TTELA report on Erik Carlsson’s 80th birthday celebrations at the Saab Museum

The following was translated and sent in by Dippen, to whom I am very grateful.
This is a very inspirational report. With all that’s going at Saab right now, great stories like this should be cherished. I nearly had a tear in my eye as I read it.
Mr Carlsson was surprised that so many showed up for his 80th birthday celebrations at the Saab Museum. All I can say is that there were many more around the world who would have loved to be there and congratulate him on his birthday!
The original report, in Swedish, is here at TTELA. There are a number of photos there, too.
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Mr Saab – Erik Carlsson “on the roof” has now turned 80. This was celebrated on Saturday at the Saab Car Museum, where a lot of friends, admirers and Saab enthusiasts came to celebrate the rally legend.
A emotional Erik Said:
– I believe in Saab, don’t be worried, everything will be fine.
While he signed autographs and hugged people, Erik said:
– I can’t believe that so many have taken the time to come here and celebrate me. It is unbelievable!
When the celebration started at 11a.m a long queue was formed to the table where Erik sat and recieved the congratulations. The participants where both old and young people, fans and friends.
Gosta Karlsson, who has known Erik for many years, handed over a big beautiful orchid and shook hands with his friend.
– This little flower is for you Erik, it is alomst on this day, 50 years ago that we meet for the first time. Do you remember?
– Absolutely!, Erik says.
Gosta started to tell the story when they meet for the first time and smiled:
– We were participating in an ice racing competition in Vilhelmina. Erik won and I came in third place. After the competition when I was packing my stuff in to the car, Erik came forward and said : “You can call me this week and I will arrange so you can buy a car at a discounted price. And then we became friends”
– I was an old racing driver who drove for Saab 1960-1966 and was racing cars with Erik. Erik and I raced twelve competitions togheter. He is a very good old friend. Gosta says and smiles towards Erik.
Later it was time for the birthday kid’s next surprise.
– Erik, are you intrested in eating a bit of light brunch?, Per Olofsson said. He is the head of Saab’s staff resturants and put forward a big plate of oysters.
Oh yes! are they Irish? Erik says
No they are from Grebbestad, Per said and served the oysters.
They where very good, a thousand thanks.
Per Olofsson said that Erik is a big oyster lover and he during the years has talked a lot about it with anyone who shares the same interest.
– I had five oysters with me and he would easily have eaten five more. I promised to bring ten oysters when he turns 85 years.
Afterwards it was time for Erik to be congratulated by Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson and the management board.
– Hello, did you have time to show up?, Erik says.
– Of course, it is fun to see that Erik has eaten oysters, JAJ said and told a little anecdote.
– At a gathering in Ireland, Erik decided that we two should eat oysters. Erik ordered in 20 oysters; I ate two and he ate 18!
Jan Ake Jonsson did hold a tribute speech for Erik where he told about how important he has been for Saab during the years.
– As a birthday gift you will get this picture and a total renovation of the property you like so much.
Jonsson-Carlsson2.jpg JAJ was referring to Erik’s litlle red Saab 96 that he received as a birthday present when he turned 50.
After the speech there was cheering at the Saab Museum.
– The most important thing is not that I live for hundred years but that Saab lives long after this! Thousand thanks to all Saab employees. I belive in Saab and everything will be fine, I think most of the people here do believe the same thing too, otherwise they would not have been here.
Erik received applause and smiles.
TTELA-reporter: Congratulations Erik, how does it feel to turn 80 years?
– I am turning 80 years? No, you must be joking! Thanks. It is very nice to receive the congratulations in this way. I could not believe that so many took their time to come here.
TTELA-reporter: And there is no doubt in your mind about Saabs future?
– Not a bit, We have good cars,good people and very good chief ,CEO Jan Ake Jonsson. This will work.

Erik Carlsson’s birthday celebrations at the Saab Museum

March 5th 2009 saw the most prolific individual in the Saab family turn 80 years of age.
Erik CarlssonMr Saab, Erik Carlsson, is Trollhattan born and bred and a continuing employee of Saab Automobile to this day. It’s only right, then, that there will be a celebration for his 80th birthday in his hometown, at the Saab Museum.
Whilst his actual birthday was last week, the Trollhattan celebration will be held at the Saab Museum this coming Saturday, March 14th.
Erik Carlsson will be in attendance at the museum from 11am to 4pm and everyone is welcome to come along and wish him well.
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Another reason to go along this weekend….
Peter Backstrom tells me that the Swedish Saab Club are holding their annual meeting and swap meet. It’ll be a very busy time and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of cool cars there to look at.
Photos will be welcome!!

Friday Quick Snippets

Light-hearted stuff. It’s been another heavy week.
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Hemmings covered Mr Saab’s 80th Birthday on their blog today. It was good to see Mr John Libbos, formerly of SaabUSA, chime in in comments.
Thanks Gripen!
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Did you know:
In 1974, when Saab released the Combi Coupe Saab 99, they had 15% market share in Sweden.
It seemed like a lot to me when I read it.
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Some of the Saab Expressions merchandise on display at Geneva. Thanks Golfhunter!
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The Local – Swedish news in English – has a great pair of articles on people’s favourite Swedish words.
Part 1 and Part 2.
I’ve been trying to learn a bit more Swedish with all these news reports from Swedish papers that I’ve had to read. It’s been fun. I hope I get to learn more some day.
Let’s hope Saab can be a bit like the kackerlacka and live through these current circumstances.
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I’m not sure this one’s working……
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I have joined a gym, a move intended to compliment my recent return to basketball after a four year absence.
I did a circuit today that would have a taken a 25 year old Swade (who was not a model of mid-20s fitness) around 20 minutes to complete. Late 30’s Swade took twice as long. And the pain……oh, the pain.

Mr Saab, Erik Carlsson, turns octogenarian

I figured I’d better re-post this whilst it’s still the 5th of March somewhere in the world.
Happy Birthday to the biggest figure in Saab’s history – rally legend and Saab-lifer, Erik Carlsson!!!
Here’s the release from Saab:
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1204075.jpgErik ‘Mr Saab’ Carlsson is 80 years young this week (March 5) and still employed by Saab, making him the Swedish manufacturer’s longest-serving employee.
As international rallying’s first real superstar, Erik’s career with Saab spans six decades and today he remains actively involved as an international ambassador for the brand, attending Saab launches, dealer and customer events around the world.
The names of Carlsson and Saab are inextricably bound together. Born and bred in Saab’s home town of Trollhättan, Erik first sprang to fame in the early Sixties, as ‘the big man in a little car’, taking two back-to-back victories in the Monte Carlo Rally (1962-63) and a hat-trick of wins in the British RAC Rally (1960-62). His ‘David and Goliath’ exploits against more powerful cars were the springboard for launching Saab as a global car brand.
As a young boy, Erik used to stand on the perimeter of the local airfield in Trollhättan and admire the aerobatics of Saab aircraft flying overhead. Little did he know that Saab would soon start manufacturing cars, and that he would play such a key role in promoting its products.
He bought his first car, a second-hand Saab 92, in 1955 and it was a development of this car, the Saab 96, which took him to his most famous rally victories. Over the years, he has driven thousands of Saab cars and been involved in the development and testing of many of the models. There is probably no man on the planet who has driven more Saabs than Erik.
He currently drives a Saab 9-3 Aero SportCombi and, in celebration of his 80th birthday, Saab Switzerland is launching an uprated ‘Erik Carlsson’ edition of the 9-3 SportCombi and Sport Sedan, both featuring Saab’s widely-acclaimed XWD, all-wheel-drive system.
An ebullient character, full of stories and anecdotes laced with a Swedish charm for understatement, Erik continues to ‘live his dream’. He is still in great demand as a celebrity guest and entertaining speaker. His extraordinary memory for faces and names is as sharp as ever and almost as legendary as his exploits behind the wheel. Very much a ‘people person’, Erik is never happier than when meeting and sharing his experiences with enthusiasts.
“I’ve had a wonderful time with Saab,” he says. “We started off by producing real drivers’ cars with a distinctive character and this is as true today as it was when I first joined the company. Design and technology may have developed a great deal over the years, but the qualities that make a Saab a Saab are still same.”
“I’ve travelled the world as a driver and ambassador for the company and I plan carrying on just as long as I am able. I’ve been very lucky because my career with Saab has been a passion every bit as much as a job.”
Erik will enjoy his birthday at home with close family and friends. And on Saturday, March 14, he will attend a special Open Day at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan to be held in his honor.
“Erik is a truly charismatic figure, part of Saab’s living heritage,” says Jan-Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “As we move forward, he will continue to symbolize the enthusiastic, fun-to-drive tradition that inspires the development of our brand.”
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