1966 Saab Sonett II. (source: GM)
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In the early 1960s Björn Karlström, an aircraft and automotive illustrator, and Walter Kern, an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, independently suggested a two-seat roadster with Saab components and 2-stroke engine. Two prototypes were developed, the Saab MFI13 by Malmö Flygindustri and the Saab Catherina by Sixten Sason.
In 1966 the MFI13 was, after some modifications, put into limited (28 units) production at Aktiebolaget Svenska Järnvägsverkstäderna in Arlöv as the Sonett II (but notated internally at Saab as model 97).
A further 230 units were assembled in 1967, but as the 2-stroke engine became increasingly uncompetitive in the U.S. market, a switch to a more familiar four-stroke engine was made in the middle of the 1967 production year, and the model was renamed the Sonett V4. Apart from the engine and related drivetrain, the Sonett II and Sonett V4 share a high percentage of component parts. Approximately 50% of the Sonett II production has survived, preserved or maintained by museums, collectors, and race enthusiasts.
Like the Sonett I prototype, the Sonett II fiberglass body was bolted to a box-type chassis with an added roll-bar to support the hard top. The entire front hood section hinged forward to allow easy access to the engine, transmission and front suspension. Equipped with a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine generating 60 hp (45 kW), the Sonett II achieved 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 12.5 seconds with a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).
Designed as a race car, the Sonett II competed successfully against other small European roadsters, including the Austin Healey Sprites and Triumph Spitfires in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) races of the period. Due to low production volume, Sonett II's were ultimately disqualified from certain competitions, and by 1967 the two-stroke engine failed to meet U.S. emission control standards.
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