Saab 97 Sonett III Model Year Changes
Model Year 1970 Chassis No.s nnn to nnnn
A new body for the Saab 97, now designated Sonett III, designed by Italian Sergio Coggiola and Swede Gunnar A Sjögren. The Sonett III was premiered at the New York Motor Show in Spring 1970. Despite being an expensive addition pop-up headlamps, operated by hand, were fitted to comply with minimum height requirements. The gearstick was now floor mounted.
Just 740 Saab Sonett III’s were produced. Swedish customers had to wait until the autumn since most were exported to the United States.
The performance of the Sonett III owed a lot to the fact that it weighed a mere 770kgs. In total, 10,219 units of the Sonett II and Sonett III were produced, 8,300 of which were the Sonett III.
Model Year 1971 Chassis No.s nnn to nnnn
1,952 units were manufactured. The Sonett III now came with alloy wheels as standard and the engine was replaced by a 1698cc lump derived from the Ford Cologne 2800 V6, in line with the change now made on 95V4 and 96V4 models destined for the US market.
Despite the change, necessary to meet stricter US exhaust emission standards, the power output remained unchanged at 65hp. “Coolair” air-conditioning was no fitted as an option.
Model Year 1972 Chassis No.s nnn to nnnn
2,080 Sonett III’s produced. The front grille underwent a redesign and was now matt black with a centrally mounted blue disc containing the word “SAAB”. The aeroplane logo was now phased out of use on all models.
The Sonett III sported new alloy wheels similar to those on the 1972 99EMS, but were all silver rather than black and silver. The rear decor plate was now painted matt black and the Sonett III now became one of the most infrequently seen on Swedish roads. As with the 1968 Sonett II, most were destined for export to the United States. 1973 Model Year
Model Year 1973 Chassis No.s nnn to nnnn
1,980 Sonett III’s were manufactured in 1973 and they now sported Saab’s self repairing bumpers that would withstand a collision up to 8km/h (5mph). American safety regulations dictated the fitting of the bumpers along with square tubular steel side impact protection beams in the doors. The design of the door handles was also changed.
Stripes along the lower sides of the car gave the Sonett III a purposeful look. The new mauve paint job unique to this model probably didn’t. Interior changes comprised a new leather gear knob and new controls on the instrument panel.
Model Year 1974 Chassis No.s nnn to nnnn
1,596 Sonett III’s were produced during the final year of production of this model, production which ceased in the autumn.. The headlamps washer-wiper was the only really new feature of this model year, but the pop-up lamps were still hand operated. The headlamp wash-wipe feature had been seen on other Saabs since 1971.
The tyre size was slightly enlarged to 165SR15 and the alloys were now black and silver. The colour range for the final production year was: Baja Red, Burnt Orange, Mellow Yellow, True Blue and Emerald Green. The very last Sonett III produced (in Mellow Yellow) is now on display in the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan.