SAAB CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ERIK CARLSSON’S FIRST RAC RALLY VICTORY
*** Limited edition Saab 9-3 Aero Carlsson on sale now ***
In 1960, Erik ‘Mr Saab’ Carlsson exploded onto the world rally scene. Back then, the 31-year-old Swede was a relative unknown outside his native Scandinavia, but he immediately shook the rallying world by taking his three-cylinder, 750 cc Saab 96 to an emphatic victory in the RAC Rally – the first of a hat-trick of wins.
Erik would go on to win the Monte Carlo rally twice, as well as the Acropolis and San Remo Rallies. Such ‘David and Goliath’ exploits at the wheel of his diminutive Saab 96 against bigger, more powerful cars were the springboard for launching Saab as a global car brand.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that first RAC victory, Saab Great Britain is now offering motorists an exclusive opportunity to purchase one of just 96 limited edition Saab 9-3 Aero Carlsson models.
Powered by a 2.8-litre V6 turbo engine developing 280PS and exceptional torque of 400Nm, the Carlsson limited edition sprints from zero to 60mph in just 6.9 seconds. Equally impressively, 50-70mph acceleration is accomplished in just 6.3 seconds.
The vehicle is distinguished by exterior and interior enhancements including: 19”six-spoke alloy wheels, a sports chassis with rear body levelling, twin exhaust tailpipes, a rear boot lid spoiler, bi-xenon cornering headlights, a titanium-finish front grille and fog light surrounds, and a premium leather sports interior trim (including Nappa leather dashboard! – SW).
It is fitted with Saab’s advanced all-wheel-drive system, Saab XWD, complete with an electronic rear limited-slip differential. Drive torque is constantly distributed between the front and rear axles, and between the rear wheels, to ensure optimum grip and stability at all times. It is sophisticated technology Erik would have appreciated, had it been available 50 years ago.
Now 81 years old, Erik remains actively involved as an international ambassador for Saab, attending car launches, dealer and customer events around the world. “I’m very proud to have such a great car named after me,” he said. “Anyone who loves driving and is as passionate about the Saab brand as I am, will be excited about getting behind the wheel of this car.”
Jonathan Nash, Managing Director of Saab GB, said: “Erik Carlsson and the RAC Rally are key elements in Saab’s history and we are delighted to produce this special edition in his honour.
“Its design stays true to Saab’s Scandinavian roots and it includes great features that offer a powerful driving experience. I’m confident these Carlsson editions will be a great success with our customers and I’m sure they won’t be on dealer forecourts for long.”
The limited edition 9-3 Aero Carlsson is available from £26,495.