Imagine you had saved your pennies and you had a rare opportunity to purchase one of your dream Saabs. One that wasn’t released for sale where you live, for example. You have a limited budget, but one of these dream Saabs is actually within your grasp.
The curse of choice.
Imagine if more than one of these dream Saabs was actually within your reach. One’s quite a bit more expensive than the other, but the opportunity to purchase one doesn’t come often. Which one do you go for? The (slightly) more common one that you can generally pick up for less? Or the more rare version that sells for around twice the price?
You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out who the prospective purchaser is. I’ve finally scraped up enough money to purchase and ship a Saab Sonett. There might still be a spanner or two in the works, but I’ve been looking for some time and have found some viable options.
But which model to choose from?
The Saab Sonett V4.
Also known as the Saab Sonett II, but referred to as the V4 because the first Saab Sonett II’s, which are actually called Saab Sonett II’s, were two-stroke models. They’re super-rare these days. The V4s are rare as well. There were only around 1,800 Sonett II’s in total – two-stroke plus V4 – so finding one for sale and in good condition is a pretty rare thing and they tend to sell for good money.
The Saab Sonett V4 in the photo to the right (taken by Eggs) belongs to a mechanic named Ralph at Charles River Saab. It’s in absolutely amazing condition and Ralph was kind enough to let me take it for a spin when I visited for Swedish Car Day. Note: this is not the car for sale. Money can’t buy the relationship Ralph has with this Sonett V4.
The pros for the Sonett V4 are extreme lightness, the beautiful column shift gearchange, unique good looks and of course, the exclusiveness of a very rare but still affordable car.
The cons for the Sonett V4 include rarity, which means some trim pieces might be impossible to find if something goes wrong, unique looks that some find a little odd and finally, a hefty price premium. The one I’ve spotted for sale looks to be in pretty decent condition and is selling for US$10K
The Saab Sonett III
The Saab Sonett III came out in 1970, shares the same Ford V4 engine but a different body on what is basically the same chassis. There were around 10,000 or so of these made over the four-year lifetime of the vehicle, which means they’re a bit more common but still exclusive enough to be considered pretty exotic – especially here in Australia.
The Saab Sonett III to the right is owned by a friend in England named Mike P, and I was fortunate enough to get a good drive of this car back in July. Look close and you’ll see Mrs Swade in that shot. Note once again, this is not the Sonett III that’s for sale. I could only wish.
Pros for the Saab Sonett III include more generally acceptable styling (subjective, of course), more access to the rear for those weekend drives (the III has a proper glass opening where the V4 doesn’t), a slightly wider brotherhood of vehicles should something go wrong and quite importantly, much more reasonable pricing – the Sonett III’s I’m scoping at the moment are around US$4K to $6K.
Cons for the Saab Sonett III – it’s not quite as exclusive as the Saab Sonett V4.
To the polls!
Should I chase the rare opportunity of a Sonett V4, or be (very) content with the Saab Sonett III?