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53K Mile 1974 Saab Sonett III

It’s a gutsy move to not have a reserve when you’re auctioning a car as nice looking as this 1974 Saab Sonett III is, but that’s the case here. The seller has this beautiful lime green Swede listed here on eBay in Riverside, California and the current bid price is $4,550 with just two days left on the auction. Let’s check it out.

It’s a shame that Saab went away a decade ago, there will never be an updated Sonett, a Sonett IV? Just for the record because it’ll come up in the comments, Saab actually came back from the dead a decade ago as NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) and tried to get the ball rolling again with NEVS-Saab 9-3s but the company lost the license to use the Saab name and now they make basically the same car but EVs without the Saab name attached, the NEVS 9-3EV. I need some aquavit after that.

The Sonett III was, as you all know, the third version of the Sonett which was actually started in the mid-1950s and was made until 1957. The first versions are incredibly rare today with reportedly only six of them being made. 1966 was when the first real production Sonetts came out as the Saab Sonett II and in 1970 the Sonett III came out. They were made until 1974. And again for the record, there was a new Sonett-like sports car named the PhoeniX but that got canceled along with the entire Saab line a decade ago.

I’m not sure if the seating material is original here or not but it looks great. This car only has 53,000 original miles according to the seller and it looks fantastic to me, other than some major rust underneath which is fairly common with these cars. It’s almost always under the rear cargo floor but this one is on the floorboards it sounds like.

The engine in the later Sonett IIIs would be a Ford Taunus-sourced 1.7L V4 with 65 horsepower due to emissions regulations. US bumper regulations also laid down a major design buzzkill on the sleek Italian design but these are still incredibly sexy and fun cars. Have any of you owned a Sonett III?


  1. Howard A Member

    I tend to disagree, not sure what it is about these, I always felt they were, and ugly is such a harsh word, let’s say, oddly designed cars ever, and I come from Milwaukee, and I ought to know( Blatz beer commercial), home of the oddly styled cars. As unusual is the outside, the inside is probably the best there is, “Born from jets”, was their motto, fighter jets being societies highest engineered machine. This is another car I’d love to drive a long distance, maybe just with a bag over my head or after dark. I drove a truck for a guy once, he had 2 of these, a “ring-ding” that was for parts and one like this, and he loved them. I know the author has a hankerin’ for the 3 cylinders,( note the image by his name) but the V4 made all the difference. I think the “innernet”[sic] has eliminated a parts problem for just about any vehicle The downside is these people know you need what they have, and for some odd reason, it makes those parts valuable as gold. I guess, in a way, they are right.

    Like 7
  2. Bob Member

    Owned a first year Sonett many years ago. Have many good memories and always loved the look of the early models as opposed to the later ones such as this. But this is a beauty none the less.

    Like 4
  3. Joe Anastasio

    Major rust underneath? That sets the value of this car. Sonetts are built on a SAAB 96 “chassis”, where a lot of the strength is in the box sections at the door sills. That is the area that is showing rust here. The fiberglass body has to come off and the steel needs to be repaired. Yes parts are available, but there is a lot of work needed to make this one solid again. Stay away unless you like cutting and welding.

    Like 2
  4. C

    There was a junk yard going out of business and they had a Sonnet. a friend made them a low ball offer and they took it. he paid them but took too long to pick it up and they ran it through a crusher:(

  5. Wayne

    Correct me if I’m wrong. But I thought that the floorboards on these were actually wood. So the rust repair would be trunk floor and side sills/rocker area. Correct?

    • RRalph

      Steel floor.

  6. Howie

    No longer available, which usually means they sold it off of FeeBay.

    Like 1
  7. John none Prill Member

    The most fun car that I ever owned. This was 1977-1979, I was 26 when I bought it from a used car dealer specializing in imports. Like driving a go-kart (remember those?) in traffic, only with a body on it. Felt like you were doing 65 mph @ 45 mph. Lived in Chicago at the time, only got stuck once in the snow, backing into a parking spot not dug out. Went ice racing three times in Wisconsin (against the clock) which was a blast. It seems people either love or hate the styling (I’m in the mini-vette group who also like the Opel GT). Never left me stranded, but a hodgepodge of parts…German Ford V-4 engine, Borg-Warner tranny, etc. A mechanic friend said that it looked like a kit car. Got tired of it being needy to keep on the road.

    Like 3
  8. Duane Barry

    I have a 1974 SONNET since 1975, it now has 99,490 miles on it.
    Only replaced front disc pads and put i rings at 90,000 fun to
    Drive and good on the road in any weather.

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Scotty, not a very gutsy move when the seller can pull the auction at any time with any lame excuse they can come up with, which it seems that this seller decided to do.

    Like 1

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