The year was 1964 and Erik Carlsson and Pat Moss were recently married. They were invited to Denmark to present a winners’ cup at the race course Klampenborg north of Copenhagen. This story accompanied by many pictures is told by Steen Worziger from Denmark whose father invited the couple to attend a steeplechase event. This is typically a race involving horses. But when the famous couple attended, it also included Saabs on the track!
This was mostly a marketing event for Saab and the cars didn’t actually race against the horses. There were 1964 Saabs 96, 96 Sport and 95 in a variety of colors. Promotional events in those times were quite different form the ones we experience from car companies these days.
The event was named SAAB Steeplechase. ISIS Motor A/S, the company that used to assemble Saab cars in Denmark, provided silver and money prizes for the event. Erik and Pat presented these prices to the winners as brand ambassadors. Two-stroke Saabs can be quite loud but the grass was a good sound absorber. And that was probably a good thing for the horses at the event.
One picture shows a white SAAB 96 with fold-back sunroof that was owned by Steen at the time. He drove the car while photographer Klaus Møller stood upright in the open sunroof filming Erik and Pat while they were in a horse carriage on their way to the track. Other pictures show the couple giving small Saab model cars to some children.
After the weekend, Erik scared the hell out of a journalist while driving to the airport and demonstrating his skills. Erik took several corners at very high speed in Copenhagen. He approached a corner at 50 mph and hardly used the brakes at all. His strong arms and hands forced the car around the corner and it virtually was on two wheels.
Sterling Moss had given a similar tour to the same journalist not long before this event but Mr. Moss drove like a true British gentleman. Eyebrows were raised but it didn’t appear it ever caused any damage to the SAAB image. It is easy to imagine there was never a dull moment when Erik was behind the wheel of a car.
The Worziger family enjoyed lunch with Pat and Erik and they had smoked salmon with white wine. Steen’s father knew that Erik was keen on Danish Guld øl (“Gold” beer, a stronger than ordinary beer from Carlsberg/Tuborg). Erik gladly passed up the wine for several Gold beers. Erik was a big guy and the strong beer didn’t affect him at all. He just loved it.
It is always interesting to see vintage pictures and hear stories like this from the early days of SAAB. And especially pictures of this famous rally couple that have not been shown before. Some of these pictures and a short story were made available by the Saabklub Denmark in their print magazine and we are happy to share this with a larger international audience here on SaabWorld.
© Steen Worziger / SaabWorld. Please share but do not copy or reproduce.