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C-G Hammarlund RIP


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#1 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 19:57

The Swedish racing driver Carl-Gunnar Hammarlund has passed away, 85 years old. Hammarlund was one of the best Swedish racing drivers in the fifties, but unfortunately he did very few races outside of Scandinavia.
Hammarlund started racing with a home-built midget of American type in 1949. He then, like most Swedes, went into the woods and was soon one of the official Scania-team, driving VWs in realiabilty competitions - the fore-runner to the modern rally. He was Swedish champion in '55 and '56. By then Hammarlund had started racing, again with the help of Scania, the VW-importers. Hammarlund drove Porsche, and became THE Porsche-driver in Sweden. He won the Rally to the Midnight Sun in '54 and when he got a Carrera in '56 he almost became unbeatable. It is a lot easier to count the times he didn't win, instead of the opposite. He won every Swedish Championship he entered in his Porsches from 1959 to 1962. And in those years he won every championship race exept one, where he had to retire when the car broke down. He also won in Helsinki in Finland and Roskilde in Denmark, but never sought a career in Europe. He did a race at Avus in '56... and won. And one at Innsbruck in '58, where he lost the lead in the end and came second.
The calm, thin and bespectacled Hammarlund didn't look like the typical race driver, but race after race he just left the others behind with his smooth driving style and his always immaculately prepared cars. We will never know how good he really was, since he stayed in his trusty Porsche class and almost never raced against Bonnier, Carlsson, Ljungfeldt and the other big guys, with big cars. And he didn't race with his Porsches on ice.
Hammarlund did the two Swedish WC sports car races at Råbelöv: in '56 where he co-drove Allan Borgefors Ferrari 375MM to fifth place and in '57 when he shared Bonnier's Maserati together with Ljungfeldt. Hammarlund worked as the PR man for BP in Sweden and his connections got him a F1 seat in Kanonloppet 1961, where he drove the second BRP Lotus beside his friend Moss. Unfortunately he spun off... But he won the GT race in his Porsche Carrera Abarth.
The Swedish 1962 season was turbulent with a lot of accusations and cheating. Hammarlund who always won, was of course also accused, but no one found anything wrong with his car. But "CeGe" was so fed up with all the talking that he stopped racing after that season.
Although C-G Hammarlund was one of the best of his time, very few Swedes remember him for that. What he is remembered for is the radio-show he started in 1956 and continued with for many years. It was a show for a new public, the car-drivers. It was about traffic and car-driving and became one of the most popular radio-shows in Sweden. Hammarlund worked with traffic safety all his life and was a very gentle and intelligent man, as well as a very good story-teller.
I am glad that I got to meet him before it was too late.

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#2 jarama

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 21:07

Tomas,

thankyou for let us know something about Hammarlund.

Carles.

#3 P 4 Staff

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 22:49

I remember my father took me to a race at Kiruna Airfield...might have been 1958 or 59 or even 1960.

I remember so well...that C.G. rolled his Porsche 356:)

Staffan.

#4 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 06:14

Wow!!! That's something I never even have heard of. I can't even find a possible race in my papers. It would be interesting to know more.
Are you sure it just wasn't "Hammarlund's Porsche"? His ex-cars used to be given that name, whom ever drove it.
By the way, you don't happen to have a race-program from Kiruna? I have been trying to find a proper plan of the circuit layout.

#5 P 4 Staff

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 13:27

Originally posted by Tomas Karlsson
Wow!!! That's something I never even have heard of. I can't even find a possible race in my papers. It would be interesting to know more.
Are you sure it just wasn't "Hammarlund's Porsche"? His ex-cars used to be given that name, whom ever drove it.
By the way, you don't happen to have a race-program from Kiruna? I have been trying to find a proper plan of the circuit layout.


Sorry Tomas. I was just 13...14 or 15 years old. (depending on which year it was).
But this race took place at what today is the old airfield.
I seem to remember that they drove in some kind of triangle...and some chicanes built by haybales.
If I had a raceprogram? Well...I really don´t remember...if I had...I don´t have it anymore. :

I remember that it was "a big thing" as it was C.G. Hammarlund coming to town. :cool:

I can think of the race being written about in NSD (Norrländska Socialdemokraten) or some other newspaper. If they have any pics or articles...saved from so long ago...I don´t know.

Best: Staffan.

#6 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 14:26

I have a plan of the triangular airfield and a written description about how the chicanes were placed, but I would llike to find a real circuit plan.
The first big race was in '56 and I know that Hammarlund was there in '57 (a race he didn't win!). And they did race there once as a part of the Rally to the Midnigt Sun. But nothing about a Hammarlund-roll. I will have to do some more digging.
The University library in Gothenburg has a lot of old newspapers... :)

#7 P 4 Staff

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 15:52

Originally posted by Tomas Karlsson
I have a plan of the triangular airfield and a written description about how the chicanes were placed, but I would llike to find a real circuit plan.
The first big race was in '56 and I know that Hammarlund was there in '57 (a race he didn't win!). And they did race there once as a part of the Rally to the Midnigt Sun. But nothing about a Hammarlund-roll. I will have to do some more digging.
The University library in Gothenburg has a lot of old newspapers... :)


Well...coming closer...don´t we?

I moved to Kiruna in early 1957 so 57 could be right. :) (A race he didn´t win!). Well he rolled the Porsche...so he did not win. Eehhh...I was 12 years old then. :D

I don´t know the condition of the airfield today. But...(not good at it)...one can zoom in some sattelite pics I guess.

Interesting to follow this. :cool:

Best: Staffan.

#8 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 19:39

Well. he didn't roll the Porsche in '57. He stayed on his wheels. The only incident in the races that day, was a Saab that rolled.
If you were there that day, you probably would have remembered the big race for sportscars, with Carlsson, Kvarnström, Lincoln and Bremer in Ferraris.

#9 Jonas

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 18:26

Sad news indeed!

Originally posted by Tomas Karlsson
The University library in Gothenburg has a lot of old newspapers... :)

I live in Gothenburg now, and I've been thinking of doing some research there myself. But it doesn't seem like they have Svensk Motor Tidning, which would be one of the papers that interest me most.
Anyway, we could have a Gothenburg TNF gathering!

#10 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 19:13

But it doesn't seem like they have Svensk Motor Tidning, which would be one of the papers that interest me most.



Are you sure of that? I have read it (1946-1954) at the main library anyway.

Anyway, we could have a Gothenburg TNF gathering!



Sounds like a good idea! You have my e-mail address.

#11 conjohn

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 16:49

Would three make a crowd? I too live in Göteborg.

My mail is c o n j o h n @ t e l i a . c o m - without the spaces...


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