The Lowest Mileage Sonett III in the World

This car was judged the “Best Sonett III” at the largest ever US SAAB convention in Water Valley, New Hampshire, in 1997. It was also presented the “Best of Show” award. 

 

 


The SAAB community lost another great friend when Bud Babcock passed away in the fall of 2001, and another chapter in the history of the SAAB in the United States has come to a close. Rest in Peace, Bud.In the fall of 1998, Martha Babcock tragically lost her life in an automobile accident. She was truly a wonderful person and a great friend to the SAAB community. Our prayers are with you, Bud.  Note: Sadly Bud died a few years later.  

We had given them the trophies from the SOC97 we won.  If anyone ever comes across those in your Saab travels please let me know, thanks, Tom



The following is an open letter from Bud & Martha Babcock, the previous owners of the 74 Sonett III, s/n 2233.

SAAB Sonett III, S.N. 97743002233
c/o SAAB Village
Tom Donney Motors
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
Willoughby,
“Beautiful Ohio”
August 24, 1997

GREETINGS from your former “Very Proud” Owners, Bud and Martha Babcock. We are delighted to hear of your First Class trip to SAAB Jubilee USA 1997 – National SAAB Owners’ Convention. You did us all proud — “Topped the Show”.

lst Place SAAB Sonett III
and
BEST OF SHOW — Concours d’SAAB 1997

Now everyone is asking about “your heritage” — we’ll tell you a bit of your history as we lived it!

We started Import Motors, Inc. in 1961 on Route 20 in Painesville, Ohio. This was an era when no one would work on SAABs and other imported cars and parts were very hard to get. Our entire operation consisted of three people, initially performing service on any and all imported cars. At that time our facility consisted of a three-bay garage with a showroom housing two cars. A “Staff Decision” was made, based on our servicing history of imported cars worked on, to take on a new SAAB franchise. Many thought “we had lost it” — trying to sell a car with only three cylinders where you had to mix oil with the gasoline used. Guess maybe we didn’t know any better — went ahead and sold them anyway, following our 1966 Spring appointment as a franchised SAAB dealer.

It was a “hard working/fun run” — repeated trips to Scandinavia won, commencing with our first trip to Sweden/Germany in the Fall of 1966. During this period we were very active in the local sports car owners’ club, Ecurie de Sport. This was a delightfully friendly group — in fact, we were the fortunate trophy winners of “Couple of the Year” in 1965. We were delighted when “rumors surfaced” that SAAB was coming out with a sports car — as were many of our “sports car minded” friends.

When SAAB came into the U. S. Market only with their sports model car, we started ordering your predecessor as fast as we could. These SAAB Sonetts, a two-cycle “corn popper” with a fiberglass body, were popular — be proud of your heritage!

At the award ceremony held for the TOP 26 Sonett Dealers at SAAB Headquarters in New Haven for 1969, happily we were the 10th dealer in the U.S. Following this event, the restyled SAAB Sonett with the V-4 engine was introduced at a World Premier at the international Auto Show in New York. You can be very proud, as recalled, the Sonett III that was on the turntable and “Star of this Showing” was SAAB’s yellow — the same as you are!

In the fall of 1971, we moved a couple lots East, greatly increased the size of our facility with a $150,000 expansion — then owning our entire new facility. As the SAAB cars being projected for the future were larger and more “family-sized”, in April of 1973, we added SUBARU automobiles to our stable of new SAAB cars.

Guess maybe one’s affection for SAAB Sonetts grows when they are all around every day — “worked for us”. When we learned the SAAB Sonett III was to be discontinued in 1974, we decided to reserve a yellow Sonett III from the last car carrier we were scheduled to receive. On arrival, you — S.N. 97743002233 — were “prepped out” and driven to the large heated garage attached to our residence — your odometer reading “33 miles”.

In our “saving car collection of that time,, we also had an early production red two-cycle SAAB Sonett, Serial No,.-000104. This SAAB Sonett started life in the U.S. as a SAAB Dealer’s personal car, sold to our SAAB Zone Representative prior to our ownership. This SAAB Sonett was your traveling companion on the Classy Towing Carrier from Ohio to Iowa — your present home.

Assuming you are still wondering why only 33 miles on your odometer during all of these ensuing years? Soon after your arrival, we sold Import Motors, Inc. and opted for early retirement. We have traveled in our Motorhome, attached small trailer holding a small sedan-styled car. As part payment of Import Motors, Inc. sale it was stipulated that we were to be furnished a vehicle in the ensuing years — we allowed you to live your life undriven.

We were delighted when Tom Donney indicated an interest in taking both SAAB Sonetts to your delightful permanent home at SAAB Village in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Tom, Patti, Luke, Nate and Sarah Donney have become close friends and also share our love of SAAB cars!

With Love!

Bud & Martha
Bud & Martha Babcock
Your Former Owners