You may have never heard of Carl-Gunnar Hammarlund, a quiet Swede nicknamed “CeGe.” He was well-known for hosting a long-running (1956-1970) program on Swedish Public Radio about cars and driving safety, a subject taken quite seriously in Scandinavia. But he was known for something else, too: speed.
To say Hammarlund was successful as a racer would be an understatement. Consider his record in 1961 and 1962, as noted by Swedish racing enthusiast and historian Tomas Karlson: Eleven GT starts, eleven wins, and two Swedish national GT championships. His weapon for all those wins: this rare 356B Carrera Abarth GTL.
Though Hammarlund drove for Swedish VW/Porsche importer ScaniaBilar in his spare time, his main job was to run the public relations office at the Swedish arm of British Petroleum, according to Swedish automotive magazine Racing. He first wet his competitive feet in 1949, hillclimbing at Alby with a home-built, American-style midget with Ford V8-60 power; he posted top time. He then entered trials and rallies as part of Scania’s Volkswagen team. It was at this point that he met a rather talented mechanic named Willy Dolling.
“Because of my knowledge of VW and Porsche motors, I was asked by CeGe in April of 1953 if I could prepare and maintain his racing cars,” says Dolling, now 80 years old and retired in Stockholm.
With the help of Dolling, Hammarlund and Erik Petterssen co-drove a brand-new, Dolling-prepared 356 Carrera coupe to an overall win in the 1954 International Swedish Rally, also known as the Rally to the Midnight Sun. Hammarlund and his Porsches were quickly established as the favorites, no matter where they appeared.
“Between 1954 and 1959, CeGe competed in 28 races throughout Europe,” recalls Dolling. “Of these, he won 26, came second in one, and fourth in another. In 1959, a Scandinavian Grand Touring championship was created with seven races per year. CeGe won every one of these races every year up to and including 1962.”
Hammarlund’s talents were not limited to Porsches. He co-drove a Ferrari 375MM with Allan Borgefors to a good placing in the 1000km 1956 Swedish Grand Prix for sports cars, right behind the factory entries. He also had several rides in a Maserati 450S. Even so, some of his most memorable successes came in Porsches. He won the GT class with his 356 Carrera at West Germany’s Avus Ring on September 16, 1956, the same day Porsche factory driver Richard von Frankenberg survived his famous crash in the “Mickey Maus” RS 1500 Spyder, which saw von Frankenberg leave the track at the top of the high banking. Hammarlund also claimed a GT win at 1958’s Grand Prix of Sweden, a few years before he moved on to greater success with the Abarth Carrera GTL.