V.I.S.I.T. – Orange Swedish Door Stopper Edition

Saab FWD Sonett III sportscar
Safety orange ain’t just for traffic cones and Bricklin SV1s!

It’s a gorgeous spring day in Seattle, despite our intentional propaganda to the contrary designed to keep pesky tourists away. That didn’t stop this Swedish emigre from settling down in Ballard, home to many old Swedes and their cars. Full gallery below.

Saab Sonnett FWD sportscar front
Auxilary lights FTW.

A Type 97 Sonett offers so much to love – manually-operated popup headlamps, a striking wedge shape (good for a Cd of 0.31), and of course a Ford V4 churning the front wheels. A bright period-correct color only helps bring home the charms of the Sonett. In most parts of the country they’re as common as hen’s teeth, but old Ballard’s Scandinavian roots run as deep as a Volvo B18 runs long. Not a two-stroke, unfortunately, but a potent autocross tool nonetheless.

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  1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    I love the hell out of that car! So sporty, yet so quirky! Even the color kicks ass. That is 2 fists full of win!

    1. Syrax Avatar

      And the unique sound. Amazing.

  2. Alff Avatar

    I love these. Allow me to respond with the first of my own series – P.I.G. (Parked in Garage). I spotted this punkin's sibling on the parking ramp at work last week. I was surprised to see it, as I came very close to buying this car a few years ago when I saw it for sale at my kids' day care center. At the time, I couldn't justify another toy. Some things do not change.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Legacy wagon!!!

      1. Alff Avatar

        Yeah. That one isn't for sale. ; )

  3. LTDScott Avatar

    Nice soccer ball wheels.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Talk about playing to a stereotype – the aging Swede in Ballard. Makes me wish that Almost Live was still on TV.

    1. Sivart_R1 Avatar

      As someone who as of june 1 will have his house annexed into Kent, I'm not sure my wife would agree…

      1. Alff Avatar

        Tell her to shut up and iron your wife beaters … or else!

      2. straighteight Avatar

        At least it's not Lynwood…

    2. Han_Solex Avatar

      <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KBgIvH0tu6Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KBgIvH0tu6Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

      1. straighteight Avatar

        That never gets old.

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    Manual pop-up headlight! Oh sweet, sweet heaven, I am having flashbacks!
    Many cold, snowy days in the New Mexico mountains and a Dodge Daytona that had many electrical gremlins. Most effected was the auto-magic pop-up headlights that worked 1/10th of the time. I hit the lights, but no reassuring phhhuuuut of the lights popping up. Having to pop the hood, and crank the lights up, gloveless. Jesus, that was a bitch!

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I learned after my first freezing rain while working up in Michigan to leave the lights up on my 77 Vette. I was up there working a co-op job in college, being from Georgia it didn't occur to me that the lights might not want to pop up when coated with 1/4" of ice. I had to pound on them hard enough to break the ice, but not too hard to break the fiberglass. My apartment complex had covered carport style parking, so when it rained the first 3 feet of the car would still get wet.

      1. SSurfer321 Avatar

        Kudos to you for having the cajones to drive a Vette in Michigan winters!

        1. P161911 Avatar

          Actually I was just there (Midland to be exact) for the "spring" March-June. Still, it was some of the coldest winters (92-96) this Georgia boy has ever seen. A limited slip diff and probably a more then 50% rear weight bias with my fat butt in the driver's seat helped some.

  6. Tripl3fast Avatar

    Yes that's one sexy little meatball…..

  7. nofrillls Avatar

    VERY nice find!
    When I was in high school 20 years ago someone was selling a lime green V4 Sonnet that was in a state of significant disrepair. That was the last time I saw one in person and I've been hoping top spot another ever since.

  8. Cynicist Avatar

    The FWD hurts, but the car itself is fairly cool looking.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      It's a SAAB. It's supposed to be FWD. It's a rule. GM broke that rule and now look at them.

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        So true. I have a strict no-FWD rule for personal drivers with the exception of Cord, Citroen, 66 Toronados, and Saabs. I broke this rule for three years of Jetta ownership and am still smarting because of it.

  9. engineerd Avatar

    I'd bork it.
    Damn you…now I'm adding these to my list of "potential project cars" that will probably be more hell than heaven.

  10. CptSevere Avatar

    I can't remember the last time I saw one of these. Thanks for reminding me how cool they are. I even like the DOT orange color. Now that SAAB has been bought by Spyker, let's see if they introduce a modern version of this sweetie.

    1. Thrashy Avatar

      Seconded on the Spyker idea. Though to be honest, I was even more excited to see what Koenigsegg might have pulled off with the nameplate. Ah well.
      Such awesome-looking little cars, and one of the very few automotive applications of a V4. I've wanted one for a long time now…

      1. dculberson Avatar

        Yeah, I really feel like Koenigsegg was a better fit for Saab. More focus on "go" and less focus on "show." But then Spyker is a hell of a lot better than the dustbin!

    2. engineerd Avatar

      I'm interested to see what Spyker comes up with, too. Maybe a weird little coupe with a console-mounted ignition switch and aircraft-style switches.

  11. dustin_driver Avatar

    This one lives not too far from my neighborhood:
    <img src="http://jalopnik.com/photogallery/DOSTBESaabSonett/1008952970"&gt;
    I've never seen it in motion, but I know it drives. Sorry for the low-quality pic. Camera phone.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Was white a factory color? The only ones I've seen were painted in very typical early seventies nonmetallic shades – orange, blue, green, red and yellow.

  12. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    There's a regular contingent of these at Cars and Coffee Irvine. They're cool looking and just plain weird under the hood.

  13. straighteight Avatar

    I'm pretty sure I've seen the same orange Sonnet (how many could there be in the Ballard area). Don't see many cars around painted in such garish colors aside from taxis. Yellow Cab has Austin Allegro yellow, Orange Cab has Saab Sonnet orange, and Farwest Taxi has Bricklin SV-1 green.

  14. carpet cleaning Naperville IL Avatar

    I love your website – nice work!

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