Carlsson’s Sonett

This would be soooooo cool.

The story in TTELA is that of Johan Josefsson. Aside from being the tech guy who helped out the Saabs United Historic Rally Team in the Midnight Sun rally last year, his primary claim to fame is a beautiful orange Saab 99 service vehicle and a collection of other Saabs.

TTELA asked him about one very special part of that collection, which sounds like a relatively recent acquisition, too.

This silver Sonett II is not just one of the incredibly rare two-strokers, it was previously owned by Erik Carlsson himself!

And how did they find this out? Well, Josefsson is apparently one of those true Saab geeks, and he knew the chassis number of Erik’s car. Carlsson later confirmed it and signed the vehicle for him last summer 🙂

The car still needs a restoration, but is a treasure just as it is.

Click the link above and do a Googletrans. It’s well worth the effort.

Thanks to Tomas for the tip!

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 🙂

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 🙂

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

Poll: Which Saab Sonett would you buy?


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.

Me in a Sonett IIThe 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.

Mike's SonettThe 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?

[poll id=”5″]

Autobild photoshop Saab’s future

German magazine Autobild has taken a stab at predicting what the future of Saab might look like, showing their photoshop predictions of a new Saab 9-3, the Saab 9-5 SportCombi and a possible Saab Sonett (they seem to have got their Sonett images from the same source as AMS Sweden).

The 9-3 is the most interesting, I guess, because we saw the Sonett renderings last week and we’ve already seen real, Saab imagery of the 9-5 Combi (though everyone still seems to forget this).

Their rendering of the 9-3, from the front….

AutoBild Saab 9-3

And from the back. The cues from the 9-5 are pretty obvious….

Autobild Saab 9-3 rear

Here’s their rendering of the 9-5 combi, which from my point of view, isn’t quite accurate from the B-pillar back.

AutoBild Saab 9-5 Combi

And, well…… the Sonett is probably best viewed with the AMS Sonett story as it’ll give a bit more background information…..

AutoBild Saab Sonett


From my point of view, I just like the fact that magazines in Germany are writing about Saab again. It’d be a great market for Saab to get some traction in.

My thanks to Lars B (a man with a 4-Saab family, no less) for sending through the imagery!

AMS Sonett Story

I showed some pictures from Auto Motor and Sport a few days ago. They were AMS renderings of what they think a new Saab Sonett could look like.

Those images appeared in an paper issue of AMS that’s been released to the public today. Oscar K was kind enough to volunteer a translation, and AMS were kind enough to give me the OK to share it here for those not blessed with the Swedish language.

Swedes should go buy a copy of the mag and read it for themselves 🙂 .

Thanks to Oscar for the translation.


“Victor Müller told us that the Saab 92 will be a “modern retro” and claims that the design department already got the main character of the car finished. Saabs new head of design Jason Castriota confirms that the “model 92” is being created, but he doesn’t want to describe it as a retro – “not in the same way as a Mini or a Fiat 500”. But it will have unmistakable features, which you can easily associate with other models through Saab’s history, the Head of Design says.

The Saab 92 will be a “buying construction” [that is, they will buy the platform on which they will develop the Saab 92] in the basis, but when it comes to existing models Saab have developed a whole new architecture themselves, which will be the basis of the new 9-3. According to Jan Åke Jonsson the solution is so flexible that it will be the base of the next generation of the 9-5 and the 9-4X. Jonsson confirms that taking home the production of the 9-4X from GM’s factories in Mexico to Sweden is included in Saabs plans.

Read moreAMS Sonett Story

Auto Motor and Sport get their Sonett on

Auto Motor and Sport hits the news stands on Thursday, but subscribers get it a little earlier.

I guess one of my contacts on Buzz must be a subscriber, because he’s posted the images there (Thanks T!). Here are the two scans.

Auto Motor and Sport Saab Sonett rendering

Auto Motor and Sport Saab Sonett rendering

Please bear in mind that these would be renderings by an artist contracted by AMS. They’re not official.


I don’t know the tone of the story, but the headline as translated yesterday seemed to indicate a belief that the Sonett might actually be coming, as a competitor to the Audi TT class of vehicles.

Personally speaking, I’m a bit skeptical about that.

I believe Saab will be successful in securing an appropriate partnership to build what’s referred to as the Saab 92 – a small 4-seat hatch with teardrop styling.

A Sonett would likely be shaped on the same architecture, if it were to eventuate. That’s a big “if”, though. The extra money needed to make this work might be hard to get, and the market for 2-seater sports cars is limited, meaning the potential return on the additional investment might be pretty limited, too.

I’d absolutely love for it to happen. A vehicle like this would be a dream come true for me. It embodies everything I love about the driving experience.

I’d love to be wrong, but I won’t count this chicken until it’s hatched.


As noted in comments, Auto Express wrote about this last month. This is a quote from that article…..

I’ve looked at a retake of the Sonett, as Audi did with the TT, and I didn’t have to push the management too hard to justify it.

Aside from my usual reservations about AE content, I think the quote they attribute to Jason Castriota is more about some conceptual drawings and a little fun exploration than a commitment to building the model itself. I think that quote came from an interview around the time of the US launch of the 9-5 at Monticello.

Wednesday Snippets – Sonett edition

One of our regulars here at SU has just bought a mighty fine looking Sonett in the US. I hope to squeeze some good pics out of him when he gains possession soon.

Auto Motor and Sport seem to be keen on Sonetts at the moment, too, though of a different vintage.

AMS Sonett front Cover

I don’t know what the tone of the story is, but their new edition with that front cover will be on sale this Thursday.

Thanks to Kashif, and Sven, for the tip!


Speaking of magazines……

TIME Magazine has just named the Saab 9-5 amongst its Best Cars of 2011.

Good to see!

Thanks to John M and Joe P!


Saab’s quarrel with the Västra Götaland administrative board has just been escalated to “debt collection” status.

The Västra Götaland county loaned Saab a bunch of money when Saab went into administration back in February 2009. This money was used to pay staff salaries at the start of the administration process. The VG county wants repayment of outstanding amounts, which Saab say are not repayable because of the 75% debt reduction they were granted as part of the administration process. Saab have repaid the 25% that they see as their obligation.

Västra Götaland say the loan should have been excluded from that agreement. Saab say it’s part of it. Both sides are sticking to their guns.

VM has previously said that Saab will make provisions and pay the amount if ordered to do so by the courts, but it seems Saab believe they have a solid case and are willing to be persued and taken to the judiciary.


To some more Brown Saabs, then!

This is a 1977 Saab 99GL in Dorado Brown with less than 60,000 miles on the clock! It’s owner is a lady named Linnea K and the car is officially nicknamed “Cocoa”. It has a secondary nickname, too, with the licence plate translating to “angry snail”, which is how it sounds on the highway, apparently 🙂

Cocoa Saab 99GL

AlanH has written in with some Brown Saab memories, too.

For his family, their entire Saab experience started with a brown Saab 99GLE back in 1976, with gold-trimmed soccerball wheels and a brown/gold interior.

Just like the brochure…..

Saab 99 GLE

It’s so good to see brown coming back from it’s 1970s exile.

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