Project Or Parts? 1973 Saab Sonett III

When it comes to affordable project cars, they really don’t come much cheaper than this 1973 Saab Sonett III. Hand the seller a mere $400, and you will have for yourself one very interesting car. It is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. This is a very affordable car that might be worth a bit of a look. I have to say thank you so much to Barn Finder Roger for spotting the Swedish classic for us.

Ever the masters of doing things differently, Saab produced some really interesting cars. The Sonett III is a perfect example, because not only did it look futuristic when new, but it was one of the most aerodynamically efficient production cars on the market at that time. This one is going to need some restoration work because there are some pretty obvious areas of fatigue in the body’s fiberglass. The owner doesn’t provide any information about the car’s structural condition, but if it has spent the majority of its life in New Mexico, there is a real possibility that it will be solid. The Sonett is missing its bumpers and side marker lights from the front fenders, but the remaining external trim and the glass appear to be in reasonable condition. That raises an interesting fact to consider. Even if you look at the Saab purely as a parts car, it must be worth the asking price for the glass alone.

This is a cheap car, so I wasn’t expecting much from the interior. It definitely will need plenty of work, but it really isn’t as bad as I was expecting. It does appear to be complete, with the exception of the seats. I’m not sure where the seats came from, but they definitely aren’t original. The rest of the interior does appear to be original, so it could make a reasonable starting point for interior refurbishment.

The 1,698cc V4 engine powering the Sonett III was sourced from Ford. It produces 65hp, which finds its way to the front wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. With such low engine power, the outright performance wasn’t anything spectacular, but a Sonett was still a competent performer. This one doesn’t run, and it isn’t even clear if the engine turns freely. However, it does appear to be complete, and many parts can be surprisingly easy to source.

It somehow seems fitting to find a Saab Sonett III on Barn Finds, as if you trace the lineage of the car back to its very roots, the original prototype Sonnet was designed and constructed in a Swedish barn back in the early 1950s. This one is a complete car, and at the asking price, it would make either a cheap project or an affordable parts car. I don’t think that it’s a bad deal at the price.

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Comments

  1. Speedy Gonzalez

    I never got why these were always so cheap, I like them a lot. I almost bought one for $700 that had been running the previous year and had no rust.

    Like 2
  2. PaulG

    Coming soon to a Suzuki Samari chassis near you!

    Like 6
  3. Bill the Engineer

    This would make a screaming electric conversion. Too bad I have too many projects on my plate.

    Like 4
  4. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Amazing price if you needed the spares this could give up.
    Or a bargain basement project to fiddle with.

    Like 2
  5. PDXBryan

    I think this one looks as good or better than the one I bought in 1977 for $1000. These are about the most fun you can have with FWD. GAWD what a hoot! But remember to be nice to the transmission.

    Like 2
  6. LARRY

    Talk about different..how often do you see these in decent shape. Its been many many moons since I saw one…gorgeous body and that v4…..if I had somewhere to put it this baby would be mine!!

    Like 1
  7. Paul Jackson Member

    This front wheel drive configuration was very popular in the 60’s and 70’s for ice racing in central Maine. I don’t know if this model has the free wheeling feature, which made for an interesting ride

    Like 3
  8. Geoff

    Someone on a SAAB forum I frequent went to see it and said it was very rust-free and worth saving.

    Like 2

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