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Erik Carlsson



Many new members to the Club ask the same question -  “Who is Erik Carlsson?”  I suppose a lot of people who were not around in the 60s have never heard of him even though this giant of a man is often referred to as “Mr SAAB”.

Erik was born in 1929 in Trollhattan, Sweden, not far from the SAAB factory, but at that time the factory was only producing aircraft. Erik was 20 when production of the first SAAB cars started.  His first passion was motorbikes, he bought a Norton 500 new when he was 18 from Nystrom’s where he was working. Pelle Nystrom was the Norton importer for Sweden. At weekends he took part in hillclimbs, motorcross, road racing and, during the winter, ice track racing.

After a spell in the army he returned to Nystrom’s and started driving cars. He saw the first SAAB 92 prototypes testing on the dirt roads around Trollhattan and began to take an interest in the cars as they were built in his home town.

It’s quite ironic that his first big car event was to be in a Volvo, as navigator in the 1953 Swedish Rally.

Eventually he bought a second hand SAAB 92, became regional champion in 1954, and with success came some help from the factory in the form of spares and repairs. After he started winning rallies more help came his way and an old works car was lent to him after his own car broke its steering whilst leading the Swedish Rally.

With more assistance from the factory more and more success came his way. He finished second in the 1959 European Rally Championship. He entered his first Monte Carlo Rally in 1960 and his first win came in 1962. He won again the following year but will always be remembered for his three consecutive RAC rally wins in 1960,1961 and 1962. He retired from competitive driving after the Baja 1000 in 1970 and I think its fair to say that he was probably the first Superstar rally driver occupying  the position that is nowadays afforded to people like Petter Solberg and Sebastian Loeb.

After retiring from competitions Erik worked in the PR department of SAAB and was involved with many SAAB projects including the Talladega SAAB 9000 Long Run in 1986.  A long lasting Public Relations exercise which has featured Erik is the “SAAB Safer Winter Driving” that started with  American journalists test-driving on Swedish winter roads. It was so successful that journalists from other countries became involved.

Erik was also heavily involved with SAAB Clubs throughout the world, attending events, judging classic car shows, presenting prizes etc.  He, together with his late wife Pat (who was the sister of Sir Stirling Moss), has been President/Patron of The SAAB Owners Club of G.B. Ltd since 1965 and has attended most of the Club’s important anniversaries through the years. He could have been seen at most of the International SAAB Club meetings.

“Mr SAAB” was a friendly, approachable person and his “Erik, call me Erik” put you immediately at ease.

R.I.P Erik Carlsoon

Picture:- Monte Carlo Rally 1963. Erik Carlsson´s 2nd straight win.

SOC Event Calendar


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strip steering 02



    As the final round, the Galloway Hills Rally was not a scoring round for us and my driver took the decision not to contest it, giving me a chance to dust off the 99 for another blast through the woods. Martin MacCabe, a Scottish Championship regular kindly agreed to read the notes. With a two car team bolstered by Grant Inglis in his lovely new MK2 Escort we made a good spectacle as the service barges towed us into the Rally HQ in the pretty town of Castle Douglas.

  • Motorsport

    The SAAB Owners Club recognises the importance of the Motorsport heritage of the marque and provides sponsorship to those members of the club who are competing in Motorsport at various levels.

    SAAB cars have been competing in motorsport since the early days of production. Many successes were achieved through drivers such as Club President, Erik Carlsson. This success continues today through Club competitors.

    Club members are competing in, Historic Road Rallies, Historic Stage Rallies, Classic Runs, Sprints, Hillclimbs and many other forms of the sport.

    For more information on the Club activities in Motorsport contact Richard Simpson


    Click HERE for details of the Club Sponsorship Scheme.

    Who is Erik Carlsson? - Click HERE to find out.


  • MotorSport Technical database


    Saab 99 Group 1 Tuning Kit

Local Branches

  • Dragon Saab Branch

    Dragon Saab are the South Wales regional group

    We are a group of Saab enthusiasts who are passionate for all Saab cars from the earliest two stroke models to latest modern Saabs. In fact as a car club we are passionate about all forms of motoring.

    Read more ...
  • West Midlands and Warwickshire Saab

    Come and join us at our monthly meet and chat with like minded individuals about all things Saab.

    All meetings will take place at the Stonebridge Island Toby Carvery (CV7 7HL) just off the A45/A446/A452 roundabout and the meetings tend to start at about 19:45.

    All welcome, we look forward to seeing you there.

    Location : Stonebridge Island Toby Carvery, CV7 7HL.
    Contact : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    This page will hold details and notes for the BEDFORDSHIRE, HERTFORDSHIRE & BUCKINGHAMSHIRE Branch

Services Category

Contact Us

Please use the form for general enquires about the club.  For specific Saab related enquiries it may be quicker to contact the appropriate Saab Registrar.

If your question is not specifically related to the club itself please give your membership number.  We are unable to respond to general questions from non-members.


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