Manufacturer : Saab
Productions : 1966
Engine : Three-cylinder, two-stroke engine giving 60 hp (45 kW)
Source : netcarshow.com
In the 1960s Björn Karlström suggested that Saab should develop a new two seater sports car with a two stroke engine, but this time it would be a coupe and not a convertible. Two prototypes were developed, the Saab MFI13 by Malmö Flygindustri and the Saab Catherina by Sixten Sason. The MFI13 was the one selected for production. In 1966 the MFI13 was, after some modifications, put into production at ASJ in Arlöv as the “Saab 97″ – that year only 28 units were produced, and a further 230 in 1967. The body was fibreglass bolted to a sheet-steel chassis and lower frame. A roll-bar was fitted. The entire front section hinged forward, to allow clear access to the engine, transmission and front suspension. Access to the rear compartment was via a small hatch in the near-vertical rear panel. The engine was a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine giving 60 hp (45 kW). The Sonett II could do 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds and had a top speed of 150 km/h.
When Saab started using the Ford Taunus V4 engine in their other models, they also wanted to use it in the Sonett II. The car was redesigned and renamed the Sonett V4, with the 1500 cc Ford V4. A new hood was designed by Gunnar A. Sjögren, with a ‘bulge’, necessary to fit the higher engine. The bulge was slightly offset to the right, so that it would not obstruct the driver’s view. The engine produced 65 hp (48 kW) and the Sonett V4 made 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 s, with a top speed of 160 km/h.
In total, only 1868 Sonett IIs and V4s were produced.
An interesting side note is that the local SAAB dealership in Czechoslovakia opened in 1962 and run by the race driver Zdenek Treybal. Apart from selling Saab 96 he also managed to sell two Sonett V4s. One to a race driver in Prague. The other to AZPN (Automobilové Závody Narodni Podnik) in Mladá Boleslav in 1968. AZPN used the Sonett as the basis of a prototype for Škoda Auto called the Škoda 1100 GT. From the doors and rear it is almost identical with the Sonett, but the front is inspired by Ferrari Dino.