We could, for example, point out the fact that he came from the unluckiest gene pool in motorsport. His brother-in-law is Sir Stirling Moss, and while both men dominated their era - Carlsson won the RAC Rally - now Wales Rally GB - three times on the trot - neither won a championship.
Or we could mention that Erik was the first driver to get his very own radio show. There was a children’s author in Sweden who loved rallying and had her own radio show at weekends. She invented a character called ‘Carlsson pa taket’ - Swedish for ‘Carlsson on the roof’ - who used to recount his rallying adventures over the airwaves. The nickname ‘pa taket’ has stuck ever since.
Then there’s Erik’s lifelong association with Saab; which started out as a sheer coincidence. He was born just a few kilometres away from the Saab factory in Trollhatten and bought his first Saab two-stroke rally car in 1953 for the sake of financial convenience.
“It was very easy to get parts,” he pointed out. “I had many friends who worked in the Saab factory - and the fence was very low...”
Erik won Rallye Monte-Carlo twice as well, but if we’re going to choose just one thing that made him famous it was the fact that he was the victim of the most bizarre retirement in the history of rallying. The Swede was leading the 1962 East African Safari Rally by an incredible 92 minutes before he was forced to retire as the result of a collision with an anteater.
“It was the size of a pig and like a bloody stone,” he reflected ruefully.