1958 - 1966 Sabre II
The second generation Sabre was introduced in 1958. The design took a slightly different approach by analyzing owner modifications to the previous Sabre to draw inspiration from it on how to improve the performance. New equipment such as forging machinery helped the design team eradicate the issues with torque and horsepower destroying engines, which is one of the issues observed in highly tuned Thunderbolt V8s.
Design wise, the Sabre I was used as some sort of template. The Sabre II grill has a similar shape to the Sabre I but it’s a bit wider. The tail lights were also slightly altered and made into one unit instead of the reverse lights being a separate part like on the Sabre I. The Chrome strip on top of the hood was also kept.
Sabre II 341 V8
The standard flavor of the Sabre again features standard interior equipment and the 341 badge on the rear. The real changes are beneath the hood. There lies the Gen 2 Thunderbolt V8 with forged components and triple two barrel carburetors. Output was increased to 301 hp and lets the Sabre II reach a top speed of 150 mph and does 0-60 in just 6.1 seconds, making it faster 0-60 then the fuel injected 1957 Corvette. During cornering, it nearly reaches 0.9 Gs and it comfortably seats four people, even those with abnormally long legs. For 1588$ (13560$ today), it attracted a lot of muscle car buyers and some premium track car buyers
Sabre II 390 SH (Sledgehammer)
Introduced in 1960, the 390 SH is the trim inspired by owner modifications to the car. It features a brand new power plant with tuning taken into account. A high durability 6.4L V8 named the Sledgehammer. It uses a quad setup of special carburetors that have a direct airflow path into the engine which increases throttle response a lot as well as power output. It also has a SOHC 3-valve setup. The engine, in it’s stock state, produces 376hp and 544Nm of torque and it pushes the Sabre II into Ferrari territory in numbers. 0-60 is achieved in 5.7 seconds compared to the 1958 Ferrari 250GT Europas time of 5.9 seconds and the Sabre II 390 SH hits a top speed of 158 mph. It also features disc brakes all around and only cost 1814$ (15120$ today). It was popular as both a muscle car and a track day car. And the icing on the cake is… SIDE MOUNTED EXHAUSTS FROM THE FACTORY!!
Sabre II 189 King Line
Introduced in 1960, the King Line features the same things as last generation. Premium interior and entertainment and softer suspension. This time, it has power steering and a new three speed automatic gearbox for easy cruising. The engine was also slightly upgraded with four barrel carbs and new configurations for a smoother experience. With a price tag of only 1540$ (12840$ today), it was popular in many segments, including but not limited to utility sport premium, family premium and family sport premium.
Customer mod spotlight
Estimated car specs
Picture of engine
Of course, those who love working on cars saw this as a wet dream. An engine and car designed around the idea that some people might want to tune it. This customer mod spotlight comes from 1962 and was done on a Sabre II 390 SH. The owner calls it the Swedish Cheetah.
As the fuel system was already very advanced, the owner only altered the internals, cam profile and exhaust. High compression pistons and a racing intake for the DCOE quad carb setup as well as straight pipes and tuning to the cam profile unleashed the power of the Sledgehammer V8. This specific unit produces 452hp and 619Nm of torque and it can do so without actually breaking the internals.
This modded Sabre II 390 SH hits a top speed of 167 mph (269km/h) and does 0-60 in 5 seconds flat. Since this owner also changed out the springs, dampers and sway bars, the car nearly reaches 1g during cornering. The total cost of the mods were estimated to be around 2500$ in today’s money (306$ in 1962), not counting the time the owner spent to tune the car.