Saabfestival 2015: In memory of Erik Carlsson

Mille Miglia 189, Erik and codriver Torsten Åman. Photocredit: Saab
Mille Miglia 1989, Erik and co-driver Torsten Åman. Photo credit: Saab

As the most of you know, we got the sad message on Wednesday 27th of May that Erik Carlsson had driven his last mile. Erik is the true “Mr. Saab”, and in all respect for other that do and have done a great job for Saab, Erik is probably is the greatest. Erik promoted Saab very well in the years he was challenging with a Saab, and maybe even better after he started working with public relations for Saab (at that time I’m not sure “public relations” was a position – but that was what Erik do). I had the honour to meet Erik a few times, and two things impressed me very much. The one thing was how patient he was, everybody that wanted a autograph or a picture together with Erik get it – the other thing was a remarkable memory regarding people he had meet earlier. It was like “where are you from” the first time we met, “you was from Norway, right” the second time, and after that like “how is it going in Norway”….

At the Saab-festival 2015 in Trollhättan last month, there was a ceremony commemorating Erik Carlsson. Instead of a a moment of silence, there was a few two-stoke Saabs that was started up to honour Erik. Later, Peter Bäckström from the Saab Car Museum had Gunnar Palm, one of Eriks co-drivers, at the stage and shared some memories from his time with Erik. I captured this with my pocket camera without a tripod, so I’m sorry for the motions – it was a bit difficult to hold the camera in the exact same position over my head for half an hour or so… 😉 I also have a clip of the two-stokes, that I will share with you later. But here is Gunnar and Peter with some great stories – ENJOY. (English language)

Rest in peace Erik, you will never be forgotten.

edit: I got some reports that there was some problems with the sound on the YouTube-clip, that is now fixed.

The Saab Museum – some pictures

Erik Carlsson signing his book for my dad (Museum director Peter Bäckström can be seen lurking in the background)
March 14th 2009 marks the day when I first visited the museum in Trollhättan. It also happened to be the day they celebrated Erik Carlsson’s 80th birthday and I have to admit that my knowledge of Erik’s epic rally victories was severely limited at the time, but I was eager to learn more.

According to wikipedia, Erik won the Monte Carlo rally in 1962 and 1963 driving a 96. In 1961 he placed 4th in, of all things, a 95. It was quite unusual to race a combi, but the 95 was equipped with a new four speed transmission that was sorely needed. Next year SAAB had finally fitted the 96 with the same transmission and Erik went on to win the race. He also won the RAC rally three years running (1960-62), but the organizers still did not let him keep the trophy permanently (each time he won they promised he would get to keep it if he won the race just one more time…).

The museum is filled with priceless relics from SAAB’s past. Prototypes and race cars share space with neatly kept representatives of their respective model ranges. There is of course the very first prototype, the URSAAB (“ur” probably short for “ursprunglig” — the original) from which the 92 was derived. Next there are the Sonetts, and I think it is safe to say the AeroX steals a lot of attention towards the end.

Read moreThe Saab Museum – some pictures

Video: 50 years sideways

I was going to wait for the weekend before I posted this on site, but now that Autoblog’s got hold of it, I’m getting emails left, right and centre.

Here’s a bit of weekend entertainment for you.

It’s 90 minutes long, so make sure you’ve got a good supply of popcorn and a comfy chair. It’s well worth taking a break for this one.

The film is mostly about racing and its history, with an emphasis on rallying. There’s a good deal of Saab vision in there, too. But it’s not a Saab enthusiasts’ film, it’s a motoring enthusiasts’ film.



Thanks to Gunnar for the tip!

Erik Carlsson attends SOC meeting

I did cover a little of the SOC meeting at Stratford just over a week or so ago, but I got these additional photos in and couldn’t resist giving it some more air time.

Erik Carlsson, that’s Mr Saab to you, lives in England now and is still quite active in Saab circles. A few weeks ago he was down in France waving off competitors in the Monte Carlo re-enactment rally. Occasionally he gets out and about with the Saab Owners Club GB as well.

Mr Saab attended the Winter Getaway at Stratford and one of his good mates, Mike P, who’s also one of my good mates over there in blighty, sent through the following about the weekend.


I have attached a few pics from the SOC of GB Winter Weekend event in Stratford upon Avon that Hilary & I organised for the Club.

The event was a great success especially as Erik & his cousin, Brit Marie, joined us on Saturday, staying overnight & going home on Sunday afternoon.

At dinner on Saturday Erik told many stories of his rallying successes which were just fantastic, as usual. He also presented the Erik Carlsson best car award to Mike Thompson for his lovely red bullnose stroker & the farthest travelled award to Norbert Sossadzin & Barbel Kostal who came all the way from Bremen in Germany.

On Sunday morning, before we took him & Brit Marie on a tour of the Cotswolds area, he joined us for the group photos & mingled with his “followers” & their cars

We were so honoured to have our hero, Mr. Saab, with us on this great occasion. Many of our members who attended described it as “priceless”.

He also said that he enjoyed it very much & that he is looking forward to the next one.

Best wishes to you both,

Mike & Hilary

click to enlarge the images…..

Saab at the 100th Anniversary of the Monte Carlo Rally

RedJ covered the press release relating to this story yesterday, but there’s a little more that I wanted to share with you today.

Peter Backstrom, from the Saab Museum, is heading down to Riems, in France, today. He’s taking Erik Carlsson along with him and together they will salute the chief editor of Oldtimer Markts magazine, Peter Steinfurth, as he drives off to compete in the Monte Carlo historic rally.

This is significant as Mr Steinfurth will be driving a replica of Erik Carlsson’s Monte Carlo winning Saab 96 – a car the magazine staff have been building especially for this race.

You can see some video of the two-stroke engine being fired up for the first time here.

It’s also significant because this year’s Monte Carlo historic rally celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the original event, which began in 1911. Erik Carlsson won the Monte Carlo twice in a Saab 96, in 1962 and 1963. Lesser known is his 4th placing in 1961 in a Saab 95, which had he placed three spots higher might have been one of the only times a rally of such significance was won by a driver in a station wagon!

Peter Backstrom has his camera on hand and will hopefully share some images from the event when it’s all done and dusted.


A pre-start event was also held in Stockholm a few days ago, and Jörgen from the Saabs United Historic Rally Team was on hand to get some photos and video.

The cars were waved off by Bo Hellberg, the former director of the Saab Rally Team and there was a very nice two-stroke Saab 96 amongst them.

Jörgen and Bo Hellberg….

Some of the starters in Stockholm….

And some video of the Saab 96 two stroke of Fredrik Ekendahl leaving from the KAK club in Stockholm….


SAAB returning to Rally racing?

Not exactly.

But an exact replica of Erik Carlsson’s car from 1963 will start at this week’s XIVth Monte Carlo Historique.

The press-release from Saab reads as follows:

The classic Saab 96 has been created by German vintage car magazine Oldtimer Markt and will be driven by chief editor Peter Steinfurth and navigator Thorsten Loeber .They will take the start at Reims this Friday (28 January) in a car that recreates the original in every detail, right down to the 283 entry number Erik used that year. He will be on hand to wave them off.

Saab 96, 1963 Rallye Monte Carlo. Specification:
Engine: 3 cylinder, two stroke longitudinal
Displacement: 841 cc.,
Power: 70 hp (52 kW) @ 6000 rpm
Front wheel drive, 4 speed gearbox with freewheel
Brakes: Discs at front
Tires: Dunlop SP 155×15


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