Rally legend Erik Carlsson is to support the centenary celebrations of the Monte Carlo Rally by backing a team who will compete in this week’s XIVth Monte Carlo Historique rally in an exact replica of the car that took him to victory back in 1963.
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.
The exploits of Erik, aka ‘On the Roof’, Carlsson helped put Saab on the automotive map in the 1960s. He is a double winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1962 and 1963 and also took a hat-trick of RAC Rally victories in 1960-62. Now 82 years old, Erik was born in Trollhättan, Sweden, the home town of Saab, and was a works driver for the company throughout his career. Today, he is still employed as a roving ambassador for Saab.
Erik Carlsson was married to Pat Moss (1934-2008), who was also a successful rally driver with several wins in the Monte Carlo Rally ladies class, She was the younger sister of racing driver Sir Stirling Moss.
Erik’s ‘David and Goliath’ battles against larger, more powerful cars are now legendary in the annals of international rallying. With small two-stroke engines, 748 or 841 cc, the first Saabs lacked power for competition use and to overcome this disadvantage Erik developed a special driving technique. It was necessary to keep the engine revving at all times, so he used left foot braking while keeping his right food hard on the accelerator pedal. This allowed him to make the most of his car’s light weight and manoeuvrability while cornering.
Harnessing Horsepower – The Pat Moss Carlsson story
By Stuart Turner
Forewords by Sir Stirling Moss and Erik Carlsson
Covers the life of one of the greatest women rally drivers of all time, Pat Moss Carlsson.
Sister to Sir Stirling Moss, Pat had a highly successful career in show-jumping before moving into motorsport, going on to become European Ladies Rally Champion no fewer than five times. More info.
Saab 96 & V4 (Rally Giants Series)
By Graham Robson
The front-wheel-drive Saab 96, later the V4, made the brand into a rally icon in the 1960s, succeeding in events as diverse as the Monte Carlo, Britain's RAC rally, special stage events in every Scandinavian country, and the rough-and-tough Spa-Sofia-Liege Marathon. More info.