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Erik Carlsson

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Erik Carlson & Saab 96, 1999, Keystone Co, USA
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Erik Carlson & Saab 96, 1999, Keystone Co, USA

Erik Carlsson, aka Mr Saab, born 1929, Swedish rally driver for Saab automobile:

Erik Carlsson married Pat Moss (March 3 1963, London), also a rally driver (and younger sister of Stirling Moss - yet another rally driver). Because of his PR work for Saab, he is also known as mr. Saab.

In John Gardner's James Bond novel Icebreaker Bond gets several weeks of driving training from Erik Carlsson as preparation for an arctic assignment. He also outfits and delivers Bond's "Silver Beast", a Saab 900 Turbo, in Licence Renewed.

Because the early Saabs he raced with were seriously underpowered, he had to keep a high speed in the curves and developed the left-foot braking technique to perfection. Left braking was done by keeping the right foot on the gas pedal while pushing the brake pedal with the left foot. This brought the rear out in a controlled skid while maintaining speed. The drawback of this was that it wore down the brakes.

In 1965 Pat Moss and Erik Carlsson wrote a book:"The art and technique of driving" (published by Heinemann). This book was translated to Dutch, German, Japanese and Spanish.


Monte Carlo Rally Saab 96, driven by Erik Carlsson

The expression 'Carlsson on the roof' originated from the children's story Karlsson på taket by Astrid Lindgren where a Karlsson character lived on the roof of an apartment building, and the habit of Erik Carlsson to occasionally roll a rally car on its roof. In the Safari Rally he even rolled the car intentionally to get out of a mud pool. When journalists later doubted his story since there were no dents in the roof he proved it by rolling the car again.



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