Saab produced two proper sports cars during the latter half of the 20th century known as the Saab Sonnett II and Saab Sonnett III. Neither one of these models ever gained the acclaim of Saab’s more popular models.
There aren’t many vehicles that turn heads as easily as a vintage sports car, so it’s no surprise that some enthusiasts try to add as many as they can to their garage. While some older sports cars are icons that inspired generations to come, others are more niche and at risk of being forgotten.
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super app, has put together this guide that will go through Saab’s history with producing sports cars and what models you could consider buying today.
Does Saab make sports cars?
Saab Automobile AB has been officially defunct since 2016 and hasn’t produced a car since 2011, much to the disappointment of its moderate yet passionate fan base. It’s been even longer since the company made a
sports car, although it did so twice: With the Saab Sonnet II and the Saab Sonnett III.
Neither of the Sonnets ever garnered quite as much attention as Saab’s fan-favorite model, the
Saab 900. While difficult to mistake for a sports car, the Saab 900’s unique exterior, excellent performance, and optional convertible style make it a competitive choice for those loyal to the brand.
Let’s take a look at how all three of these models stack up.
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Saab Sonnet II
It wasn’t until 1966 that they started manufacturing sports cars in any significant number, doing so first with the Sonnet II. Although not all that popular in the U.S. market, the car had a niche for certain racing categories and was produced for four years.
The Sonnet II is remembered more for its style than it is for any kind of stunning performance benchmarks. Sure, the car was used for racing, but a sub 100 mph top speed and sluggish 0-60 time weren’t blowing anyone away.
The Sonnet II did eventually receive an upgraded Ford Taurus V4 65 hp engine, and that did well to boost its performance. Nailing down the price of a Sonnett II is difficult due to limited quantities and the rarity of sales, but according to
Classic, they have an average price of around $11,600.
Saab Sonnett III
The next version of the Sonnet remained similar to the later version of the Sonnett II as it was equipped with the same 65-hp engine. What the Sonnett III had changed about the sports car was the appearance—distancing itself from the highly criticized design of its predecessor.
The new-look Sonnet III is much smoother than the Sonnett II, especially on the front of the car. Although it’s still much closer in design to a traditional Saab than a conventional sports car, the appearance is far less busy than earlier models.
The Saab Sonnet III also added some more modern features to the car, such as air conditioning. The car was available until 1974 and also has an average sale price of around $11,000.
Nobody is going to mistake the Saab 900 for a sports car, but its popularity and performance both drastically outpace any version of the Sonnet. The later models also had a convertible option, something entirely unavailable on the Sonnet II and Sonnet III.
Although the Saab 900 had a 16-year run, we’ll focus on the more recent high-performance version of the car. The Saab 900 Turbo’s 2.0-liter I-4 engine produced 160 hp, far and away exceeding anything offered by Saab sports cars that preceded it.
Although those specs don’t hold a candle to modern sports cars, any Saab lover looking for decent performance should probably opt for this ride. Kelley Blue Book estimates a
fair purchase price of around $2,500, but you’ll need to spend more if the car has low usage or is in great condition.
A history of the Saab sports car
Saab’s relationship to sports cars might not be as long or well-documented as more popular brands, but it’s still worth learning about if you’ve ever owned or had an interest in one of their models. Here is a basic breakdown of the Saab sports car timeline:
1949: Saab produces the Saab 92, its first car, in December of this year.
1950s: Saab experiments with their first-ever sports car, which is eventually known as the Saab Sonnett I. The car is never mass-produced and the project is temporarily put to rest.
1966: Saab produces the first-ever Saab Sonnet II. These cars are mostly used for racing, although they don’t quite have the speed or acceleration to compete with high-end sports cars.
1967: The Saab Sonnet II receives an upgrade in the form of the Ford Taurus V4 engine.
1970: The Saab Sonnet III is introduced. It is visually distinct from the Sonnet II, although the performance remains similar.
1974: The last ever Saab Sonnet is produced. The sports car did not sell quite as well as other models for the company to continue production.
2011: The final Saab leaves the factory, putting to rest the hope that the company would produce another sports car shortly.
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