Saab commenced production of the Saab Sonett II in 1966, making 28 units that year and following up with another 230 units of the two-stroke version in 1967 before switching to the V4 four-stroke engine for the rest of the car’s short production life. There were only 1,868 Sonett II’s produced in total before the Sonett III came to life.
With only 258 two-stroke Sonetts ever produced, it’s fair to say that a chance to see – let alone ride in – a Saab Sonett II two-stroke is a rare thing. I was fortunate enough to do both at the Saab Owners Club 2010 national gathering in Bath.
This Saab Sonett II stroker belongs to a guy named Peter B. He bought the car from a seller in Switzerland around four years ago. Amazingly, the seller actually had two to choose from when Peter bought the car.
It’s fair to say that Peter’s put a fair bit of work into the car. It’s also fair to say that he won’t be parting with it any time soon (though I’ve already told him that if he does decide to sell, he should call Australia first!).
That interior is quite special because only the two-stroke Sonetts got the wooden panel. The V4 Sonetts that came later got a black plastic dashboard instead. Whilst either dashboard looks classical and just fantastic, the wood really does look special.
Powering this particular Sonett II along the road is a Saab two-stroke engine, 841cc capacity and output of around 60hp. That’s only a little less power than that four-stroke V4 that replaced it, but the car was much lighter at around 660kgs compared to the Sonett III’s 800kg.
This is why purists love the Sonett II – it’s lighter weight. It’s no rocketship, but if you keep the revs and the power up then these cars just love to maintain speed whilst you push them into corners.
A note to the… ahem…. larger gents out there reading this. Ingress and egress from a later model Saab Sonett III is not an easy nor simple task. In a Sonett II, it makes for champagne comedy and I’m sure one or two people in England would still have a chuckle at the memories of me trying to get out of Peter’s stroker.
For me, though, it was worth every second. The experience of riding in the Sonett II stroker was one I’ll long remember and my thanks go to Peter for the opportunity.