Friday, September 23, 2011

The Two Stroke Saab Sonett, a rare beast indeed!

I haven't posted here for a few weeks, partly due to a  sudden death in my family.
I hope to rectify matters somewhat and post more frequently from now on.

The Saab Sonett/Saab 94: 1955-1957

This was a futuristic and fabulous looking two seater sports car, first made in 1955
 and of which only 6 were known to have been built.
It was a veritable flying machine of its time, capable of a top speed of up to 210 kph
(approx 120 mph and 19.2 seconds for standing mile sprint.
It shared it's engine and mechanicals with the Saab 93 and what made it so fast was its
incredibly low overall weight of just 500kg! and a different, more potent carburettor.
This car was over 300 kg lighter than the 93.

The engine was  tuned to develop 57.5 hp.
The car had a specially designed, low weight, light metal box chassis, not made
typically of tubular steel but a lighter metal.
The chassis of Sonnet1 was aluminimum, Sonnets 2-6, chassis were made from
light steel.
 Fibreglass body panels were then bolted onto this to create a vehicle that was supe
r light.
It utilised a 3 speed gear box, mounted in front of the engine.
Over 5000 km of testing was then undertaken with satisfactory results during
Spring and Summer of 1956, with the sole prototype.
Five more Sonnets would be manufactured during 1957.
It was always intended that the Sonnet would be a competition production car and not
merely a prototype, with the Usa perceived as its main marketplace.

For reasons only known to Saab, they couldn't or didn't want to build the
Sonnet in Sweden. They wanted the 'Jensen' company in Scotland to
build the car. Jensen were the builders of the Volvo P1800 and must have
impressed Saab suitably.
Mr Jenson, However, would not travel to Sweden to visit Saab and there was also
the fact that American's viewed British built cars as being of poor quality.
These factors led Saab Chief Svante Holm to give the contract to build the car
to ASJ.
By Nov 1957, Saab's intention was to build 2000 Sonnets per year, or a monthly output
of 200 cars. The production car would have a light metal body and a folding roof.
Then, racing competition rules changed that allowed the tuning of  standard production
cars. This eliminated the need for a special sports model and production never went
beyond those six examples.

It's a great pity this car didn't make it to production as they'd be a beautiful sight to
see on our roads today.

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