For $2,700, This 1973 Saab Sonett III Could Be Your Summer Sports Car

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Saab derives its name from the Swedish phrase Så nätt den är, which loosely translated means how neat it is. This one’s a rough runner with few miles, but will its price have you saying neat-o?

Okay, so not too many of you were Bi-curious about yesterday’s Lexus 1UZ-FE-powered 1985 Maserati Biturbo. In fact, you all nit-picked it to death. Sure the luxurious interior has been gutted and refitted with an aluminum dash panel marred with ill-fitting gauges. And damn straight if the brake booster isn’t now neighborly with the radiator and is precariously operated by what appears to be a long rod, I’ll give you all that. But, but, but… okay, I give up. In the end, so to did that Maser, and at sixty-five hundred bucks it dropped in a 72% Crack Pipe loss.


In complete contrast to that Maser with someone else’s engine, today’s 1973 Sonett by Saab has… someone else’s engine. Dammit!

When the Sonett was first introduced in 1966 it featured a 748-cc two-stroke triple that was one feisty, and rally-bred little motor. It was also based on a design by the German car maker DKW. I note it as “German car maker” because typically these days when you say DKW most people think of women’s shoes, don’t ask me why.

The Sonett was Saab’s one and only production sports car, and like most of the Swedish company’s wares, it was quirky to say the least. There was that two stroke to be sure, but also a dash-mounted shifter for the FWD 4-speed, and a free-wheeling mechanism. That last one wasn’t actually needed as the Sonett’s two-stroke was auto-oiling.


For the Sonett III Saab kept the freewheeling but ditched the two stroke, replacing it with a V4 engine sourced from Ford’s European operations. It should be noted that this engine is a derivation of the V4 that powered Ford’s mid-engine Mustang I show car back in the early ‘60s, making the Saab a titular heir to that stillborn sports car’s throne.


The central section of the III, including the doors, roof, and windscreen, is the same as the II that preceded it. The nose and tail however, are different, while inside, the shifter was moved from the dash to the floor. These changes, and the engine, were all moves to appeal to the lucrative U.S. market where small sports cars could be sold to starry-eyed Americans seeking to increase their sex appeal automotively.


This ’73 Sonett is claimed in its ad to be a driver, and has only 75K on the clock. The paint on the from clip is worn down to the fiberglass in more places than not, and it’s missing some parts here and there but nothing that would keep it off the road.

On the down-low there are soccer balls, which were factory fitments on the III. Out back everything looks pretty tidy. On to the interior and things are a little more rode-hard-and-put-away-wet, but again it’s nothing that you probably couldn’t put up with while still enjoying the car.


You might want to fit a radio and a set of door speakers, if for nothing more than to cover the gaping holes their absence creates. The cool adjustable lumbar supports on the seats also seem to be missing, which is a buzzkill for both originality and proper lower-back support. Finally, I can’t tell from the pictures but it looks like the wheat-colored carpet could use replacing, or at the very least a natty set of sisal mats.

The 1700-cc V4 in these cars was good for 65-bhp, and that was enough to move the lightweight car to sixty in about 12 seconds- not bad for the era and passable today. The total production for the III was less than 9,000, and if my personal experience at the junk yards is anything to go by, there are a lot fewer than that on the road today.


This one’s still out there fighting the good fight, and its present owner wants it to fight for someone else. To that end he’s set a price tag on the car that says $2,700. Good examples go for tons more, but you wouldn’t really have to do anything to this one just to enjoy it. Maybe an oil change and some Febreze.

What’s your take on this survivor Saab for $2,700, does that seem like a fair deal? Or, is this a Sonett with a price that’s not so neat?


You decide!


Kalispell MT Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to mtdrift for the hookup!

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