“The journey from Rovaniemi to Helsinki at this time of year took around twenty-four hours: that was providing there were no blizzards, and the roads did not become blocked. Erik Carlsson should make it easily, with his great skill and experience as a former rally driver.
He made it in staggering time. Bond had expected a wait but the girl at the reception was waving the keys, as if to prove the point.”
-Icebreaker, Chapter 6
So you think you know everything about James Bond, eh? Well, did you know that James Bond received several weeks of driving instruction from international rally racing star Erik Carlsson in preparation for his dangerous Arctic assignment in John Gardner’s novel Icebreaker? In this book, Carlsson not only acts at 007’s driving instructor, but also his “Q” up North, as Carlsson outfits and delivers Bond’s Saab 900 Turbo (“The Silver Beast”) to 007 while he’s on assignment in “the land of the rising sun.”
Now you can read all about the real-life Erik Carlsson in the new book, Mr. Saab, published by Page One Publishing and available from SaabCentral.com.
Unfortunately, the book does not recall the time Mr. Carlsson spent with John Gardner in the Arctic Circle (teaching the author how to drive a Saab in winter road conditions), but his eventful life makes for entertaining reading all the same. And when you come away from the book you will understand the wisdom of James Bond’s choice of “instructor.” One of Mr. Carlsson’s specialties is driving on ice — skills 007 found useful in not only Icebreaker, but also The Living Daylights and Die Another Day.
If it weren’t for Erik Carlsson…well…