Waldegård's career spans four decades; he debuted in 1962 and, after winning the Swedish Rally Championship in 1967 and '68, continued to compete at the top level until 1992 when a broken arm suffered during a crash in the 1992 Safari Rally forced his retirement. His first international victory, at the wheel of a Porsche 911, came on the 1969 Monte Carlo Rally, while his last came for Toyota on the 1990 Safari. It made him the oldest driver to win a World Rally Championship event, a record he still retains.
The Alitalia-backed Lancia team of the 1970s frequently choose between star drivers Waldegård and Italian frontrunner Sandro Munari. Waldegård and Munari came head to head in the 1976 Rallye Sanremo. Waldegård had a four-second lead over Munari entering the final stage, only to be forced to squander that advantage in keeping with the team's hopes for an 'equal' shootout. Waldegård, however, emerged as victor by four seconds, having disobeyed team orders and overtaken Munari – as a result, Waldegård left Lancia and joined Ford in late 1976.
In September 2008, Waldegård took part in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, a round of the Scottish Rally Championship centred in Perth in Scotland. He was one of a number of ex-world champions to take part in the event in memory of McRae, who died in 2007. On the event he drove a Porsche 911.