The Coupe Des Alpes / Alpine Rally – 1966

Posted on 18. Mar, 2007 by in 1960-1969, 2000-2009, 97 (Sonett II & III), Personalities

As a follow-up to the Coupe Des Alpes Sonett II that is part of the permanent display at the Saab Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden I am providing more information on the race that it was notable for running in. The “Coupe Des Alpes” began as the Rallye des Alpes Française in 1932 and ran until 1973 when it was decided by the motoring authorities in France to choose the “Tour De Corse” over the Alpine Rally as a better representative of international rallying for the country. The Coupe Des Alpes is a tour between a number of cities in France. This rally route begins in Marseilles and ends in Chamonix, France. This road race covered some of the most difficult mountain roads. coupe_de_alpes.jpg

SAAB & Erik Carlsson entered the “Coupe Des Alpes” or the Alpine Rally in 1966 which was the first year that Erik Carlsson raced a Saab Sonett II. Erik “On The Roof” Carlsson’s co-driver was Torsten Ã…man. That Same year Pat Moss drove a Sonett II as well with co-driver Elizabeth Nyström.

Apparently, the Sonett could keep up with Porsche 904, however the team had a number of issues with their spark plugs firing. The result of a number of bad plugs started to make Erik Carlsson and Torsten Ã…man a bit suspicious although changing spark plugs regularly was typical with two-stroker motors that this Sonett II had. When the last set of spark plugs fouled out, the team had no choice but to give up. According to the Erik Carlsson writeup on Wikipedia, “Sabotage was suspected and the gasoline was sent to SAAB for analysis, where they found that it had been contaminated with a foreign substance.”


I have had some e-mails requesting more specifications on the Coupe Des Alpes Sonett II, so here they are:

Stock Factory Setup:

Longitudinally mounted 3-cylinder two-stroke engine.
Cylinder bore 70mm, stroke 72.9 mm, cylinder volume 841cc.
Compression ratio 9.0:1
Rating 60hp (44 kW) at 5200 rpm.
Torque 9.6 kgm (94 Nm) at 4000 rpm
Three Horizontal carburettors, Solex 40 DHW
Electric fuel Pump

Modified Racing Setup:

The Engine developed 93hp (68kW) at 6000 rpm
Cylinder bore 74mm, cylinder volume of 940cc.
Carburetteor valvues enlarged from 40 to 44mm diameter.
Front-wheel drive with a four-speed, short-shift gearbox with a lower final gear and a freewheel. Individual front suspension with coil springs. Rigid U-shaped rear axle. Tire size 4.50 x L15″ Dunlo racing tires. Source: “Mr. Saab


Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

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2 Responses to “The Coupe Des Alpes / Alpine Rally – 1966”

  1. Sverker DAHL

    14. Dec, 2007

    Since a short while back I am the owner og the very Saab Sonett II “P9978” VIN 000029 (autenticated) Eric and Torsten participated in Rallyes des Alpes 1966.
    I have waited for 26 years for the car to cross my way and now it is mine. My PLANS are to restore it to the rally-ready condition showed on the photo above.
    Thank you for a nice site,
    Sverker Dahl

    Reply to this comment


  1. Saab History » Saab Rally Driver Profile - Erik Carlsson - July 28, 2008

    […] Coupe De Alpes Rally […]

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