Updated 09-Maj-2020

Competitions with Saab

People in image:
Margaretha von Essen, Monica Kjerstadius, Ewy Rosqvist, Helga Lundberg and Greta Molander.
Below: Rolf Mellde, Bengt Carlqvist, Eric Carlsson and Carl-Magnus Skogh
Source to image:

Saab's racing department

After World War II, Saab decided who up to now built aircraft, to begin producing a small car. Skilled engineers, like Olof Landbü and Rolf Mellde, was hired. Mellde had before the war worked on the design of two-stroke engines. Landbü had competed in reliability races in the 30's.

They experimented with highly-trimmed engines, mounted them in DKW bodies and competed with great success in 1947.

In late 1949 they persuaded Greta Molander, a successful Norwegian female racing driver and Gosta Bergqvist from Philipson AB company, which had the agency for Saab that they would participate in the 1950 Monte Carlo Rally with two Saabs.

Only a test series of 20 cars of model 92 were available at the end of 1949. They decided to use two of these. Greta Molander came in 55th place, but second in the women's class. Rolf Mellde in place 69 of 280 started with a car that was not yet in production. It gave appetite.

The same year (1950), customers could buy the new Saab, a Model 92. And for the first time, the Midnight Sun Rally, was running in Sweden. Rolf Mellde became second after a Porsche. The "Big Bang" came in the autumn in the National Trophy (Rikspokalen), where Mellde won totaly and Greta Molander the women's class. Saab was thereby branded one.

With Saab 92 came more talented young drivers. Eric Carlsson and Carl-Magnus Skogh. So far, Saab had no racing department. Cooperation was instead between the design department and the wagon laboratory. For a newly established car brand, Saab´s success on the racetracks gave nice advertising.

1957 they released model 93. The cars got performance boost and started placing well in international competitions - Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Jyväskylä, Acropolis etc. The name SAAB was now established.

With model 93, Ewy Rosqvist began to drive for Saab in 1957.

Source: saabveteranernatrollhattan



Saab 92 is the first production from Saab Automobile. Full-scale production started December 12, 1949. The design was very aerodynamic for its time, with a cW value of 0.30. The engine was a water-cooled 2-cylinder, 2-stroke 764 cc, 25 hp engine based on a DKW design, giving a top speed of 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph). The transmission had three gears, the first unsynchronised. Source: Wikipedia


The SAAB 93, pronounced ninety three, was first presented on December 1, 1955. It was styled by Sixten Sason and had a longitudinally-mounted 3-cylinder 748 cc, 2-stroke engine giving 33 hp (25 kW). Gearbox had three gears, the first unsynchronised. The 93 was the first SAAB to be exported from Sweden, with most exports going to the United States. Source: Wikipedia


The SAAB 96 was produced from 1960 to January 1980. Like the 93 it replaced, the 96 was a development from the old SAAB 92 chassis and, on account of its improvements and modernisation. The SAAB 96 had as first designed, a 750 cc, 38 hp (28 kW) 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine. By 1963 this was increased to 841 cc, 40 hp (30 kW). It was the first SAAB model officially imported to the UK. Source: Wikipedia

Some racing legends

Source: Wikipedia, hd.se, speedqueens.blogspot.se

Olof Landbü and Bengt Carlqvist

Olof Landbü (1918 - 1948) and Bengt Carlqvist. Olof Landbü had before the war, successfully competed a lot in reliability contests. Olof had early learned to know Bengt Carlqvist. They won the National Trophy 1946. The victory gave Olof appetite and they decided to prepare three tuned engines, assembled at DKW bodies. Among other things, they removed the ceilings to provide lower air resistance! The cars were driven by Landbü, Gosta Bergqvist and Rolf Mellde (replaced due to injury). They came first, second and third in the Skarpnack race in 1947.

Rolf Mellde

Rolf Mellde (1922 – 2009) started at SAAB in 1946 and got responsibility for the development of the engine. In 1948 he started his competition career in a DKW. When he became head of testing, he suggested that SAAB should participate in automotive competitions to show what the engines could do and in 1950 SAAB entered the Rikspokalen and won big.
In the 1960s it became harder to sell two stroke cars and Rolf Mellde went ahead with his idea to test a four stroke engine. They had tested several four strokers and the one that was best was the Ford V4. The engine was put into a test car.

Greta Molander

Greta Molander (1908 – 2002) was a Swedish/Norwegian rally driver and writer. She was born in Ystad, and grew up in Sweden. She married in 1938, and the couple settled in Norway. She started in her first rally in 1929. Her Monte Carlo Rally debut came in 1933, and she won the Coupes des Dames in 1937 and in 1952. She competed in the first European Rally Championship in 1953, where she won the women's class.

Eric Carlsson - Mr SAAB

Erik Carlsson, "Carlsson på taket" ("Carlsson on the roof"), is a SAAB legend. Born 1929 in Trollhättan, Sweden and joined SAAB just after the first model 92 was produced. Because of his PR work for SAAB, he is also known as Mr. SAAB. The first of many victories came in the Midnight Sun Rally of 1956, with a 3-cylinder 93. His string of victories in the 1960s – including 1960, 1961 and 1962 RAC Rally wins and 1962 and 1963 Rallye Monte Carlo triumphs. Erik married Pat Moss 1963 in London. Pat was also a famous rally driver and younger sister of Stirling Moss.

    Carl-Magnus Skogh

    Carl-Magnus Skogh, born 1925 in Vårvik, is a Swedish racing and rally driver. He was for many years, a SAAB factory driver and won 54 victories during the SAAB period.. From 1963-66 he worked for Volvo and won the Acropolis Rally in 1965 in a Volvo 122S.

    Cecilia Koskull

    Cecilia Koskull (1919-2010. Active between 1946 and 1956. She started off in Swedish national rallies, and won three Ladies’ awards in the Swedish championships in succession. She usually drove SAAB or Volkswagen but in 1950 she won the Midnight Sun Rally in the first Porsche who came to Sweden. Ferdinand Porsche congratulated her in person then in a telegram. Cecilia Koskull biggest international success was a 3-place in the Dutch Tulip Rally and a 4-place in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1951.

    Carl-Otto Bremer

    Carl-Otto Bremer (1933 - 1962) born in Helsinki, was a Finnish rally driver and began his automotive career in 1956. He finished 6th in the 1000 Lakes Rally in 1957 with Lampi on Saab 93 and in 1960 he won the same rally.
    The same year he became the second Finnish Rally Champion (he had already been unofficially in 1957 Saab 93) and finished 9th overall in the Monte Carlo rally. He died in a flight crash.

    Simo Lampinen

    Simo Lampinen (born 1943), a native of Finland, has had a lengthy history as a SAAB rally driver. He became part of the Finnish Saab Team. He won his first major rally, Finland’s Rally of the 1000 Lakes, in 1963 when he was only 20. He went on to win the Finnish Rally Championship that year. Lampinen repeated that accomplishment in 1964, and won the Ice Racing Championship in 1965.

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