Erik “Mr. SAAB” Carlsson, the legendary rally driver who won the first British RAC Rally, and his co-driver, Stuart Turner, are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their victory with a replica of their winning car.

Erik, who is an ambassador for SAAB, was a guest of honor at a lunch organized by SAAB Great Britain at the RAC Club in London. On display at the Club was a replica of the SAAB 96 with which Carlsson and Turner won the rally in 1960. The car was shipped from the company’s Car Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden, and will be on display at the Club for a week.

Carlsson’s victory at the RAC Rally left many dumbfounded in 1960, as the small Swedish car was powered by a diminutive 750 cc, 2 stroke, 3 cylinder engine, and faced competitors that were much bigger and had more power. Erik Carlsson and that red 96 won the RAC Rally three years in a row, plus the Monte Carlo Rally twice, as well as the Rally San Remo and the notoriously tough Acropolis Rally. The wins helped launch SAAB as a respectable international brand.

Stuart Turner, the co-driver, went on to become competition manager of BMC and Ford UK. Turner shared the spotlight with Erik at the lunch at the RAC Club.

At the occasion SAAB Great Britain launched a new special version of the SAAB 9-3 named after Erik. The 9-3 Aero Carlsson Edition will be limited to 96 cars. It is not the first time that the Scandinavian auto maker names a car after Erik Carlsson. Between 1990 and 1992 SAAB produced a 600-car limited edition of the 900 Carlsson Edition. “I feel very honored to have a car named after me”, said Mr Carlsson.