Here we have a Saab Sonett III, produced in 1972 by Matchbox. (WARNING: This is a long read with a lot of history.)
The Saab Sonett line started in the 1950's with the Sonett I, (pictured above, photo from Curbside Classic), which was designed in a barn by a group of
nutjobs enthusiasts. The car featured Saab's three cylinder - 2 stroke engine, producing a shocking 57.5 horsepower! What the car lacked in power, it made up for with its lightweight construction, which included an aluminum chassis and a fiberglass body. Thanks to its low weight, the car was able to go 120 miles per hour, which was pretty fast for its time. Unfortunately, due to low demand and high construction costs, only 6 were built.
The sequel to the Sonett I, the Sonett II (creative name choice), was introduced in 1966 (the photo above is also from Curbside Classic.) The Sonett II wasn't a direct descendent of the Sonett I, but used many of the same principals (the Sonett II was actually the production version of a funky concept car called MFI-13.) Like the Sonett I, the Sonett II also had a fiberglass body and a two-stroke engine. Unlike the Sonett I, the Sonett II had a rigid steel chassis and had an integral structural roll bar, which made it handle very well. However, the two-stroke engine was low on power and could barely keep up with traffic, much less other sports cars. Saab tried selling it with a Ford V4, but the car couldn't handle it. So Saab devised a solution.
That solution was the Sonett III, which was basically a beefed up, remodeled, Sonett II (Photo from Curbside Classic). The new Sonett was changed to accept the Ford Taunus V4, and while they were at it, Saab decided to modernize the car with a new front end, hide-away headlights, and a rear hatch redesign. This car was really designed for the U.S. market, and featured a floor shifter and optional A/C. The Sonett III is also our Matchbox feature car.
This car was in the still new-ish Matchbox Superfast line-up. Matchbox did a pretty good job modeling the front end on this car.
In profile, you can see Matchbox's new "mag wheels", the main feature of the Superfast cars. Again, Matchbox did a pretty good job with the side view.
At the rear, the car features an opening hatch and some well-detailed rear lights. The trunk area is also pretty well done and has some floor molding.
The box itself is a work of art, featuring the very '70s "sonic blast" design
Matchbox reused the same box design on the 2000's Lesney Edition series.
$1.89. That counts as a steal in my book.
Here's a pic of the Saab beside the Lesney Edition Volvo.
Have a great evening!