Saab is honouring the 50th anniversary of Erik Carlsson’s first British RAC Rally victory with a special edition 9-3 Aero for the British market, dubbed the 9-3 Aero Carlsson.
Carlsson, known as ‘Mr. Saab’, drove a Saab 96 to victory at a British RAC Rally event 50 years back, beginning a success story for him and the little Saab. Co-driver Stuart Turner also played a key role in this story, and was reunited with Carlsson at a celebratory event.
As part of the celebration, Saab Great Britain has launched a 280 hp special edition of the 9-3 Aero, the 9-3 Aero Carlsson. Only 96 will be made, a nod to the name of the Saab which brought Carlsson victory 50 years back.
Saab Legend Erik Carlsson Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First RAC Rally Victory
- Historic Saab 96 on display at RAC Club, London
- Celebration lunch reunites Erik and ‘rookie’ co-driver Stuart Turner
- Saab GB announces Saab 9-3 Carlsson limited edition
Rally legend Erik ‘Mr Saab’ Carlsson today celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first British RAC Rally win by being reunited his co-driver, Stuart Turner, and a replica of the car that took them to victory.
Erik, now 81 years old and still working as a roving ambassador for Saab, was guest of honor at a lunch organized by Saab Great Britain at the prestigious RAC Club in London. He shared the limelight with the diminutive Saab 96, shipped over from the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan, which will be displayed at the club for a week in honor of his achievements.
His victory 50 years ago at the wheel of the little three-cylinder, 750 cc car shook the world of rallying. It was the first of a hat-trick of RAC victories and Erik would go on to win the Monte Carlo rally twice, as well as the Acropolis and San Remo Rallies in the early 60s. Such ‘David and Goliath’ exploits against bigger, more powerful cars were the springboard for launching Saab as a global car brand.
Co-driver Stuart Turner, a little known motor sport journalist when he sat alongside Erik, would go on to achieve fame as international competition manager for BMC and Ford. He shared in today’s celebrations with Erik and after the anniversary lunch the two old friends entertained guests with a lively question and answer session.
To mark the occasion, Saab Great Britain also announced the launch of a 280 hp, Saab 9-3 Aero Carlsson model, a limited edition of which only 96 will be produced.
“This is a great occasion for me,” said Erik. “It has been wonderful to see so many old friends again, including Stuart who did such a fantastic job reading the maps. I wouldn’t have won without his help.
“I also feel very honored to have a car named after me. Anyone who loves driving and is as passionate about Saab as I am, will be excited about getting behind the wheel.”