Mellde, Molander, Carlsson, Moss, Skogh, Blomqvist, Eklund, Lampinen. Monte Carlo, RAC, Swedish Rally, Finnish Rally, Liege-Sofia-Liege, Midnight Sun – even a stint in Australia! Swedes, Finns and the odd bit of English. Two strokers, formula juniors, V4s and 99s. Snow and Safari.
The Saab Club Nederland YouTube channel has just blessed the rest of us with this fantastic video from the Saab Rally Department, documenting Saab’s rally history through the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
It’s absolutely brilliant. If you can’t watch them now, bookmark them and come back.
The story in TTELA is that of Johan Josefsson. Aside from being the tech guy who helped out the Saabs United Historic Rally Team in the Midnight Sun rally last year, his primary claim to fame is a beautiful orange Saab 99 service vehicle and a collection of other Saabs.
TTELA asked him about one very special part of that collection, which sounds like a relatively recent acquisition, too.
This silver Sonett II is not just one of the incredibly rare two-strokers, it was previously owned by Erik Carlsson himself!
And how did they find this out? Well, Josefsson is apparently one of those true Saab geeks, and he knew the chassis number of Erik’s car. Carlsson later confirmed it and signed the vehicle for him last summer 🙂
The car still needs a restoration, but is a treasure just as it is.
Click the link above and do a Googletrans. It’s well worth the effort.
Saab Great Britain is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week with rising sales and growing confidence as the Swedish premium carmaker enters a new era of independence.
Exactly 50 years ago, Saab Great Britain Ltd was founded to import and distribute Saab cars as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Saab-Scania group. Half a century later, it now represents a UK market that has grown to become Saab Automobile’s largest in Europe outside Sweden.
Saab GB reaches this milestone in its history only eight months after Saab Automobile was reborn as an independently-run business following its sale by General Motors to Spyker Cars NV of Holland.
As a result Saab GB, now based at new headquarters in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, is celebrating its 50th birthday with renewed confidence in the future, backed by a Saab business model that is as innovative as the company’s automotive products. The benefits include:
Last month, more than 1,200 Saab cars were sold in the UK, an 11per cent increase against September last year.
New Model Roll-out
Sales are expected to grow still further this year with the introduction of the full new 9-5 saloon range. Voted among the best new cars for 2011 in US Time magazine, Saab’s new flagship model comes with choice of six turbocharged engines, ranging in power from 160 to 300 hp, with CO2 emissions as low as 139 g/km.
Erik Carlsson celebrated the first of three consecutive RAC Rally wins in 1960. He was driving a three-cylinder 750cc Saab 96 in that event and it was the beginning of a golden era in rallying for Saab Automobile.
Today, the RAC honored the 50th Anniversary of that win with a function, which Saab GB used to launch the new 2011 Saab 9-3 Carlsson Edition for the British market.
When mt wife and I visited England earlier this year, we stayed a few days with Mike and Hilary P (I got to have my first drive of a Sonett in Mike’s white one). Mike and Hilary are good friends of Erik Carlsson’s and were fortunate enough to attend today’s ceremony in honour of the 50th Anniversary of Erik’s RAC Rally win.
Hilary & I were lucky enough to attend this historic event today in London. It was fantastic to be part of this celebration along with around 40 other people from Saab GB, great names from the world of rallying, authors & journalists.
The event took the format of a photo session with the car which was actually in the building, interviews with Erik, pre lunch drinks, introduction & launch of 9-3 Carlsson by Mr. Nash, formal lunch followed by some great stories from Erik, Stuart Turner & Peter Backstrom.
The whole experience was just priceless!! Only [died in the wool Saab nuts] like us understand this. On the way home I asked Hilary how in the hell can we ever drive anything but a Saab????
We were each given a limited edition print signed by Erik which you will see in the press pack (below).
The RAC building was magnificent & it was quite moving to find myself wandering around all that history and nostalgia.
A few of Mike’s photos from the event start the gallery below, followed by some of the images released by Saab documenting some of their over all history in rallying – in honour of the event.
Thanks to Mike for sending this stuff through and most of all – CONGRATULATIONS TO ERIK CARLSSON on receiving such an honour.
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.
It sounds like that II Antique Saab Convention in Poland over the weekend was a big success. There were around 160 Saabs in attendance with 60 or so of those being of the vintage kind.
The show was held in Mosina, a town of just 12,000 people, so it’s no surprise that the near-200 cars in attendance (whilst a Saab event, there were several other brands there, too) filled the town square to overflowing.
The guest of honour, of course, was none other than Mr Saab, Erik Carlsson, who made himself available to all comers. I’m told that whilst Erik was ferried around in a new Saab 9-3x courtesy of the local Saab dealer, his first instinct upon leaving the airport was to head for a red Saab 96 in the carpark!
And it looks like there were some very nice Red Saabs there for him to choose from:
The Polish Saab Community can be justifiably proud for hosting such an event, especially on the back of them having one of the highest attendances of all the Saab Support Convoys. The primary organisers were Krzysztof R and his daughter, Paulina, both Saab nuts and members of the rather informal Vintage Saab Club in Poland.
Bravada tells me that there a number of other countries represented there, too, most notably the Finns. Congratulations to all who attended and made this event a success.
Hopefully we’ll get some photos when it’s all said and done. The Polish Saab Support Convoys were huge – the next biggest after the Dutch and Trollhattan convoys – so these guys love their Saabs and I’m sure the show will be worth seeing.
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