The Saab Sonett I: A Small But Mighty Sports Car with Big Impact

The Saab Sonett I was a sports car produced by Swedish automaker Saab between 1955 and 1957. It was the company’s first attempt at building a sports car. Although it was not a commercial success, it played an essential role in Saab’s history and helped to establish the company’s reputation for engineering innovation.

The Sonett I was designed by Rolf Mellde, a Saab engineer and racing enthusiast. Mellde was inspired by the success of small British sports cars like the MG Midget and the Austin-Healey Sprite, and he believed that Saab could produce a similar car that would appeal to the European market.

The Sonett I was powered by a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine that produced 57 horsepower. Its lightweight fibreglass body mounted on a steel chassis made the car elegant and durable. The Sonett I had a top speed of around 103 miles per hour, which was impressive for a car of size and power.

One of the most innovative features of the Sonett I was its aerodynamic design. Saab had always been interested in aerodynamics, and the Sonett I was one of the first cars to incorporate a wind tunnel in its design process. The result was a car that was fast and efficient, with a drag coefficient of just 0.30.

The Sonett I was also designed with safety in mind. Saab was known for building safe cars, and the Sonett I was no exception. The car had a roll bar that was integrated into the body and a fuel tank in front of the passenger compartment to reduce the risk of fire in the event of a collision.

Unfortunately, the Sonett I was not a commercial success. It was expensive to produce and priced higher than its competitors in the sports car market. Saab also had limited distribution channels, which made it challenging to market the car effectively. As a result, only six Sonett I cars were produced, making it one of the rarest Saab models ever made.

Despite its commercial failure, the Sonett I played an essential role in Saab’s history. The car demonstrated Saab’s commitment to innovation and engineering excellence and helped establish the company’s reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality and safe cars. The Sonett I also paved the way for future Saab sports car models, such as the Sonett II and III, which were more successful commercially.

Today, the Saab Sonett I is a prized collector’s item for Saab enthusiasts and car collectors. Its rarity and unique design make it a highly sought-after model, and it is considered a classic example of Swedish engineering and design. Although only six Sonett I cars were produced, they remain an essential part of Saab’s history and a testament to the company’s commitment to innovation and excellence.

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Written by Alicia Linn

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