Sitting 29 Years: 1974 Saab Sonett III

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

Considering their low production volume relative to other Saab models, it’s amazing how many Sonett IIIs have survived and can still be found for sale. Having only been writing for Barn Finds for a few months, this 1974 Saab Sonett III here on eBay in Osceola, Wisconsin is the third one I’ve covered. As we’ll see, its condition seems to support my theory that people hang onto their Sonetts because the fiberglass bodies conceal frames which have an unfortunate tendency to rust badly.

According to the seller, this Sonett was last on the road nearly three decades ago, still wearing its Kentucky license plate with a 1992 registration sticker. A few things jump out; first is the black paint, a color that was never offered from the factory. Secondly, there is the hood bulge which has been modified to be taller than stock and we’ll find out more about that later. Finally, the rocker panels are showing some obvious rust which does not bode well for the anything else underneath. Those flaws aside, the chunky bumpers are still in nice shape and the soccerballs wheels look good aside from three missing center caps. Four new tires are included, two of which are already mounted.

The interior is in reasonable well-preserved condition, aside from the ripped corduroy inserts of the bucket seats. The carpet is either removed or missing and in doing so reveals the rusty floors beneath. The shift knob is missing as well. The seller states that the car is 99% complete with some of the parts being in boxes, so hopefully that’s where these missing pieces have ended up.

Under the hood is the 1.7 liter Ford V4 that powered the Sonett III as well as the 96 sedan on which it is based. The seller has included a link to an hour-long video giving a walkaround of the car as well as documenting his progress in getting the engine started after such a long slumber. A two-barrel carburetor was added in place of the stock one-barrel and a taller air cleaner was installed, necessitating the larger hood bulge that was mentioned earlier. The footage underneath the car shows an abundance of rust so a restoration will be challenging. The brake and clutch hydraulics are seized and will also have to be addressed after sitting so long.

With two days left of bidding, the price sits at $3500 with no reserve which is not bad for a running Sonett. Like any other Saab of this era, the big concern is rust and this one has a lot of it. It would be an ideal donor if a solid frame could be found. Do you have what it takes to finish reviving this old Swedish sports car?

Auctions Ending Soon



    I’m a BIG fan of Derrick and VGG

    Like 4
  2. Alex

    This is the Saab recently “recovered” on Vice Grip Garage, on youtube. You can see his Buick parked in the background.

    Like 4
  3. Roger

    Well, I’ll be dipped. Love these cars.

    Like 2
  4. djjerme

    lol, there’s two of these rusting away several blocks from my place. Been watching them for the past 15 years melt in to the asphalt.

    Like 1
  5. billMember

    ahh haa.. this is Derek’s Sonnet, from Vice Grip Garage… a great channel to watch….

    Like 3
  6. Tim Winker

    I just sold a pair of Sonett IIIs for $500, delivered! A non running project with a load of spares. The chassis on one was completely shot, but the other had floors and rockers replaced at some time in the past.

    Like 1
  7. angliagt angliagtMember

    I found two of these in a wrecking yard in Oak Level,Virginia.
    I was surprised to see them,along with a lot of other interesting vehicles.

    Like 2
  8. PRA4SNW

    What, no photos of the mentioned beer cans? I’m disappointed. ;-)

    Like 1
  9. Gary

    Such pretty cars. Why not more popular?

    Like 4
    • SubGothius

      Perhaps just a bit too weird and tiny for most tastes? They really are tiny, the sort of car you “put on” more than “get into”.

      This one resembles the very first one I remember seeing as a lad, black with the soccer-ball wheels. Also saw one at a car show once that had an OG 900S 16v powertrain swapped in.

      It’s occurred to me these could be the ultimate speed-radar stealth vehicle, small target profile, fiberglass body that doesn’t reflect much radar signal, maybe lean back the radiator somewhat to make that less of a reflector… 🤔

      Like 1
  10. Bob-O

    Back around 1974 or maybe 1975 I test drove a new Sonett. The sales guy drove it off the lot with me in the passenger seat. We got to an intersection where he was talking about how great front-wheel drive is. He came to a stop, dumped the clutch and then made an immediate right square turn with the tires spinning. It was pretty cool! I didn’t buy it, BTW.

    Like 5

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds