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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Vellum Venom: 1972 Saab Sonett III

Shall I compare thee to an American Muscle car? Thou art Swedish, and designed for lighthearted play. Plus V-4 engines aren't a high-performance star, But Wikipedia says your design was intended for the US of A. (record screeches) Wait, this Saab is spelled Sonett, not sonnet. Enough of this pathetic attempt at poetry!
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/vellum-venom/vellum-venom-1972-saab-sonett-iii/
21 REPLIES 21
donyas
Pit Crew

Loved this car. I've owned 2. Lightweight and a lot of fun. I'd look at it and it would either be beautiful, or awkward and ugly, depending on the particular view. Seeing one these days gives me a little buzz.
glemon
New Driver

I thought the article was a little critical of the details on the car, yes, it was a late 60s design, limited production sportscar from a small volume manufacturer, so the details aren't going to be as well integrated as on a modern car. That said, and as the author acknowledges, overall it looks quite sharp. A mini Italian exotic.

I had one for a short time, felt a bit like a kit car, I was expecting a more advanced engineering and solid of a piece feel. Still the inside too feels like a mini exotic. However, it is no wonder the quirky Saab had trouble selling when you could get a Z-car with twice the power for the same price.
audiobycarmine
Technician

Hey, at least it's not a 3-cylinder, two-stroke engine...
JSievers
Instructor

Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. The two strokes were a lot of fun as well.
Scottyj
New Driver

I have owned 2 1973 Sonetts, one was a parts car that was driveable. The other was was an awesome car. I traded a 73 Plymouth wagon for it and had it for 14 years. It had a MSS carb and exhaust and a sunroof. So much fun !
Xij64
New Driver

Good photos but the article is just inconsequential waffle. How about writing about the driving experience. That is what the car is all about!!!
Sajeev
Community Manager

Vellum Venom is never about driving cars, only about the inconsequential waffle! Sorry to disappoint! 

Magform56
New Driver

For those of us with fond memories of "The Alaska Rally Team" it all seems quite normal. Being tall, I never found a SAAB that I was uncomfortable with, quirky as they were. Loved the center console? ignition switch.
Land_Ark
Intermediate Driver

As always, loving the VV, thank you for taking the time to do this.
I will agree that the front end needs the black paint. But I abide by the body colored hood scoop and especially the body colored rear end. I think with the stock bumper in place it would look perfect.
While not a fan of this car, or Sonnetts in general, I have always had an affection for Saab and its total DGAF weirdness.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Glad you enjoyed this, as per usual. Saabs in general are fun to VV, and now I want to get my hands/eyes on a 900. 

Iso_Grifo
Instructor

It felt like I was examining myself on the grass at a local car show and trying to appreciate all the unique details of a car I'd never seen before in person. Nice article.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Annnd this is why I make these articles.  Thank you very much for this comment. 

Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

You mentioned C3 styling here and there. I think the car that pulled that off well was the Opel GT. This car is just a mess at the front. It gets better and the side and rear profiles look good. I always thought it was a weird and slightly interesting car but not enough to move the needle for me.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Yes the Opel GT was the ultimate European C3. The Sonett III's redesigned body wasn't able to pull off that vibe as well. Still a fun car to examine, though. 

oldbeb
Intermediate Driver

A nice surprise to see this car discussed. During the mid 1970's a buddy who worked at Vasek Polak Saab in Manhattan Beach, CA was in the hospital for a couple weeks and asked me to "fill in" as a salesman. The dealer had a used Sonnet III on the lot that they let me drive home every night. It did have it's shortcomings, but it was a FUN car to drive. The V4 had an unusual exhaust sound, but that just made the car more interesting. While my experience with Saab automobiles was short lived, I enjoyed the them and still admire the pre-GM vehicles.
This article was a little too passive aggressive with the critical slights vs. some admiration for the the car. I'm in agreement with others that you can't write fairly about the Sonett unless you dive one. A FUN car you have to appreciate just because Saab made the attempt. The idiosyncrasies just make it more interesting to drive. An era we will never experience again.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Indeed, sometimes its a shame we don't drive the cars we review on Vellum Venom. This one was a cracker. 

drhino
Technician

I had a ‘74 (the last year of production). That year had the 5-mph bumpers that actually visually lowered the front end, taking care of some of the bad aesthetics (but causing others). Never thought the car was particularly beautiful; but the chicks dig it! First car I ever bought, one owner in ‘78– as a college kid. Absolutely loved it. Absolute blast to drive. A buddy had an X/19 and we used to play around on the back roads— he would gap me in the corners and I would reel him in on the straights. It was fun until he overestimated the grip of those thin tires. Saw him coming up behind me, knew he was too hot, gave him the apex, and off the road he went.

Would have kept it forever; but I lost my storage for it and had to park it outside for a few months. A bolt of lightning hit a rather large tree which fell and crushed the poor thing. Total loss.
Swamibob
Technician

Well done Sajeev!

Really good pics and seriously creative and magnanimous and charitable descriptions... When I look at that I like to say to myself: "Born from Jets, huh? How the might have fallen". 🙂
That should generate some venom.
drhino
Technician

“Born from Jets” was a marketing line created while GM was driving the brand into the ground decades after the Sonett was made.
Snailish
Instructor

I've made a point of giving my kids a mix of vintage Hot Wheels (matchbox, corgi, etc.) to play with some of which are older than me.

Something about a 3 year old saying "give me the Saab Sonett" to her older brother brings a special joy. She remembers the names of quite a few of the toy cars, but the Saab is pretty unique shaped and the worn half-chipped off metallic blue paint makes it stand out.

Ironically I have never seen a Sonett in the flesh myself.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Seek one out, you won't regret the effort!