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SAAB Sonett-Worthless Heap or Classic?

martianmartian Posts: 220
I saw one of these the other day-kinda ratty, with lots of body dings, and trailing blue smoke.
Reading up on them, it seems they were never very hot cars (0-60 13.5 seconds), and in its final incarnation, 65 HP.
Are these cars worth anything, or are they just a curiosity?
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Comments

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    I'll help you out a little bit and tell what little I know about Sonetts.

    They first came to the U.S. in 1967 as the Sonett II. A two-stroke engine was standard and the 4-speed gearbox was operated via a column-mounted lever, which in those days was odd for a foreign sports car. The two-stroke only lasted one year, giving way to the Ford-built V-4 in '68.

    The V-4/4-speed combo would follow through to the Sonett III, new for '70. This incarnation lasted until '74. The major differences between the II and the III are with the headlights (pop-up/concealed on III vs. exposed on II) and the interior (console-mounted shifter on III vs. "on-the-tree"). The IIIs were also more expensive, retailing I believe for about $5,000 in '74, its final year.

    Personally, I never liked the looks of them and seeing one in the flesh these days, I think the whole vehicle has a kit-car feel to it. As for performance, you can expect even a Hyundai Sonata to annihilate you on the open highway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    I've owned two of these, briefly, so I kinda know about them.

    No they aren't "worthless" but yes, they are "curiosities" at best in terms of value. I'd place their value from $3000 for a clean driver to $5500 for a pretty nicely restored car.

    For the one you saw, it's pretty obvious that it isn't worth fixing up unless you want some garage therapy and the attention one gets from driving an oddity.

    They're kinda fun, with a sturdy V-4 German Ford engine and a very delicate Saab transmission. They are hard riding and very noisy inside, very much like a kit car in that respect, and some parts are going to be very tough to get.

    If I had a choice, I'd pick a Volvo 544 coupe or P1800 coupe over a Sonett, since they are worth more when restored, are sturdier mechanically, and are more fun to drive IMO.

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  • The sonett is a rare car..less than 10,000 in 8 years of production (not counting the 10 or so produced in 956). Innovative, safe and handle like slot cars. Great rallye cars. Factory roll bar, fiberglass bodied, front wheel drive and freewheeling transmissions..Not, however recommended for a daily driver so why compare them to same? There are far more people who want them than cars that still exist. Price depends on condition, from $1,000 for barely operable to ?? $40,000 for the very best on concours show circuits. Mechanically they are not only strudy, but almost bullet proof . The costs of a first class restoration are what they are and the cars draw alot of attention wherever they go..Just another perspective..
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    edited February 2010
    Good points but....10,000 is not rare in the collector car world. If that were true, a Porsche 924 turbo would be worth a fortune, but it's not.

    Price is driven by supply and demand. Supply of Sonetts is small, but demand is also small. A Sonett 2-stroke immaculately restored and sold in Sweden might bring $25,000 as a historical piece that the Swedes appreciate and relate to (and cost more than that to restore by the way) but a V-4, best in the world, best ever restored, in the USA? Maybe $15K and months if not years to sell it to someone at that price IMO.

    My experience has been a) most for sale are rats and go begging b) the few nice ones attract very eager but very tight-fisted buyers in the US.

    I will agree, though, that their value is slowly rising, even here. Problem is you will never see recovery of your restoration costs, so it's strictly for love.....and it's a rather odd car to love. More something to smile at.

    I've seen too many of these go begging at asking prices, or fail at auction, to believe that they can bring any kind of serious money in the States. A very clean Sonett sold in July 2009 on eBay for $4800 and a decent blue one in original condition (driver) sold for $4000 in November.

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  • 10,000 ever made, far less than 10% remain. @300 made 1966-1967, 900 in 68, 600 in 69, 303 in 1970..the rest thru 1974. Supply and demand is correct. For informed values see http://saabsonett.org/index4.php.....Make no mistake, the very best will always bring an appropriate price..but you are correct in that the curve falls off quickly for the driver quality sonetts..their time may well come quickly though if Spyker brings them back..Happy motoring
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    These prices seem very improbable to me, especially for #2 or #1 cars; but of course they are not impartial parties calculating the values. They want to see these values because they own and love these cars, or sell parts for them. Understandable bias.

    To their credit they do state: "the highest condition category – concours, scored as a “1” –has few market transactions so valuations do not carry a high degree of statistical confidence."

    Which is really what I'm saying is my opinion, too---these price estimates are way too high.

    I would offer my opinion that in the real world the prices are about 50% of what they list them for.

    Even 1000 survivors is a very large number in the world of real collectible cars.

    I'm sure we could both round up a dozen decent Sonetts in a few weeks or at least locate the sellers.

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  • may be off topic but you guys might like this. A very nice Saab Sonett v4!

    http://otcmaterial.com/hunting-for-treasure-jasons-1968-saab-sonett-v4/#more-9
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Nice car! He's obviously done a lot of improvements. I don't know as I could ever live with the column shifter. He should figure out how to convert that to floorshift...I'm sure someone has done that somewhere in the world of Saab Sonett lovers!

    it's a fun car to drive--definitely a "vintage" automobile however--feels like you're driving a dune buggy. :P

    But then, so do early Lotuses.....

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