Saab Sonett + Suzuki Hayabusa = Sonabusa

Saab Sonabusa

I have a dream.

I have a dream that at some time in my life I will have a big, well equipped workshop. I have a dream that one day I might actually know how to use many of the tools in that workshop without breaking anything or anyone (namely me).

Alas, however, it’s all just a dream. I am, and will most likely remain, a mechanical dunce.

Fortunately, Darryl Carl isn’t. The former owner of New Salem Saab and current proprietor of Albany Speed Shop does indeed have a workshop AND the skills to put everything in it to good use.

Right now, he’s doing something I can only dream about – building a rear-wheel-drive Saab Sonett III fitted with an engine from a Suzuki Hayabusa.

Now, before I go and tip all the Saab purists off the deep end, let me declare my love of the standard Sonett. I’ve driven a couple of them (both the II and the III) and I’ve even been for a ride in one of the six original Saab Sonetts from the Saab Museum. Even with the standard, underpowered V4 engine, a Saab Sonett can be heaps of fun. Warm it up with carbs, cams, exhaust, etc and it becomes even more fun.

But there’s also something to be said for a man’s ability to do something more with it. Rather than just confine the idea to the “what if” section of his brain, Darryl has moved the idea to the “Just Do It” section and work is progressing very nicely indeed.

If you’re a friend of Darryl’s then you might have seen some video of this car in action on Facebook. Right now, the car is indeed running, though there’s still a fair bit of work to be done. The following two photos are stills taken from the video, just to give you a look at the rear and side profiles.

The Sonabusa (yes, it already has a name) will be running on 13″ wheels at the front and 14″ at the rear when finished. Darryl reckons they’ll be able to get 8″ wide tyres on the back and keep them within the regulation wheel arch.

They’re hoping to get the nose fitted back on this week. There are a bundle of other things waiting to be done, not the least of which is paid work from customers, but Darryl’s working pretty feverishly to get this car finished. In a brief note to me, he mentioned shortening the throw on the shifter, sourcing some suitable wheels and a whole bunch of wiring – including a dogged determination to make sure the headlights pop-up as intended.

I get the feeling he’d like to show it off at whatever Saab events might still be left this year (the final ever Swedish Car Day in Boston might be a fitting venue, eh?)

I’ll get some more images and video on site when Darryl makes it available. In the meantime, there’s a massive gallery of transformation images at Photobucket.

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  1. This is insanely awesome!

    I’ve had a similar fantasy for years and years, to combine a Hayabusa engine with a Mini…. Which has already been successfully done many times. See YouTube for examples. They even sell pre-fabricated kits in the UK which simply require installation.

    The Hayabusa engine is a natural part of any automotive enthusiasts fantasy list.

  2. This is such a fantastic engine that this exact replica of this Bugatti Fighter plane (which I have seen) will have 2 of them! This link is to show the concept of the twin counter rotating props which are driven by the mid-mounted engines, with drive-shafts on each side of the cockpit interior.

    The actual original plane which was was hidden in a French barn during WWII is now on permanent display at the EAA Museum, in Oskosh, Wisconsin. This is just a 90 minute fight by Viggen north of my location.

  3. Hmm, I wonder what he’d charge to put the Hayabusa in a 96? That’s been a car fantasy of mine for a few years now.

  4. My three year-old daughter loves the thing. Every time we go over she marvels at the “yellow car.”

    I’m afraid it’ll scare her when she finally sees it come to life.