PICK OF THE DAY: Low-milage Saab Sonett “Survivor”

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When a company is “born from jets,” it’s only a matter of time that it should divert slightly from its people’s car roots into something more sporting. Almost immediately following the first passenger Saab, the 92’s, introduction, it made its way into rallying and some years later a car that was aimed at road racing circuits was launched, to compete with the likes of Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Porsche. This was the Saab Sonett I. While only six copies of the Sonett I were introduced, the idea that Saab was aptly capable of doing so was kept in the back of the minds of both engineers. A decade or so after the Sonett I was introduced, bolstered by further success in rallying, the Sonett II was launched and made its way into regular production. Though somewhat less ambitious than its predecessor, the Sonett II proved successful in its class, against Triumphs and MGs, among others. In short it was a bona fide sports car. By the third and final iteration, the Sonett III could’ve been mistaken for something out of Italy, owing to its design rooted in Sergio Coggiola’s pen. Its sleek (0.31 Cx), lightweight (under 900 kg), fiberglass body mated to a Ford V4 motor pulled the little car by its front wheels with respectable performance whist not compromising on the cornerstone Saab traits of safety and economy. This example comes from one if its last years of production, 1972, which is also the last year before being burdened with cumbersome bumpers per US safety standards. It is said to be a survivor though it has had a repaint, been reupholstered, refinished soccer balls, and the stock Autolite carburetor was replaced with a Weber. Ok, so it’s not a textbook ”survivor.” Neverthelss, it is an original 42,000-mileage example that’s been documented since purchase. It presents extraordinarily well and likely is a blast to drive.  Find it here on Craigslist in Springfield VA from a motivated seller for $13,900 or best offer.

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