Trollhättan Troller: Custom Lesney Matchbox '70 Saab Sonett III

R​ework of a classic oddball casting, that depicts a truly strange & wonderful car.

T​his project started with a beleaguered, well-loved Lesney Matchbox Saab Sonett III that was one of the main attractions in a box of diecast I was mailed recently by a friend. Another person I'm acquainted with has a real '74 Sonett III that is undergoing restoration, and I've watched BaT listings of old Saabs for years, so I know these cars pretty well. Plus, a real Sonett III in chartreuse (aka "Safari Green") was one of the first truly unusual cars I saw as a small child & was enthralled by.

T​he wheels I rejected for my "secretary special" '69 Mustang Sportsroof project were a natural good fit for this project, seeing as how real Sonett IIIs came with stamped steel wheels and aluminum "dog dish" hubcaps from the factory as standard equipment, and I have a little bit of a thing for base models and unusual optioning, as LaLD/DriveTribe readers likely know by now.

T​he old paint sanded very nicely off the body, the base cleaned up well with some wire brush action and Tamiya Color "gunmetal" paint, and vent wings & window frames along with wipers were detailed on the window insert, which even had the solid back panel cut out so that it had open space between the trunk and headrests like the real thing. Meanwhile, I took the last of the old paint off with acetone, and set to spraying it. Several tries at a Safari Green paint job were tried/failed, with the final choice being Monte Carlo Blue with black lower body stripes and black hatchback louvers.

I​ also painted the interior insert accurately, with a proper padded steering wheel hub, manual shifter, detailed dash, and detailed cargo rub strips in the luggage compartment, with an authentic dark hood bulge done as well.

A​fter allowing for a couple days' drying time since the paint I used was enamel, I resumed the build, with details including US market side marker lights, grille bars, and even the rear window & door locks/releases, painted the hatchback to look like a period correct aftermarket rear-window louver was fitted, and assembled it carefully. The end result was a surprisingly good, if significantly out of scale and slightly crudely designed, rendition of an early US market Sonett III.

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