Snappy Swedish Sporting Rarity: 1973 Saab Sonett III 4-Speed

  • February 16, 2021
The Rundown
  • Rare Italian Designed Fiberglass Body
  • Extensive High-Quality Restoration
  • Factory Installed V4 Engine
  • One of 8,368 Produced from 1970-1974
Why We Like It

Let’s face it: when you think of vintage sports cars, Saab is not the first brand that comes to mind. Although Saabs had been campaigned successfully, especially in rally racing, for years in European sporting events, they were mostly modified sedans, and a handful of early Sonett models developed primarily just for racing. That all changed in 1967 with the arrival of the Ford-engined Sonett V4. The installation in the previously two-stroke-engine Sonett necessitated an unsightly hood bulge, prompting a redesign that emerged as the Sonett III. Introduced in 1970, the Sonett III was a cool-looking fiberglass-bodied two-seater coupé styled by the Italian designer, Sergio Coggiola, with production engineering adaptations by Swedish designer, Gunnar A Sjögren. The Sonett III was powered by the 1,500c Ford V4 engine up to 1971 when it was replaced by the 1,700cc unit. By the time production ceased in 1974 a total of 8,368 cars had been made.


snappy-swedish-sporting-rarity-1973-saab-sonnet-iii-4-speed76626015-770-0@2XThis snappy Sonett was sold new in 1974 to Mitch Teal of Salem Oregon from John & Phil's Toyota / Saab dealership on N.W. Fifth Street, in Corvallis, OR. Teal used the car during his collage years before parking it 1984 in his parent's barn. It sat in the barn for 33 years and then he sold it in 2017 to the current and second owner who undertook an extensive three year $40k restoration from 2017- 2020. Restoration details include upgrading the original Ford V4 engine (front wheel drive) from 65HP to 100HP, and a transmission rebuild. The car originally left the factory yellow, however the color was changed to Safari Green (Safarigrön) which was a correct 1973 Saab Sonett color. The original seats have been refurbished with the exact material Saab used from SMS Auto Fabrics. The trunk area is nice and solid as well as the battery box and spare tire compartment. The car comes with spare, jack, tools and original owner's manual. The restoration must have been a labor of love and it is really fun to see one of these done to such a high standard. The seller claims the extensive three year $40k restoration that took place from 2017- 2020 was an effort to create “one of the best Sonett's on the planet”. From the photos, it looks like he may very well have succeeded.


Valuation Verdict

Clean Saab Sonetts do not come up for sale very often. Most of the cars we could find that have been sold in recent years have sold for around the $10,000 range, however, NADA gives them a high retail value of $19,500 and Hagerty $15,300 for a concours condition car. That being said, locating a Sonett lll that has been the recipient of a lavish restoration is highly unusual. These cars were next to worthless for many years making them not economically viable to restore, but have gathered interest by collectors recently and could be poised to appreciate. If you want one of these cars and want one of the best, here it is for less than the cost of restoration.

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