Erik Carlsson

Erik Carlsson

5/3/1929

Swedish rally driver for Saab. Married Pat Moss on March 3, 1963, in London, also a rally driver and younger sister of Stirling Moss. Because of his public relations work for Saab, he is also known as Mr. Saab. 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. 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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