Home | Wiki | Live Chat | Dev Stream | YouTube | Archived Forums | Contact

Skånska Motorkompaniet -- Sabre IV 1974 - 1982


Based outside of Lund, Sweden, Skånska Motorkompaniet (shortened SkM) was founded in 1946. The company’s main focus is on performance and comfort vehicles, mainly muscle car style of vehicles, as well as sedans and SUVs.

SkM would later open a transport vehicle division, Skånska Transportfordon AB, which produced cargo vehicles such as vans and pickup trucks.


1950-1958 Sabre I

Introduced in 1950, the Sabre I 341 V8 is a high performance coupe by SkM. It was one of the faster not-overpriced production cars available in the early 50s, easily getting over 125 mph. It maxed out at 139mph as a top speed. This was achieved by an overhead cam 5.6L V8 (The Thunderbolt V8) feeding 267hp to the rear wheels. The engine is paired to a high performance four speed gearbox and does 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. This package only cost 1407$ in 1950 (14400$ in today’s money)

The Sabre I was also fitted with a larger then normal fuel tank due to fuel economy being an awful 7.4 MPG US / 8.9 MPG UK.A low roll angle gives this 1.7 ton coupe decent cornering capabilities and finishes the SkM airfield track in just 1 min and 47 seconds. The car was incredibly popular amongst muscle car buys and family sports car buyers.

The 1954 Sabre I King Line

In 1954, new trim of the Sabre I was introduced featuring softer suspension and a somewhat compact 3.1L inline 6 producing 149 hp. It’s a more comfort oriented trim with a two speed automatic gearbox and premium interior and entertainment. It was mainly marketed as a premium utility vehicle. The only exterior difference is the exhaust and rear badging as well as skinnier tires.

Customer mod spotlight

Exterior of tuned 1950 Sabre I

Tuned Thunderbolt V8 from 1953.
The Sabre I was a popular candidate for customer tuning. Most mods focused on trying to extract more power from the Thunderbolt V8 and some mods included engine swaps as the engine bay was quite enormous.

A example of a common modification comes from 1953. The owner of the a 1950 production year Sabre I 341 V8 completely reworked the fuel system and internals of the engine. Triple twin barrel carbs with race intakes were mounted on the engine, high compression pistons, a more aggressive cam as well as tuned ignition timing and fuel mixture. 2 inch straight pipes were installed and wider sports tires and upgraded brakes. This tune gives the car 341 hp and a new top speed of 241 kmh (150 mph) and 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. The owner of this specific Sabre I also shortened the exhausts so they’re just behind the front wheels, poking out from the side.

However, the first generation of Thunderbolt V8 units were not really built to withstand the torque and power generated from crazy owner mods so these modded cars often broke down after heavy usage.


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

Engine 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.


As much as I love the amazing designs and cars I’m not a fan of the comparisons you’re pulling to real life cars, that kind of stuff has never been fair or worked in Automation.
Feel free to keep doing it I just wanted to point out that it’s not a good milestone or way to measure a car in the Automation META.


Thanks for the feedback! This shall be resolved in the next post. No comparison to real life cars.


Keep doing it if you want to, I’m just saying that real life cars are usually slower than Automation cars.


Really love the amount of chrome that you’ve done there. Well done.


The Sabre II would have been a supercar before the term had even existed. 375 horsepower in 1960 would have seemed like an astronomical amount for a road car back then…


Hello and thank you for your reply.

We take great care at Skånska Motorkompaniet to carefully engineer every power plant to squeeze out as much as possible from it without resorting to using special, high cost internals.

Since the engine from the 1960 Sabre II 390 HS is no longer in use in our modern lineup (there is a revised and modernized version), we can proudly present to you the technology behind it with a detailed spec sheet.

The Sledgehammer V8 was first introduced in 1960 and is a 6.4L (6408 cc) cast iron 60* V8. It’s entirely in-house developed. We also make sure that every variant produced has a torque curve that smoother then a baby’s butt.

Engine family details
101.5 / 99 mm bore/stroke
Single Overhead Cam 3-valve design

Variant specifications

Internals (0 quality slider)
Cast iron crankshaft
Heavy duty forged con rods
Forged pistons.
8.5:1 compression ratio.

Cam setup (0 quality slider)
Sport tuned (value of 69).

Fuel system (0 quality slider), runs on 92RON leaded fuel
Proprietary DCOE quad carb setup called Air Jet, with performance intake.
13.7 fuel mixture.
Advanced ignition timing (value of 82).
Redline of 5500 RPM.

Exhaust & headers (0 quality slider)
Tubular headers with 2.5 inch dual exhausts and one baffled muffler.


Thank you, sir or ma’am! We’re glad you like the work of our chrome fetishist design team.


1966 - 1974 Sabre III

Third generation Sabre introduces a brand new body design as well as a galvanized steel chassis to counter corrosion. While the front has gotten quite a major rework, the side vent ports remain the same. The three lines through the B on the lettering on the rear show that this is in fact the Sabre III and nothing else. The huge body of this car seats, as usual, four people, even those who are abnormally tall. The fuel lid was also relocated to the back, where the rear badge is. With the Sabre III, power steering was standard equipment across the range and as usual, the prices were very reasonable, even low end compared to some similar cars of this era.

Sabre III 341 V8

No major changes were made to the engine though it is producing a bit more horsepower, rated at 330hp for this generation of the Sabre. changes to the suspension were made and it now has Gas mono tube dampers for better performance and comfort. It easily hits 149 mph and does 0-60 in 6.55 seconds. The reduced 0-60 time was caused by the increase in weight. Priced at only 2033$ (15480$ today), it attracted mainly muscle car buyers but also utility premium car buyers and family sport premium.

Sabre III 390 SH

Introduced in 1968, the top tier performance trim of the Sabre is even more powerful out of the factory. With 408 horsepower, it does 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and hits a 159 mph top speed. It features a new five speed manual transmission and fancy colored wheels as well as gigantic side exhausts and a wing. New lighter weight forged con rods were used to increase reliability at high RPMs. At 2269$ (17280$ today), it was very popular as a muscle car and track day car.

Sabre III 189 King Line

The more tame and comfortable trim, introduced in 1968, uses a three speed automatic paired with the good ol’ inline 6 as seen in previous models. This one, however, uses hydropneumatic springs for an extra comfortable ride. The same visual differences are present as before; different badging, skinnier tires and different exhausts. For only 2190$ (16680$ today), it was popular in many markets, including utility and utility sport premium.

Customer Mod spotlight

A mod from 1971 cough our attention. The owner managed to get over 100 extra horsepower from the car and landed on a total of 529hp. He also stripped the interior of the rear seats and removed the entertainment system in order to turn the car into a mean racing machine. It now reaches 170 mph (274kmh) and does 0-60 in just 4.9 seconds. It finishes a quarter mile in 13.15 seconds and pulls 1.01 Gs in 20m cornering test. The throttle response is also rated at a value of 47.8 and the engine now hits 651Nm @5500 RPM. The owner also used custom built long tubular headers and as per usual, straight pipes. However, the greatly increased redline of the engine has lead to excessive wear on the crankshaft if the car is held at redline for prolonged periods of time.


This third-generation Sabre looks and feels more like a muscle car than its predecessors - which was just as I expected it to be.


1974 - 1982 Sabre IV

Fourth generation of Sabre was released in 1974. It was often referred to as the Sabre 3.5 because it looked pretty similar to the old Sabre. Design wise, the amount of chrome was slightly reduced and “flip out” headlights were added, like on a Dodge Charger. The rear was made more elegant and more compact, with smaller rear lights and the fuel cap is now on the side. Side mounted indicators were also added. Only visual changes between trims is badging, exhausts and tire size.

The Sabre IV is one of the more rare generations of Sabre to find nowadays as it wasn’t fitted with a catalytic converter, nor did SkM make changes to the car to meet regulations. Instead, the Sabre IV was pulled out of markets where catalytic converters became mandatory. Due to this, only a select few Sabre IVs exist in markets such as the US of A.

Sales were also much lower then previous versions as oil embargoes of the 70s and gas guzzling engines don’t mix.

Sabre IV 341 V8

The 341 introduces few new changes. A cool 8-track player was added together with standard interior and the five speed manual was used even for the most “basic” trim in the line. The engine remained mostly the same with no changes except that 0-60 was lots faster at 6.1 seconds and that it was in general faster now. For only $ 2858 ($ 14300 today), it saw moderate amounts of popularity in many markets, including muscle, family sport and utility premium.

Sabre IV 390 SH

Introduced in 1977, it features the Sledgehammer V8 that now has 416 horsepower, lots more cornering Gs and massive quad exhausts on the rear together with massive tires. Priced at $ 4363 in 1977 ($ 17760 today), it was mainly popular in the muscle car segment.

Sabre IV 341 King Line

Introduced together with the regular 341, instead of being introduced some years after the 341, the King Line no longer uses the inline six. It uses the regular 341 engine paired with an automatic three speed gearbox, comfortable hydropneumatic suspension and premium interior and 8-track. At $ 3789 ($ 18960 today), it saw lots of popularity in the utility premium segment as well as utility sport and luxury and some popularity in the muscle segment.

Sabre IV 390X / 390 Turbo

In 1980, SkM released a model internally called the 390X (experimental), which was sold as the Sabre IV 390 Turbo. It was a special edition, limited production Sabre IV 390SH with a turbocharger and mechanical fuel injection with individual throttle bodies. Running on regular leaded fuel, it didn’t see too much popularity as leaded fuel was slowly being phased out. The turbo engine hits 605hp and 750Nm of torque and gives the car very decent performance numbers. 4.8 second 0-60 and a 176mph top speed and 12,9 second quarter mile sprint. Priced at $ 6614 in 1980 ($ 19800 today), it did sell in the supercar segment as well as sport, track day and muscle. Depending on how you treated the car, there was a risk that the conrods would break as they were not designed to this amount of torque. The Sabre 390 Turbo is thus somewhat rare to find all stock nowadays.


These are some seriously cool designs. I’ll have to separately compliment you on a mk3 sabre I think. That rear just works for me