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Lake Mirror Classic 2009; Saab Sonnet GT4

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On: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 10:16AM | By: John Welch

Lake Mirror Classic 2009; Saab Sonnet GT4

The 2009 Lake Mirror Classic Car Show presents an interesting mix of classics, imports, super cars, and even race cars every year. This yellow Saab Sonnet is one such race car.

Its unassuming looks, encouraged by its unassuming tractor/passenger car roots belie its abilities. This car started life as a run-of-the-mill sedan, but quickly blossomed into the thouroghbred you see here . . .

This Saab Sonnet started life as the Sonnet III, manufactured in the early nineteen seventies. The car was originally designed by Sergio Coggiola, and later updated by Gunnar A. Sjögren before being sent to American shores. It was a strange little car, the previous Sonnet II being remembered for its (at the time) bizarre front-drive layout and Ford-sourced V4 tractor engine. In street guise the Sonnet made 55bhp and could achieve a top speed of 99 mph. The car featured a freewheeling clutch that would disengage itself below 800 rpm. The Sonnet II also came with a column-mounted manual shifter, an odd arragemnet by the late sixties. With an offset power buldge in the hood, needed to clear the throttle bodies of the oddly porportioned V4, the Saab Sonnet looked sportier than its power rating would suggest.

This car was originally built by Jack Lawrence and was later sold to Randy Cook. The car features the Ford V4, but it is tweaked to the tune of 135bhp. Doesn't sound like much but I'd be surprised if this car weighed over 2,000 lbs., making for an entertaining 135bhp. According to Mr. Cook, the engine must be kept on boil at all times or it will stall, a downfall to the stratospheric compression ratio required. When Mr. Cook fired this car up it made a noise similar to a thousand pitbulls fighting over one steak — mean. According to Randy, heel-toeing and double clutching the gearbox is out of the question, you just have to rev it like hell.

This car has raced in SCCA F-Production, GT4, and IMSA GTU. In 1987 it was driven to a 7th place in the SCCA Run-offs, piloted by Jack Lawrence. It is a shortened floor-pan car, meaning it was a production Sonnet III at one time. The body is fully fiberglass and it separates into four pieces, maintenance is a breeze. Currently, Mr. Cook races the car in the North East, at Watkins Glen and other famous race courses. He is the current Regional Champion.

A classic racer, this car deserves the love and attention it recieves from its proud owner.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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