Project Car Hell, Bad Photo Edition: Midget or Sonett?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell, Bad Photo Edition: Midget or Sonett?

So we had another near-tie in yesterday's DKW-versus-Fairlady Choose Your Eternity poll, which may be partially attributable to the hard-to-decipher photos in each vehicle's listing. If you can't see the whole car, you can't tell how hellish and/or cool it really is, right? However, those photos were bad just because the sellers were too lazy to move the crap that's blocking the camera. How about the seller who can't seem to operate the camera at all? What does that tell you about the sort of hell you'd be getting into with the car- not just when trying to fix it up, but when negotiating to buy it in the first place?

You can just imagine the sequence of events that will transpire when you try to buy a car from someone who uses photographs like the one in this ad for a 1972 Midget. It appears that the seller used a 1974-vintage tube-based video camera to get the photos, then used a disposable film camera to grab images off a malfunctioning first-gen color TV set. You try to email, but all you get back is gibberish because the seller is using a Windows 3.1 computer set to use GOST-19768-74 as the default character set. You try to phone, but all you hear is the sound of finishing nails pelting a galvanized steel roof under a freeway, with faraway vacuum-cleaner sounds and a garbled voice speaking in Esperanto. But you persevere, and you'll need to because all we know about this car is the following: "Red & black. Current registraton. Needs a rebuilt engine." Many additional questions are suggested by this tantalizingly brief description. For example, does "red and black" mean "black-painted car with cheese-grater-style rust holes" in this case? And the part about needing a rebuilt engine- does that mean that it comes with a rebuildable engine, or do you just get weeds growing up through the rust holes in the bonnet? Thanks to Mad_Science for the tip!

The MG Midget is a fun car, and with a Toyota 4AGE under the hood it's pretty quick. But you've got TURBO emblems on everything you own, so of course you need them on your car! That's why this '73 Saab Sonett Turbo is calling your name. In this case, the seller picked the optimum time for car photography (midnight with a new moon), picked up the liquor-store security camera, turned on the pink humming mercury-vapor security lights, and took some shots while rolling down the gravel driveway on a skateboard. But don't worry about the photographs, because the seller says the body is in good condition. Not only that: "motor and trans have been rebuilt 6 years ago and has not ran since." So you figure it's a fresh rebuild, no doubt ready to run strong the first time you crank it over! One minor quibble is that, well, Saab didn't offer a turbocharged engine in the Sonett, so there's no telling what's actually going on with this car (other than what appear to be TURBO emblems all over it). You could try to decipher the photograph of what seems to be the engine compartment, but that might be a bunch of parts in the trunk (nice artistic depth-of-field effect, though).


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Voted for the sweet glowing Sonnet because:

a) Turbo or not, just putting said badges on a car is good for at least 5whp each. Every "tuner" knows that. The turbo interior is just icing on the cake!

b) Engine rebuilt 6 years ago? Really? Not 16? The pics then must show a rebuilt motor with a painstakingly undisturbed patina. So kudos for that feat as well

c) Mother of Mary, it's a Saab! British Hell is a well known place, willingly sought in many cases. Now Swedish Hell is bound to be far more terrifying and surreal with ABBA on eternal repeat in the garage.