I’ve always been struck by the similarities between two sports cars of the same mid-70s era, the Alfa Romeo Montreal:

…and the SAAB Sonnett III:

Of the two, I actually think the Sonnett is the prettier — amazingly, for a carmaker more known for its eccentricity — but then again, the body design was by an Italian (Sergio Coggiola) rather than some Swedish guy named Sven who was obsessed with practicality over beauty.

Of course, when it came to performance, there was no comparison;  the Sonnett was powered by a puny Ford 1500cc V4 (the “Taunus”) which generated a whopping 65hp, whereas the Montreal had the mighty 2.6-liter V8 derived from its legendary Alfa 33 Stradale race car, which pushed out 197hp.

That said, the Sonnett had a respectable top speed of just over 100mph because of its light weight and aerodynamic styling.

And finally, the Sonnett was a true SAAB, in that it was safe to drive and could run all day without breaking down.  The Montreal?  Ehhh… not so much, although there’s still that thrill of taking it up to top speed (~125mph — ask me how I know this).

Still, if you were to drop a decent modern Ford 1600cc Duratec engine into the Sonnett (it would fit easily), I’d take one in a heartbeat.  Even the interior hasn’t aged too badly:

For that matter, though, nor has the Montreal’s:

Yummy.  Both of them.


  1. I fell in love with the look of the Sonett III years ago and was thrilled when a local guy who specializes in repairing foreign sports cars advertised he had one for sale. When I stood next to it and contemplated the contortions I’d need to accomplish to wedge myself in behind the wheel that dream died pretty rapidly!

  2. The Sonett had all the appeal and build quality of a Kit Car and none of the good SAAB features. and this is coming from a previous SAAB owner.

    I would agree that the Montreal is a great looking car. but it’s still an Alfa.

  3. I went to buy a montreal once, from its original owner. Three engine rebuilds over ten years and he had, as he rather delicately put it, had to watch closely for rust.

  4. I remember seeing the Alfa at its introduction at Expo 67 and thought it quite attractive.(I can’t remember if they called it the Montreal there, but that is how it got the name, I guess) I can only imagine the woes of keeping it going, but a little v-8? Sounds like a great idea, until you have to fix it.
    The Sonnet never appealed to me, a friend had one though and loved it, so to each his own.

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