SAAB Motorsport

Unique Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 Built as a Tribute to Erik Carlsson’s Victories

This Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 is a rare homologation special, built as a tribute to Erik Carlsson’s 1962 and 1963 victories at the iconic Monte Carlo rally.

This unique Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850 was built in 1965 to homologate Saab rally cars, and the purpose of the car was to participate in rally competitions. In addition, it is also a tribute to Erik “Carlsson på Taket” Carlsson’s victories in the Monte Carlo rally. What’s amazing is that the car has been preserved in mint condition in an air storage bubble for 20 years.

The last technical inspection on this race car was done in 2000, and since then it has not been started, although the engine is said to turn over (it has not stalled). According to the seller, all systems on the vehicle should be checked if it is intended to be used on roads or in competitions.

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Saab cars and rally competitions

As most of us know, Saab had huge success in rallying in the early 1960s and it was then a selling point in individual markets (USA). At that time, it was a sensation that a small car with a two-stroke engine could beat significantly larger and more powerful cars. But the Swedish construction was incredibly light, aerodynamic and robust, and at that time an extraordinary driver sat behind the wheel: Erik Carlsson På Taket. Among other things, he won the Akropolis Rally, the RAC Rally three years in a row and the Monte Carlo Rally two years in a row. Victory at the San Remo rally was also achieved.

It is finished in red, with white decals on the doors, and rides on a set of 15-inch wheels, shod with Maxsport RB4 tyres.
It is finished in red, with white decals on the doors, and rides on a set of 15-inch wheels, shod with Maxsport RB4 tyres.

Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850

As a tribute to Erik Carlsson and to homologate new rally cars, Saab brought out the sports model Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850. The car had a three-cylinder two-stroke engine of 841 cubic centimeters and a whopping 57 horsepower. The cylinder head was modified and gave the engine extra power. The car had a much tougher exterior with special chrome strips and Monte Carlo emblems. Inside, there were sports seats and a wooden sports steering wheel.

Now a well-preserved and unique example is being sold via Collecting Cars. It is about a Monte Carlo car that was also rebuilt to take part in the British Historic Rally Championship, but which instead had to live for 20 years and is preserved in an air bubble.

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Saab with many additional sports equipment and additional speedometers
Saab 96 Monte Carlo with many additional sports equipment and additional speedometers

Special reinforcements for rally competitions

As a tribute to Erik Carlsson and to homologate new rally cars, Saab brought out the sports model Saab 96 Monte Carlo 850. The car had a three-cylinder two-stroke engine of 841 cubic centimeters and a whopping 57 horsepower. The cylinder head was modified and gave the engine extra power. The car had a much tougher exterior with special chrome strips and Monte Carlo emblems. Inside, there were sports seats and a wooden sports steering wheel.

Under the hood, there are numerous improvements to improve performance
Under the hood, there are numerous improvements to improve performance

In addition to the Mone Carlo equipment, the car has a racing interior with a three-spoke Momo steering wheel, Corbeau seats, roll cage, Elliot rev-counter, a Brantz International tripmeter and fire extinguisher. The car is completed with a bright red color and a solid appearance without bumpers. The only reminder that the car is 57 years old is a few small bubbles on the windshield frame.

For the enjoyment of the future owner

The car is currently on auction sale and if our interested enthusiast were to buy it, it could be put back into operation. As such, it will certainly bring hours of enjoyment to the future owner either as a participant in a historic rally, or as a car for pleasant weekends outside the city or as a regular companion at the vintage car fair.

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Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.

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