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.