Driven to Write salutes the passing of a motoring giant
The motoring world is a little bleaker today following news of the death of Erik Carlsson, Saab’s legendary rally champion and latter-day marque ambassador. Saab may well have made their commercial mark in the 1960s without his exploits on the special stages, forests and safaris of the World Rally championships, but Carlsson’s wins in the underpowered two-stroke 93-series were instrumental in making the world sit up and take notice of those funny looking little cars made in that funny sounding little place called Trollhättan.
Following his rally successes, marriage (to Stirling’s sister, Pat Moss) and move to the UK, Carlsson served for decades as Saab’s PR – overseeing model launches and press gatherings throughout the world, his charm, hospitality and charisma doing more to further brand-Saab than all the glossy aerospace-infused advertisements in the firmament. Stories of his larger than life character are legendary – his lust for living as defining a characteristic as his formidable driving skills.
By odd coincidence, he appeared on TV’s For the Love of Cars programme only a couple of weeks ago, so to read of his death at 86 years of age is sad news indeed. Autosport has written a fine eulogy here. Meanwhile, we at DTW bid doff our caps and bid a true original a fond and respectful Farväl.