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Saab Sonett

Saab Sonett is the name of a series of automobiles from Saab. Sonett I was called "Saab 94". Sonett II and III are also known as "Saab 97". In the 1950s Rolf Mellde suggested that Saab should make a small number of open two seater sport cars as the racing regulations didn't allow Saab to tune their cars as much as was needed to be competative. Rolf Mellde designed the car himself and in utter secrecy built it in in a barn in Åsaka outside Trollhättan. Only a very limited number of persons working on the project knew about it and it was done in thei spare time. The total cost of the project was 75 000 kr.

Sonett I

Saab Sonett Mk1 © Martin Bergstrand

On March 16, 1956 the Saab Soneet Super Sport or Saab 94 (later known as Sonett I) was displayed at Stockholms Bilsalong. Only 6 made, the original had hand crafted body and the other was made in fibreglass using the original as model. It had a three cylinder 748 cc two stroke engine giving 57.5 hp. The design was advanced for its time and was based on aluminium boxes. However the racing rules were changed and since Saab now was allowed to race using tuned up standard cars only six were produced. In September 1996 car number 1 broke the swedish speed record for cars up to 750 cc with a speed of 159.4 km/h.

Sonett II

1968 Saab Sonett Mk2 V4 © Martin Bergstrand

In the 1960s Björn Karlström suggested that SAAB should develop a new two seater sports car with two stroke engine, but this time a coupe and not a cabriolet. Two prototypes were developed, Saab MFI13 by Malmö Flygindustri and Saab Catherina by Sixten Sason and the MFI13 was the one that was selected for production. In 1966 the MFI13 was, after some modifications, put into production at ASJ in Arlöv as "Saab 97". The engine was a three cylinder, two stroke engine giving 60 hp. The Sonett II could do 0-100 km/h in 12.5 seconds and had a top speed of 150 km/h.

When Saab started using the Ford V4 engine in their standard cars the ofcorse also wanted to use it in the Sonett and it was changed to Sonett II V4, with the 1500 Ford V4 engine and a 'bulge' on the hood/bonnet. The bulge was necessary to fit in the larger engine andf the new hood was designed by Gunnar A Sjögren. The bulge is slightly to the right to it wouldn't obstruct the view of the driver. The engine produced 65 hp and the Sonett IIV4 made 0-100 km/h in 12.5 s and has a top speed of 160 km/h.

Sonett III

1973 Saab Sonett Mk3 © Martin Bergstrand

In the 1970s the Sonett design started to feel a bit outdated and for the redesigned Sonett III Saab called in Sergio Coggiola. It was important that the middle section would be unaltered, but Coggiola ignored that and made a significantly wider car, but the design was altered by Gunnar A Sjögren to fit the middle section. Due to demands from the US market the Sonett III had a floor shift instead of the column shift used in the previous models. It also came with an optional air conditioning, also a request from the US market.

The Sonett III used the same V4 engine, started with 1500 cc from 1972 with 1700 version and the type indicator '97' in the chassis number. The engine gave 65 hp and the Sonett III made 0-100 km/h in 13 s and had a top speed of 165 km/h. Production was ended in 1974 due to stricter exhaust reguations in the US.

Sonett IV

Sonett IV was planned to be a 2+2 sportcar with a 2 litre turbocharged engine, but the project never got very far.

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