Tom Trana was born in Kristinehamm, Sweden, on 29 November 1937. Both his parents were keen motor-sport enthusiasts, his father competing on motorcycles and his mother in cars. In 1956, as soon as he was old enough to hold a licence, Trana purchased an old Volvo which he rebuilt for racing and rallying.
The Swedish Racing Championship
Trana won his class in many 1958 Swedish rallies and the following year he took second place in the Swedish Racing Championship to Volvo star Gunnar Andersson. In 1960 he conquered Andersson in the series and was given a car from Volvo with which he repeated his success in 1961 and 1962.
Swedish Ice Racing Champion
Trana was also Swedish Ice Racing Champion in 1961 and Swedish Rally Champion in 1962. His first trek outside Scandinavia was in 1962 when he entered the RAC Rally of Great Britain. He had been asked to drive a works Mini-Cooper S navigated by Ron Crellin and justified the faith put in him by BMC by setting best time on four special stages and being in the top three until a drive-shaft broke.
European Rally Champion
Volvo entered Tom in overseas events in 1963. He was seventh in the Tulip Rally and then returned to Great Britain to win the RAC Rally outright in a Volvo PV 544 eo-driven by Sven Lindstrorn. The forest special stages suited the Scandinavians in general and Trana in particular. The following season was undoubtedly Trana's most successful, culminating with his being declared European Rally Champion. With Lindstrom he was sixth in the Monte Carlo Rally, but later with Gunnar Therrnanius he enjoyed a string of successes: he won the Acropolis Rally
and the Swedish Rally to the Midnight Sun, was second in Finland's Rally of the 1000 Lakes, sixth in the Geneva Rally and rounded up his year with a repeat win in the RAC Rally of Great Britain.
By contrast, Tom Trana's 1965 season was one to forget. He won the Swedish Rally, but in June's Gulf London Rally, a non-championship event which attracted a strong Scandinavian entry - including Trana and Gunnar Thermanius in a works Volvo BIS Amazon, which was making its competition debut - tragedy intervened. A. road crash before the second stage in Monmouthshire resulted in the death of Thermanius. Trana escaped from the wrecked car suffering from shock. Due to a pending dangerous driving charge; the Volvo team decided to withdraw from the end-of-season RAC Rally.
In 1966 Trana was Swedish Champion. He finished third in the Swedish Rally, fourth in the Group 2 section of the Tulip Rally, second in the. Rally of the 1000 Lakes and third in the RAC Rally of Great Britain. His new co-driver was taxi driver Solve Andreasson. After Volvo retired from motor sport, Trana changed camps. He moved to Saab, but apart from a win in the Norwegian Rally he had a dismal year. Like Timo Makinen
and other top Scandinavians, at around this time he developed an interest in power boat racing.
In 1968 Trana won his class in Swedish Rally Championship: he was second in the Swedish and Norwegian rallies and ninth in the Austrian Alpine, but played no part in Saab's 1-2 triumph in the RAC Rally of Great Britain as he was an early retirement. In 1969 he was third in the Norwegian Rally and seventh in both the Swedish Rally and the RAC Rally of Great Britain. In 1970 he was fourth in the San Remo-Sestriere Rally in Italy and the following year saw his last placing in a major event: he finished 10th in the Swedish. Trana continued with Saab for the remainder of his rallying days, also carrying out much of their test and development driving. He competed in fewer rallies until his virtual retirement in the early 1970s when he concentrated on administration.