My Dad used to tell me stories of rallying legends on the way to our yearly RAC jaunts; stories of speed, daring driving, movie style accidents and explosive fires, all hugely exciting for an 11 year old boy who already had a passion for cars.
One driver seemed to be spoken of more than others though “Erik Carlsson, in the SAAB 96, an amazing man who won the RAC rally 3 years in a row – brilliant”. I was shown pictures of unbelievably narrow bridges with the gorgeous SAAB flying over, I saw it upside down at the edge of the forest and sliding around lethal corners, gravel spraying everywhere; to me, Eric Carlsson simply became the stuff of legend, and has been ever since.
I’ll do a separate post about this, but I was extremely proud to have attended the ‘We are many. We are Saab’ meeting at SAAB GB HQ in Cranfield yesterday. Besides what must have been over 200 gorgeous SAABs to look at and talk about, Erik Carlsson himself graced the event and proved as popular now as ever. He did a quick interview with a classic car magazine, posed for photos and stood by a stunning black 900 Convertible, signing books, papers and even a set of sun visors for his adoring fans.
As if to reinforce his long standing influence on SAAB, I spotted his name proudly residing on a 1990’s 900 Carlsson and also on an almost new 9-3 Aero Carlsson – that’s over 20 years apart. He really is a SAAB legend isn’t he?