Saab Sonett and the original Tron movie

What do these vehicles have in common?

Saab Sonett….

Light Cycle from the movie, Tron (from 1982)


The answer lies in the sound.

A website called “Unidentified Sound Object” spoke to the Sound Designer from the original Tron movie, a guy named Frank Serafine. One of the questions they asked was concerned with the sounds used for the Light Cycle.

Max Petrosky: I want to discuss about how you created some of the sound effects. I remember you were telling me earlier that the Lightcycle was created by using a Prophet-5 synthesizer. What it just a Prophet-5 or was it motorcycle sounds mixed in with the Prophet-5?

Frank Serafine: Yeah, it was a combination of Sequential Prophet-5, Minimoog, and then motorcycles that I recorded out in the field with Mike Fremer. We went out to this place called, The Rock Store, it’s like the only place in Southern California where you can come and race in motorcycle racing, because it’s so far out there in the middle of nowhere, and hard to get to that the only way they can catch people is by helicopter. So, they leave everybody alone out there and these guys go out there by the hundreds and race. We got these guys to come and do some incredible stuff for us. You know, all of their “crotch rockets” and racing through the hills and then we were able to mount the microphones onto the motorcycles and have them drive around and Michael Fremer had this interesting Saab Sonett 4-cylinder sports car and we put microphones inside the engine and went, you know, that same day, went riding around with his car and we ended up using a lot of that as well.

So there you go.

All you Sonett owners can now imagine you’re dressed up like this guy the next time you get your Sonett out for a drive πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, it seems the latest generation of Light Cycles from Tron Legacy have not benefited from the soundtrack provided by a Saab V4. It’s the price we pay for technology moving ‘forward’, I guess πŸ™‚

My thanks for Ryan G for the link. A fantastic piece of Saab Trivia.

9 thoughts on “Saab Sonett and the original Tron movie”

    • I meant that interview was cool….NOT the picture of the TRON guy. (Swade, you need to warn us about pictures like that. My eyes! My eyes!…. πŸ™‚ )

  1. Cool story. However Frank Serafine has taken some liberties in describing the Rock Store…….yes, a lot of motorcycles out there on Sunday and weekends……AND a lot of Highway Patrol! That is the worse place in the world to do any street racing……and it has been that way for 30 years. It is not in the middle of nowhere… is 4 miles from the 101 freeway. I hate to rain on Frank’s parade…..but.

    Swade this is not far from the 94x intro you went to. Just 6 miles down Mulholland highway from where you were on Cold Canyon Road.

  2. It’s all true! It was a blue Sonett…. I also owned two model 96 at the time (1972)β€”one that I’d bought new for $2737.

    I sold that Sonett when I moved back East in 1986 but kept one rust free 96. I rebuilt the engine in 1990 and bored out the block, added oversized pistons, milled the head, added a mild Isky cam grind and 2bbl Weber (etc.). Drove that car until 2000 when I sold it (couldn’t find time to do the maintenance)…meanwhile I bought a 1990 900 and used the 96 just for summer fun. Later had a “new” 900 hatchback, (lot of problems), traded that for a 9000 (great!) and then a 9-5, and then a 9-3 Vector (short lived badge due to trademark issues) and then a 9-3 Aero… Now I have a Saab 9-3 Turbo X that I LOVE! So I’ve been a Saab fanatic since 1972….Thanks for posting this backgrounder on the TRON soundtrack! And please visit my music review website:!

    • Absolutely awesome story and thanks for closing the loop Michael. Great to hear that SAAB still runs strong in your veins too. Turbo X, nice.

  3. Hi Mike, long time no talk. I was just going to say that you were a real live human. To the best of my knowledge your old green 96 is still in the metro NYC area; the guy is a client. Cheers, Chip

    • Does Peter still own it? That’s good! I was afraid living in NYC would mess it up….I had “visiting rights” after two years he stopped bringing it over… who can blame him? If I could post photos here I’d post one of the Sonett used in TRON and my favorite 96…

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