Tag Archives: Pat Moss

Erik "On The Roof" Carlsson Turns 81 Years Old

Posted on 05. Mar, 2010 by .


Legendary Saab rally driver, Erik “On The Roof” Carlsson or “Mr. Saab” to others, turns 81 years old today. Erik “På taket” Carlsson, or 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 på 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 (1934-2008), 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 including the recent Save Saab event in the United Kingdom where he continues to hold the Saab torch. 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.

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The SAAB 96 MC850 : 1966-1967

Posted on 26. Nov, 2008 by .


Photo Credit: William ‘Chip’ Lamb

The SAAB 96 Monte-Carlo 850 (MC850) was created in 1966 and 1967 to show homage to Erik Carlsson and Pat Moss for their victorious rallying circuits they won at the Monte Carlo rallies and the incredible press they provided to SAAB.

The SAAB 96 MC850 had a sport chassis and an 850cc engine as well as other appointments.

This model for SAAB came equipped with the following specifications:

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The SAAB 96 : 1960 – 1980

Posted on 26. Nov, 2008 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

The SAAB 96 debuted in 1960 as a successor to the 93F.

The 96 was made famous by notable legendary Saab Rally Champions Erik “On The Roof” Carlsson as well as his wife, Pat Moss.

The 96 was built in the Trollhättan, Sweden factory due to capacity in and the V4 models began production in Uusikaupunki, Finland factory.

This model had the longest run of any Saab in history at 20 years, where it went until 1966 when it was converted into model equipped with a V4 engine in 1967 that carried it all the way until 1980.

On the 8th of January, 1980 the last Saab 96V4 rolled off the production line in Finland. The last 96V4 off the production line was driven by rally legend Erik Carlsson from Finland direct to the Saab Museum at Trollhättan where it is on display today.

This new model for SAAB and came equipped with the following specifications.

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Legendary Pat Moss Passes Away At Age 73

Posted on 18. Oct, 2008 by .



Photo Credit: Mr. Saab / Saab Automobile

It is my sad duty to report that Patt Moss, legendary rally driver and wife of Erik “On the Roof” Carlsson has passed away on Thursday, October 16th at the age of 73.

Here is a well written report of her incredible life in the U.K. Telegraph.

Please let’s pause and give respects to her passing and wish Erik Carlsson and family, our deepest condolences.

Pat Moss, who died on Thursday aged 73, became one of Britain’s leading horsewomen and factory-team rally drivers, winning the European Ladies’ Rally Championship five times, the Coupe des Dames on the Monte Carlo Rally eight times, and scoring the Mini Cooper’s first big rally victory in the Tulip Rally of 1962.

Taught to drive at the age of 11 by her elder brother, the great motor racing driver Stirling, in the family Jeep, Pat Moss was a confident driver of Land Rovers on the family farm by the time she was 17, when her father treated her to her first car, a 1936 Morris Ten.

She enjoyed factory drives with all the major teams of the day for 20 years, starting in 1954 in a local car club rally near her home at Tring, Hertfordshire, in her own Triumph TR2, accompanied by her groom, Ann Riley. They won the event, the pair being the only crew to find both a worm and a feather.

With the success of this treasure-hunt behind her, she offered her services to all the major car companies – she badly wanted to drive for Triumph, as the two-litre TR2 was winning all the club rallies of the day, and was a major contender on the international scene.

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The Coupe Des Alpes / Alpine Rally – 1966

Posted on 18. Mar, 2007 by .


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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Erik “On The Roof” Carlsson & The SAAB 96 – Photography

Posted on 08. Mar, 2007 by .


Earlier this week I had provided you a photo of Erik Carlsson’s 1966 SAAB 96 RAC Rally car that is part of the Saab Automobile USA Heritage Collection. As a follow up to that piece as well as the rally video footage following that, I thought I should provide you a number of pieces of vintage photography that covers some of Erik “On the roof” Carlsson’s glory days in the rally scene.

These photos cover Erik Carlsson at rallies such as the RAC Rally, the Safari Rally & Monte-Carlo.

Here is also a link once again for more information on the legendary Erik “on the roof” Carlsson and his rally history.

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile


Erik Carlsson at the 1964 Monte-Carlo Rally


Erik Carlsson & Pat Moss at the 1964 Monte-Carlo Rally


Erik Carlsson at the RAC_Rally


Erik “On the Roof” Carlsson at the East African Safari Rally in 1962


Erik Carlsson with his SAAB 96 at the 1961 Swedish Rally, victory went to Carl-Magnus Skogh”


Erik Carlsson at the Monte-Carlo Rally in 1964

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Production Concept