New Carlsson in Europe

There’s been absolutely nothing mentioned of this in Australia, nor in GM Media’s USA section. GM Media UK is also blank on the subject.

So I guess I better tell you.

Perhaps the most collectible of all classic Saabs is the 900 Carlsson of 1990-1991. Only a few hundred were made for the UK market. The car was distinguished from it’s Aero brothers by a subtle, yet effective body kit, pinstriping and some extra beef under the hood. Available in white, black or red, it was and remains a true collectors item.

Via GM Media in Switzerland, there’s news of a new generation of Carlsson. This translated from the original press release (in French):

Shown first at the Geneva Motor Show, the Saab 9-3 Erik Carlsson marks the return of a great figure in rallying. Saab dedicates this model, with 195hp, in recognition of the sporting reputation and the services rendered by Erik Carlsson…..

As mentioned, the car has a 1.8 litre tubocharged engine pulling 185hp, up from the usual 150 from that engine. Like it’s 900 forefather, the car features a subtle body kit with special 17 inch five spoke rims and improved trim, with saddelry leather and chrome trim.

The great news is in the price. The new 9-3 Carlsson can be had (by those who can get it) for 39,800 franks (I assume they’re Swiss ones), which is about 6,000 cheaper than a 9-3 Linear optioned up to the same level.

Perhaps you can drive from your dealer straight to hirsch and have the world’s first Carlsson-Hirsch Saab!!

Oh yeeeeeeah!!!

Saab 9-3 Carlsson.jpg


There is a bloody excellent book about Erik Carlsson called Mr Saab. If you haven’t read it yet, then do yourself a favour and go get a copy and sit down with it over a weekend. It’s a truly engaging story about a man who is truly more “larger-than-life” than us Generation X-ers could ever understand.

I’ve done a review of the book that you can read when you click here.

There’s also a very good Google Video about Erik Carlsson that you can view here.

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  1. I must be confused, is that an old press release or a current one? What’s with the tiny engine and low horsepower? The smallest offered in the cheapest 9-3 in the States is a 2 liter 210 hp.

  2. TuuSaR,
    Thanks, I didn’t know that. I wonder if they shouldn’t offer those as entry-level vehicles here. If they’re good enough for Finns, they should be more than good enough for Americans. I think the average Finn drives much faster, and much better, than the average American, and on more challenging roads.

  3. So it’s based on the 122 engine and not on the 150 engine.

    and if you want to know it’s no differnet between the 150 and the 175 and the 210 engine except the electronics

  4. The Carlsson edition is the 1.8t Engine, which is has 1998cc. In europe the 2.0ltr engine as stated above comes with 150hp, but also 175hp and the aero 210hp. From what I can make out in German the car comes with the Aero front skirt, 2005MY Aero 17″ double 5-Spoke Alloys (ALU50), Full leather, and aluminium Optic trim and dials.

    And as Swade has also mentioned over 6,000 Chf less that a 175hp Vector.

  5. Cool, can we have this in North America please.

    BTW there was nothing subtle about the 900 Carlsson, it was about as subtle as Mike Tyson in drag!

  6. How did you know I was Generation-X ?!

    I was not quite old enough to drive but remember requesting the Carlsson brochure for that year.

    It featured the 9000CS, 9000CD and Classic 900. Red, black and white respectively I seem to recall. Promptly became bedroom poster material and, as half expected, the staples got in the way.

    Ended up buying a Cirrus White CS for my 30th, 15 patient years later…and about the same time I discovered this highly commendable site!

  7. Why are we not surprised at all that none of this or anything to motivate sales is coming out of Saab OZ ??? Again, if there is no lateral thinking and enough promo to lift out of the doldrums nothing else will. Why aren’t we even getting any Hirsch components locally when there is a clear market demand for it ??? It’s so frustrating to see the local arm doing nothing other than what the book says.

  8. I have a copy of the 1990 Carlsson brochure. Classic Saab. Have seen a few around and for sale in the last 12 months,, all 9000s.

    This is a very interesting development although to call the press/pr aspect understated would be polite. Nice to see the Hirsch approach grwowing too – just a shame we never see these in Australia.

    Wonder if they ever consider a Per Eklund model. I know he’s not the name that Eric was but he’s still out there racing now and obviously understands how to tune a Saab. Perhaps AWD will see a return to rallying in a big way?

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