A Sonett Sonnet


I have a love, hate relationship with the Saab Sonett
It’s got a petite rear and a huge bonnet
Originally designed in the 1950’s by Rolf Mellde
He was a Saab engine developer, all round genius and welder

I can’t be bothered to keep that up for another 3 quatrains, so back to normal scribbling.

As I say, not a Saab I instantly loved, but I came across a few exceptionally beautiful ones at this year’s SaabFest, all three were represented, although I’m not entirely sure the red Sonett I was actually a Sonett I at all (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but all absolutely immaculate. The tan leather interior in the red Sonett III was truly beautiful, although I doubt i’d fit.

I don’t usually get in to specific histories, as I tend to get some information incorrect and really don’t want a deluge of ‘you’ve got this wrong’ but the Sonett has such an interesting past, I couldn’t resist, so please bare with me.

Back in the 50’s a Saab engine developer and race enthusiast, Rolf Mellde, collaborated with a few other Saab folks to design a roadster prototype in one of the spare barns on the Saab factory site in Åsaka, near Trollhättan. With a minuscule budget of just 75,000 Kronor, they single handedly crafted what soon became known as the Sonett, a name derived from the Swedish phrase Så-nätt-den-är which literally translates to ‘it’s so neat’.

Sadly, only a handful of Sonett I’s were manufactured, but in the 60’s, Björn Karlström suggested that Saab continue to develop the roadster, which they did, initially with a tiny two stroke engine and then switching to a V4 engine in ’64. Only very limited numbers of the Sonett II’s were manufactured, but in ’67, with some design enhancements and mass production more accessible, this became the Sonett V4 and enabled Saab to manufacture over 1,500 in total.

1970 came and saw Sergio Coggiola and later Gunnar A. Sjögren redesign the Sonett V4 which became known as the final version, the Sonett III. This final edition had 65hp, 0-60 in 13 seconds and a top speed of 103mph. Sonett production ended in ’73 with some 8,000 having been manufactured.

I’m still not sure I’d set out to own one, but respect the one’s that do, this is another important part of our Saab heritage and so pleased to see these immaculate examples.

Watch the Sonett in action from CineCars

The Swedish Collection. 9-5NG SportCombi

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Whilst over in Sweden, I accepted a very kind invitation to visit another huge Saabist, Michèl Annink. He lives with his family in an absolutely stunning part of the country, surrounded by exceptional views, water, trees and Saabs.

We were warmly greeted with iced water, coffee, hot Cinnamon buns and spent a few hours talking about our shared love of Saabs, Michèl kindly let me take a few photos of his impressive collection and I’ll be featuring them in 3 parts.

First up is a Saab that I think we all hoped and prayed would reach every Saab showroom, and to me, possibly one of the most beautiful Saabs ever crafted, the 9-5NG Sportcombi.

Michèl owns one of the few SportCombis in the world and together with the support of his family, has worked tirelessly to gain road legal approval in Sweden.

It is clad in gleaming Arctic White with full Aero styling, a Hirsch exhaust system that sounds absolutely mind-blowing and rests on a set of 19” edge alloys. Purposefully lowered by about 40mm it also has a fantastic stance.

Inside, Michèl has retro fitted full Aero heated and vented sports seats together with a number of original Saab options and most recently, a high end touch screen navigation system.

Sitting alongside our (begrudgingly) hired Audi A6 wagon, there really was no comparison, the Saab oozed modern style and unique presence. It’s a Saab that demands attention.

Tack Michèl, it was great to meet you all and a real privilege to see this great Saab. Long may it bring you pleasure.

More about the unique 9-5NG SportCombi here and here

The stunning 9-4X to follow shortly.

Made in Sweden

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I always knew there would be far more Saabs in Sweden than here in England, but I wasn’t quite prepared for their overwhelming presence, they seemed to line literally every leafy street.

What was so satisfying to see was that they’re still part of everyday life, hidden on Archipelago driveways and in secret Stockholm courtyards, shopping centre car parks and elegant cobbled streets of the old town of Gamla Stan.

I felt at ease in Sweden, almost like home, it wasn’t just being surrounded by Saabs, but everything they’ve come to represent – simple, refined style, understated and elegant, yet utterly modern and unique in a world of conformity.

These Saabs are an integral part of Swedishness, they remain a highly visible reminder of the exceptional, innovative design capability of the country and proudly whisper to every traveller ‘Made in Sweden’

I returned home feeling highly privileged to be part of such a great heritage – I’ll be back.

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Saab vs. Scepticism Stockholm Tour

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It is with great excitement that I ask for some advice from any SvsS followers native to Sweden. In a few weeks I’ll be bringing my family to Täby, just outside Stockholm for the very first time, and we’re all seriously excited.

Sorry this post doesn’t have much to do with Saabs, but it is to do with discovering the Saab Swedish style, exploring, relaxing, eating and drinking, so wanted to ask anyone for any local knowledge – great restaurants, places to see, things to do.

We’re booked into Ekstedt for an evening, but besides that, nothing.

Swimming off one of the Archipelagos, lunch in a beautiful forest, see stunning architecture, the best local eating places, any other ideas greatly appreciated.

I’m hoping to spot plenty of stunning Saabs to feature on the blog too, so if you see someone taking photos of Saabs, it’ll probably be me.