Saab Sonett

From Academic Kids

Saab Sonett is the name of a series of automobiles from Saab. The Sonett I was called the "Saab 94". The Sonett II and III are also known as the "Saab 97". In the 1950s Rolf Mellde suggested that Saab should make a small number of open-top two seater sport cars as racing regulations did not allow Saab to tune their cars as much as was needed to be competitive. Rolf Mellde designed the car himself and in utter secrecy built it in a barn in Åsaka outside Trollhättan. Only a very limited number of people working on the project knew about it and was done in their spare time. The total cost of the project was 75000 Kronor. The name 'Sonett' is derived from an exclamation in Swedish by Rolf Mellde; "Så nätt den är", but the name was originally suggested for both the Saab 92 and the Saab 93.


Sonett I

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Saab Sonett I

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Saab Sonett I

Saab Sonett I © Martin Bergstrand Saab Sonett I VIN #1 Saab Sonett I #1 © Martin Hilvers

On March 16, 1956 the Saab Sonett Super Sport or Saab 94 (later known as Sonett I) was displayed at Stockholms Bilsalong. Only 6 were made, the original had a hand crafted body and the others were made in Glassfiber Reinforced Polyester (GRP - "fiberglass") using the original car as a model. It had a three-cylinder 748 cc two-stroke engine giving 57.5 hp (43 kW). The body design was advanced for its time and was based on aluminium boxes. However, racing rules were changed and since Saab was now 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

Saab Sonett II V4
1968 Saab Sonett II V4 © Martin Bergstrand

In the 1960s Björn Karlström suggested that Saab should develop a new two seater sports car with a two stroke engine, but this time it would be a coupe and not a convertible. Two prototypes were developed, the Saab MFI13 by Malmö Flygindustri and the Saab Catherina by Sixten Sason. The MFI13 was the one selected for production. In 1966 the MFI13 was, after some modifications, put into production at ASJ in Arlöv as the "Saab 97". The engine was a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine giving 60 hp (45 kW). The Sonett II could do 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds and had a top speed of 150 km/h.

When Saab started using the Ford Taunus V4 engine in their other models, they also wanted to use it in the Sonett II. The car was redesigned and renamed the Sonett II V4, with the 1500 cc Ford V4. A new hood was designed by Gunnar A. Sjögren, with a 'bulge', necessary to fit the larger engine. The bulge is slightly to the right so it would not obstruct the view of the driver. The engine produced 65 hp (48 kW) and the Sonett II V4 made 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 s and had a top speed of 160 km/h.

Sonett III

Saab Sonett III
1973 Saab Sonett III © 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. The Coggiola 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 shifter instead of the column shifter as used in previous models. It also came with optional air conditioning, also a request from the US market.

The Sonett III used the same V4 engine as before, starting with 1500 cc from 1972 with a 1700 version and the type indicator '97' in the chassis number. The engine gave 65 hp (48 kW) and the Sonett III made 0-100 km/h in 13 s and had a top speed of 165 km/h. The drag factor was 0.31. Production was ended in 1974 due to stricter emission regulations in the USA.

Sonett IV

The Sonett IV was planned to be a 2+2 sports car with a 2.0L turbocharged engine, but the project never got very far.

In March 2004 the head of General Motors in Europe, Bob Lutz, stated that he wanted a new Saab Sonett. This time based on the Pontiac Solstice [1] ( Another possible platform that has been mentioned is the Subaru B9 Scrambler.

On April 6 2004 AutoWeek wrote that a new Saab will be based on the GM Kappa platform, but that would be difficult to adapt to front wheel drive. Go ahead has already been given to Saturn's Kappa car, based on the Curve concept created by the Saab advanced design team in Gothenburg, Sweden. A Saab source says "that we're exploring a Sonett-inspired two-seater should be no surprise". It is likely it will be revealed on the 2005 Frankfurt auto show.

External links

Template:Saab Automobile


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