Mellow Yellow: 1974 Saab Sonett III

It is impressive how many Saab Sonett IIIs still come up for sale considering their relatively low production volume when compared to the 96 sedans that they were based on. This 1974 Sonett III is available here on eBay in Cincinnati, Ohio as part of an estate of a classic car collector. It is said to have been garage-kept since new.

The fiberglass body is in great condition and has been refinished in its original shade of Mellow Yellow, one of a few flamboyant colors offered on the Sonett in its final year of production. The black bumpers, rocker panels, and hood bulge all help this bright hue to pop. A few giveaways for the repaint, however, are the rear taillight panel, front grille area, and side mirrors, all of which would have been blacked out on a ‘74. The bottom of the hood has been painted instead of left as raw fiberglass, and as a result helps give this Sonett a little less of a kit car vibe, despite being factory-built. There is no mention made of the condition of the frame, so a potential buyer will want to look closely at the rocker panels, floor pans, and suspension attachments points, which were all prone to rust on old Saabs. One theory as to why so many Sonett IIIs have survived is because their fiberglass bodies conceal rust issues, but hopefully that is not the case here.

All Sonett IIIs were available from the factory with a brown interior with either vinyl and corduroy, or optional leather seats. This one has been redone with black carpeting and vinyl seats with silver cloth inserts. The door panels have also been done up in a custom black and silver design, using the same materials as the seats. The owner of this car must have really enjoyed yellow because several elements of the interior are painted to match, including the pedals, instrument panel, ash tray, parking brake handle, and seat frames. This interior treatment is unique, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It should not be a deal breaker if it is an otherwise solid and well-sorted car. The yellow bits could be repainted and there are plenty of parts cars out there with stock interiors.

Under the hood sits a Ford 1.7-liter V4 engine with valve covers that have also been painted to match the body. After sitting for some time, the old gas was drained and replaced with fresh fuel and a new battery was fitted. It starts and is said to run, but probably needs a carburetor cleaning. This would be a good chance to ditch the substandard original one-barrel FoMoCo carburetor and replace it with a Weber 34 ICH, a common upgrade for Saab V4 cars. A cool engineering touch on these Sonetts is the brace at the top of the engine compartment that doubles as a coolant overflow tank.

At the time of writing, there are just over two days left on the auction with more than 40 bids up to $8,000 with no reserve, which is within a reasonable price range for a good driver-quality Sonett III. Could you see yourself behind the wheel of this Mellow Yellow Swede?


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Yesterday,I came across two of these at a
    wrecking yard in Oak Level,VA.

    Like 3
  2. chrlsful

    really like them (even in the day). Love to play w/that tanus bent4 (became the essix bent6).
    Gotta aficionado in the city (Somerville? Malden? MA) on uTube shown ona few rescues. He wrks on the different models too…

    Like 1
    • Gerard Frederick

      Please use the english language when commenting. Your writings are unintelligible for the most part. Local City Colleges offer classes in remedial English.

      Like 12
      • William Johnson

        We are not to belittle people, and I ain’t gonna take it no more.

        Like 5
      • grant

        Unless “Local City College” was the actual name of the institution, it wouldn’t be capitalized. Basic English.

        Like 2
  3. Ralph

    Too bad about the screaming yellow everywhere.
    If this was stock, and as clean as it looks I would buy it for 20K no problem…
    These are such fun cars, hate to admit it but if they had offered these with A/C from the factory I would get this one for sure.
    But in Alabama (Satan’s buttcrack), one must have A/C to survive the summer.
    Damn…can’t always get what you want.
    Beautiful car though.

    Like 2
  4. Ralph

    These later models look even better with the bumpers removed, but YMMV.

  5. Jcs

    Having always admired these cool and unusual little cars I have often wondered if the modern average American man of 6′, 225# and up fits in these things.

    The sellers agent sure is enthusiastic that the body is so ding free. Not often do you find “dings” in fiberglass.

    • David Kann

      My brother had one. I’m 6’3″. Forget it. Drove with my knees against my chin.

      Like 1
  6. Mark Fisk

    This car is super clean as a pin , I saw the car when my friend purchased it from the estate supposedly it had an older restoration and was displayed in a Saab dealership . I don’t even like Saab’s but though about buying it because it was so clean just have too many cars at the moment .

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