Saab Rally Driver Profile – Erik Carlsson

Posted on 28. Jul, 2008 by in 2000-2009, 96, Personalities, Trollhättan, Sweden

Erik “pÃ¥ taket” Carlsson, or “pÃ¥ taket” in Swedish meaning “on the roof”, was born March 5, 1929 in Trollhättan, Sweden.

The nickname On the roof, apparently originated by from the children’s book, “Karlsson pÃ¥ taket” by Astrid Lindgren. In this book,the Karlsson character lived on the roof of an apartment building. This “on the roof” name was given to Erik Carlsson because he had the infrequent habit of rolling his Saab rally car on its roof.

Erik joined SAAB as a rally driver, just after the first SAAB 92 model was produced and participated in his first rally with it, the Rikspokalen in 1955. Carlsson, married to Pat Moss on March 3rd, 1963, began a relationship that expanded well beyond the homefront. Patt Moss, a younger sister of legendary rally driver, Stirling Moss eventually became Erik Carlsson’s co-pilot through most of his successful rally career.

The early SAABs that Erik Carlsson drove were significantly underutilized two-stroke vehicles that required the driver to keep the high revolutions up while moving, which meant high speeds at all times. When driving these “strokers” at high speeds at all times, Erik Carlsson developed what was called “left foot” braking where you use your left foot to brake while in the same instance, your right foot to maintain the speed at all times.

While Erik Carlsson maintained 1st place in most of his rally circuits, the most notable rally he participated in was the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally where he was victorious.

The year following this victory, both Erik Carlsson and Pat Moss wrote a book called “The Art & Technique of Driving”.

The most recent book on Erik Carlsson’s career was published in 1999, titled “Mr. Saab”. The Mr Saab title was given to Erik “On the Roof” Carlsson by Saab Automobile as he ended his rally career to continue a public relations career for the Swedish car company.

Today, Erik Carlsson has been known to make appearances at various Saab Festivals and Saab Conventions all over the world, and with any luck maybe you will get a chance to meet this legendary Saab rally champion to thank him for all of the recognition, attention and history he has brought to the Saab Automobile brand ever since.

I leave you with his list of lifetime rally achievements.

Erik Carlsson – Lifetime Highlights
Year Rally Finish Car Co-driver
1955 Rikspokalen 1st Saab 92
1957 1000 Lakes 1st Saab 93  
1959 Swedish Rally 1st Saab 93
1959 German Rally 1st Saab 93
1960 RAC Rally 1st Saab 96  
  Akropolis Rally 2nd Saab 96
1961 Monte Carlo Rally 4th Saab 96  
  RAC Rally 1st Saab 96
  Akropolis Rally 1st Saab 96  
1962 RAC Rally 1st Saab 96
  Monte Carlo Rally 1st Saab 96  
  East African Safari Rally 7th Saab 96
1963 Monte Carlo Rally 1st Saab 96  
  Liège-Sofia-Liège Rally 2nd Saab 96
1964 Monte Carlo Rally 1st Saab 96 Sport  
  San Remo Rally 1st Saab 96 Sport  
  Liège-Sofia-Liège Rally 2nd Saab 96 Sport
  East African Safari Rally 1st Saab 96 Sport  
1965 BP Australian Rally 2nd Saab 96 Sport
1966 Coupe De Alpes Rally Last Saab Sonett II  
  Akropolis Rally 2nd Saab 96 Sport  
1967 Czech Rally 1st Saab 96 V4
1969 Baja 1000 3rd Saab 96 V4  
1970 Baja 1000 5th Saab 96 V4

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2 Responses to “Saab Rally Driver Profile – Erik Carlsson”

  1. Roger Brandin

    16. May, 2015

    I found a yellow SAAB 86in a small carshop in Germany. They say its an old Carlsson car. Do you know anything about this car?

    Reply to this comment


  1. Saab History » A Film By Saab Sweden on Erik Carlsson’s Rally History - July 29, 2008

    […]   I have just received another film from the former New England Saab Association secretary, this time a bit longer than the previous film .   This film, complete with narration and produced by SAAB SWEDEN in 1964, features Erik Carlsson in the entire Monte-Carlo Rally, footage of the SAAB ANA testing and competition facility as well as brief clips of the Safari, Tulip, Polish and RAC Rallies.   Erik Carlsson as well as his co-pilot, Gunnar Palm, were both present at the 2007 60th Anniversary Saab Festival dinner that took place in Trollhättan, Sweden last summer.   If you are interested Saab’s world rewknowned rally legend Erik Carlsson or Saab Rallying in general, please sit back, relax and enjoy the nearly 45 minutes worth of vintage rally footage in none other than the legendary SAAB 96.    Email This Post  Print This Post […]

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