has a performance exhaust from one of the real V4 tuners/racers out there so maybe something has been done.

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  5. Grr

    Always had a soft spot for these, even though they were slow, cramped, and that long front overhang can be awkward from some angles. Didn’t realize the Cologne V6 was such an easy transplant; changes things, although one has to wonder how badly it affects the weight distribution…

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  6. Carl B.

    Given the relative rarity and the apparent overall condition – $3,500.00 seems like a pretty low price.

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  7. Carl B.

    I see 2 spark plug wires and 1 wire to the coil on one side. The valve cover and distributor placement seems right for the V4. Plus it looks like other V4’s..

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  8. St.Ramone de V8

    I always found these things (when I had the chance to see them) to be kind of wierd. Awkward looking machines. Don’t really get the appeal. The Lotus Europa that came through recently held the same status in my mind. Look like kit cars, have weak drivetrains, yet still can be fun to drive on the days they run. It’s something unique, but is there enough interest in them to commit to one?

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  9. Tirefriar

    I am always surprised at how reasonable vintage Saabs can be. This is a perfect example. I’m not a Saab purist, so I don’t mind tasteful mods. In fact this one is done to my liking – visually appearing stock while modified where it counts. If this car was near by, temptation would be great….

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  10. MikeW

    aluminum body won’t rust but the chassis sure will.

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  11. tspoto

    Fiberglass body, not aluminum. If it did have a Cologne 6 then the transmission has had some modifications. They are not the most robust of transmissions. I’m thinking as has been mentioned the third HT wire is for the coil. I am assuming he placed the jack under the axle tube. Oh, and I have a 74 Sonett in the garage.

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  12. VanD

    Called on this car morning of New Years Eve as it was local – sounded like a solid car. Had to wait for my daughters friend to pick her up after a sleepover and at 11 called for directions. Was just sold to the “Gas Monkey Garage” guy….so pissed at myself I didn’t just tell the owner “I’ll take it and be there with cash at noon”. I hope they don’t ruin it (lowering, big wheels etc..)…

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  13. Carlton Knitting Society

    Thanx to whomever posted my CL ad. It did end up sold to gasmonkey…Thanx, Cheers

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