Swedish Sports Car: 1974 Saab Sonett III

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In the world of oddballs, the Saab Sonett may be one of the more curious coupes ever made. Now, as a company, Saab is no stranger to quirkiness; some might even say that the company’s entire legacy is based on that quality. While Saab is most well known for its safe, handsome hatchbacks, the company also has a legacy of racing and rallying that revealed an interest in building a competitive sports car that ultimately took shape of the Sonett. This 1974 Sonett shown here on eBay is technically a Sonett III model, and has clearly been looked after by its enthusiast owner. Bidding sites at $7,500 with no reserve.

If you’re like me, you scan classifieds pages like craigslist and Marketplace quite often. And if you have a tendency to lean European in your searches, it’s almost inevitable you’ll come across a rough Sonett or three. These cars strike me as being fairly cheap to buy and endlessly intriguing to almost anyone, even enthusiasts with no direct connection to the Saab brand. The compact shape, the pop-up headlights, the wild “soccer ball” wheels – from a visual standpoint, the Sonett is hard to ignore. And the surprising part? The Sonett III was probably the tamest of the various eras, with the exceedingly limited production Sonnet I the wildest of all.

The Sonett had all the trimmings of a sports car, and I considered the deeply sculpted bucket seats to be the most significant calling card of all – they look like they belong in a Porsche Speedster. The reality was, however, that these were not particularly sporting cars and it never broke through as a game changer in the sports coupe space. The Sonett had disappointing sales overall, despite the fact that many enterprising Saab engineers over the years had helped keep the model alive and pioneered various innovations in low curb weight and slippery aerodynamics. The seller reminds us that its fiberglass construction helps keep the Sonett light on its feet and to make the most out of its humble V4 powerplant.

The Ford V4 put 65 roaring horses at the disposal of Sonett owners, and while that may not seem like much, it likely felt downright sporting in a compact and lightweight coupe such as this. Unlike most Sonett’s we see come up for grabs, this seller has performed a respectable amount of proactive maintenance, including a new clutch, shocks, front brake rotors, and fuel pump, along with reupholstering the seats and headliner. The seller claims his Sonett draws a crowd wherever it goes, and his only reason for selling is to focus on a camper van project. Would you ever consider owning a Sonett?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. JDC

    A tremendously underappreciated sport car of the 70s. I’m really amazed that the prices on these remain reasonable. This is one of the better looking ones I’ve seen advertised.

    Like 20
  2. BimmerDudeMember

    My usual caution with this drivetrain: transaxle bearings. I had a 1991 96 and the bearings started to fail, bought a used trans nearby me in CT and it started to fail too. The white-hair tech at the New Britain Saab dealer rebuilt the original trans and everything was fine except for some New Hampshire body rust. It took a 20-30 minute freeway run to heat up the original trans enough of start binding up.

    Like 3
    • Kim

      I knew a doctor that owned one in the early 70s and he was certainly no racer, but rather just drove his Sonett to work. He constantly complained that it was always in the shop for transmission work. Other than that he seemed to like it.

      Like 0
  3. Ralph

    We had one of these bought new in the early 1970s. Great car, a fun to drive.

    Like 6
  4. Truth

    Now that’s cool. Good deal.

    Like 3
  5. CalXR

    Loved my Sonett. Fast it was not, but it was lots of fun to drive. Less fun to park, or rather to find once parked. It could hide easily behind a Corolla.

    Like 4
    • wjtinfwb

      That’s classic. You could probably garage a Sonett in a Chevy Suburban !

      Like 3
  6. Wademo

    These and Opel GT’s. Great looking but no performance. Probably why the prices are still reasonable.

    Like 4
    • Cobraboy

      One wonders if you could stuff something with juice under the hood of an Opel GT. Those were great-looking little cars, one of the best.

      Like 2
      • ACZ

        I used to see an Opel GT at the Sloan Museum show in Flint, MI. It had a 455 Buick in it. Talk about a tight squeeze.

        Like 1
  7. luckless pedestrian

    Nice shots of the car driving in the attached music video…

    Like 0
  8. Cobraboy

    Remember the 2-stroke Sonett’s?

    Now that was an interesting sled!

    Like 0
    • luckless pedestrian

      Sonett II… 3 cylinders and 4 on-the-tree…

      Like 2
  9. Ray

    Check for frame rust especially behind the glove box below the windshield frame.

    Like 0
  10. Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

    Looks very good, but it is typical that the fiberglass body hides rust in the floors, underpan, and trunk areas. The license plate (not Jeff) indicates this to be a New York car which would worry me having grown up there in salt country.

    Like 0
  11. Curt Holmes

    Have a 73 Sonett III, in my Saab collection. Absolutely love it. Draws people to itself…it is so much fun to drive.. I do expect the value of these to climb, as one of few fiberglass body cars yet to really do so. Great looking car and price is low.

    Like 1

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