For Cars, Movies and Cool… it’s Fireball Tim!
It’s rare when you get to salivate over a Swedish classic. And if you didn’t know I was talking about a car, this first line would really catch your attention. But, since it is a car — in fact a 1969 Saab Sonett owned by Farhad Fozounmayeh — you’re in for a treat. Welcome to the VLOGROCKET.
Overseeing the West Coast ad operations for “Time” magazine and TIME.com, Farhad has a very detailed job. And you’d think that he’d be the kind of guy that would want a detail-oriented car. But this lil’ Swedish wonder is actually very simple.
When we met at the bluffs to shoot the car, I got a chance to see the simplicity of its V4 motor which put out a whopping 60 horsepower. For it’s near original state, the car was relaxed and exuded a type of driving excitement that really just meant pure fun. We weren’t going to drive fast, race around corners or launch off the line. All we did was putt up PCH to get a photo.
But doing just that in this car was like stepping into an original Corgi toy. It was so simple that you could say, like a kid, “Wow, the doors and bonnet actually open!”
“I’ve had the Sonett for about a year,” Farhad said. “It turned out to be a family heirloom. My dad, who is also a car fanatic, passed it on to me and I look forward to someday giving it to my kids.”
But why this car?
“I love rare and unique cars. This one has an interesting history and has made some history. Only a little more than 600 were ever made for this model year. One of the first cars to have 3-pt seat belts, a roll bar and high back seats to prevent whiplash.”
Yeah, that’s just what I’d want in my toys if I were a kid. Can you see the packaging? “Real life-like roll bar and action seats!” So cool.
This car is so quirky and there are a lot of unique things about it like the hood being the entire front half and having an offset bulge or the “faux hatchback.” Basically, no hatchback but a small door like a cupboard. Funky. You could slide your surfboard in there if it was three feet long.
“The best part is that it’s the ultimate conversation piece,” Farhad said. “Most vintage or classics people are familiar with … They take a look, have a few comments and move on. With the Sonett model — especially the 67-69 models — most people have never seen or even heard of it. Ninety five percent of people come up asking, ‘What in the world is this thing?’ The other 5 percent have never seen one and only know about it through magazines or books. Met some good people and have had many fun conversations.”
Farhad has a blast with this bugger on weekend drives in Malibu because, from Oxnard to Santa Monica, (the best order to do it) “It’s hands down, the best strip to cruise on earth.”
I’d agree 100 percent. But there’s one thing I’d add. The joy of driving this car pales in comparison to the joy it brings others as it cruises by. Not knowing what it is stirs up a positive curiosity and desire to hear a story. And the stories are truly the essence of driving.
And lastly, although Farhad’s Sonett is simple, his taste in movie cars is a little more technical, being James Bond’s Lotus Turbo Esprit.
“My dad was a huge Bond fan so I saw all the 007 films growing up. These were the Roger Moore years (my favorite Bond) and he had a couple of different versions of the Esprit through his films (my favorite model was in ‘For Your Eyes Only’). But they were all great and I loved the design.”
Like I said, it’s the stories. What’s yours?
Congrats, Farhad. You and your super cool Saab are this week’s Ride of the Week!
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