The Opel Ascona 400 and the WRC rallyhuzar pieces in the eighties.

Opel Ascona 400 promotion
Röhrl in action, 1982

Startling. That was the World Rally Championship performance of Walter Rohrl and Ari Vatanen in the early 1982s. In fact, a revolution took place during that period, because Audi shook up the rally field technically with the four-wheel drive quattros, it was on the verge of setting new standards. Röhrl world champion in 1983, and Vatanen lost everything in 400 in the toughest rally of all - the Marlboro Safari rally in Africa. Not with a quattro, but with the rear-wheel drive Opel Ascona XNUMX. The quattros were very embarrassed.

In the 1980 and 1981 seasons, Opel took fifth and fourth place respectively in the manufacturers' championship, with some successes in individual rallies. In addition, it was remarkable that in 1981 an Opel appeared only seven times at the start, and the Germans just missed the podium. For 1982, Walter Röhrl came back to his old love. In 1980 he had already become world champion with the Fiat 131 Abarth. And earlier, the German had made his name on the competition circuit with the Opel Ascona A, still one of his favorite cars.

Also in 1982 WRC with the Opel Ascona 400

The tool used by the manufacturer with the Blitz (and then GM subsidiary) in 1982 was - as in the 1980 and 1981 seasons - the Opel Ascona 400, a pure rear-wheel drive. The Opel Ascona 400 was the result of a project that started in 1979 and took its name from the number of units required for homologation. Irmscher and Cosworth were hired for the creation of Opel's Group 4 car.

Diesel crankshaft and 16 valves Cosworthkop

Cosworth provided an 16 valve crossflow head with two overhead camshafts, in addition an 2.0E block was eventually used and the crankshaft of the 2.3 Opel diesel (!) Used to provide additional capacity and capacity. It eventually resulted in an 2.4 engine that could be adjusted for rally purposes and in such a way that the power could rise to well above the 250 PK. It is precisely the use of existing and more or less proven Opel technology that would later contribute to reliability under the highest possible load. Irmscher also contributed a stone to the Ascona 400, and took care of the weight-saving components (bodywork) and the rally interior. Furthermore, the Ascona 400, for example, received a five-speed gearbox from Getrag, and a rigid axle with four arms along the rear.

World champion thanks to multiple quality

Walter Röhrl won (with navigator Christian Geistdörfer) two WRC rallies during the 1982 season. First he won the Monte Carlo Rally with the Ascona 400 and repeated that feat during the Ivory Coast rally. In the latter victory, in the penultimate race of the 1982 WRC season, he also secured the world title after a constant season that was mainly decided by the consistent Opel quality and the constant performance of the driver himself.

Inhibiting lead through technology

Michelle Mouton - or rather Audi- was favorite for the victory in 1982. The rushed fame was not realized. Mouton did not reach the finish four times. Colleague quattro driver Mikkola did not make it to the finish line seven times in that season. The fame was Audi ahead, but impressive performances were often interspersed with a regular lack of reliability. Technology advance. Incidentally, Walter Röhrl said in his very own person that the ingenious quattro drive was ultimately an important development for rallying, a breakthrough. Remarkable: Opel also achieved the most points as a constructor in 1982, but because only the best seven results were included in the championship, Audi still won (and based on very strange rules) that title.

A fitting farewell to the Ascona 400: Vatanen wins in Africa

A year later Lancia (with Röhrl among others) won the manufacturer's title, and Hannu Mikkola took the driver's title with… the Audi quattro. Opel came third in the ranks of the manufacturers in 1983, but thanks to Ari Vatanen and Terry Harryman was responsible for the best victory of the season: the Marlboro Safari Rally was won. In fact - as Vatanen recently told us in Portugal - it was a huge achievement for the quattro violence and the bloody dead Lancia in the longest and most intensive rally of the season (5.000 kilometers!).

Great farewell for the Ascona 400

Meanwhile, Opel's successor Manta 400 was ready to take over. It was therefore wonderful that the WRC farewell rally WRC ended with the Opel Ascona 400 winning. That was a nice ending for the Ascona 400. A farewell that resulted in one of the most beautiful victories of Ari Vatanen, who recently honored Opel in Portugal: with a Manta 400.




Select other newsletters if necessary

We won't send you spam! Read us privacy Policy .



Leave a Reply
  1. Thanks to Opel quality …….
    Together with VW, never been in the garage so much,
    stood along the road, spare parts included + tools
    to come home while driving.
    Not to mention the rust yet.
    Worse than any Italian I drove after …….
    High mileage, without regular maintenance, except for spark plugs, filters and oil change.
    Never stand still along the road, no keys in between or mount other engines ...
    Even after thick 2 or 3 tons! and rust? never in crucial places while they are parents and couples
    many miles more than ever that Opels could handle… ..
    Does not mean that it was, before that time beautiful cannons, still driven
    in a Manta 400 street version that was sold by the dealer where I worked.

  2. Group B, that was only a rally !! 😍😍😍👌🏾🙌🏽

    Has a lot of footage from YouTube, remains beautiful to watch….! 👍🏽😉

Give a reaction

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. you can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

Now on newsstands

View the nearly forty-page preview at this link or a click on the cover.

The December issue, containing:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super
    Erik van Putten explores the timeless charm of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super, with images of Bart Spijker and himself. The story delves into the world of Alfaenthusiast Koen de Groot, whose family is deeply rooted in the Alfa Romeo culture. Koens' special relationship with his Giulia, a car he has cherished for years and which will soon receive an impressive upgrade, is highlighted. The Giulia symbolizes car love and heritage, a passion enriched by Koen's father Frans, a Alfa Romeo expert and enthusiast.
  • Double Used Type Designations
    Peter Ecury unravels fascinating stories from the automotive world in the 32nd episode of his series on double-used type designations. This edition provides an update on the rumors surrounding Peugeot and Porsche and delves into the history of the type designation '142', used by brands such as Volvo and Austin. Ecury also discusses the evolution of the term 'GT' and the controversial use of the letters 'SS' in car names after WWII, with examples such as the Chevrolet Impala SS and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS.
  • Ducati 750GT, 860GT and 900GTS
    Hans Smid highlights the Ducati round carts, produced from 1972 to 1974, which combine minimalist beauty with unique technology. This article describes Ducati's drive for innovation and the creation of these models, highlights the challenges and costs of collecting them, and shows Ducati's journey from near ruin to iconic status.
  • Horex Imperator
    Marina Block tells the story of the Horex Imperator, an iconic motorcycle from the 50s, known for its sportiness and advanced technology. Despite the closure of the factories, Horex remained known, partly due to the cartoon character Werner and recent reissues. The Imperator, with its innovative parallel twin and overhead camshaft, inspired later designs and has been praised for its quality and design, despite limited sales success.
  • ClassicPost
    Readers of Auto Motor Klassiek share their discoveries and experiences. Eddy Joustra discovers a Peugeot 203 pickup in Heerenveen, while Robert Reessink photographs a unique Moto Guzzi moped in Italy. Stories range from Chris van Haarlem's Scottish scooter adventures to Bram Drooger's discovery of a Rolls-Royce Corniche and two FIAT 850s. Ben de Man finds a special Chevrolet Step-Van in the Netherlands, and readers share corrections and additions to previously published articles.
  • Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo
    Aart van der Haagen reveals the history of a rare Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo, originally registered as a commercial vehicle. The first owner transformed the car into a family-friendly vehicle, and Jan Manenschijn now cherishes this unrestored gem with only 67.000 kilometers on the odometer.
  • Peugeot 205 collection Team VCC Twente
    Aart van der Haagen highlights Team VCC Twente's collecting passion for Peugeot 205 models. Brothers Peter and Niek Olde Veldhuis collected unique examples such as the GTI and CTI, and even a rare 1.9 GTI Dimma. Their collection shows the transformation of a once ordinary model into a special classic.
  • Volvo and Classic Cars
    Alain Pondman from Volvo Lotte speaks about the true value of classic cars. He criticizes the trend of cheap, poorly maintained classics on Marktplaats, emphasizes the importance of making memories with vintage cars, and advises buyers to invest in quality and durability.
  • Volkswagen Beetle 1955 - Second life
    Max de Krijger tells the story of Hendrik Jan Hofman, a passionate Kever restorer. Hofman brought a badly damaged 1955 Beetle back to life with a dedication to perfection and detail. This green Beetle, complete with handmade high chair and open roof, reflects his craftsmanship. Hofman is now considering selling the Beetle to focus on a new project.
  • ClassicPost
    In the KlassiekerPost section of Auto Motor Klassiek enthusiastic readers share their unique finds and personal experiences. Eddy Joustra comes across a rare Peugeot 203 pickup in Heerenveen. Robert Reessink captures a unique Moto Guzzi moped on camera in Italy. Chris van Haarlem shares his Scottish scooter adventures, including an unexpected encounter with an Austin A30 on the Isle of Skye. Bram Drooger spots an elegant Rolls-Royce Corniche and two FIAT 850s. Ben de Man discovers a special Chevrolet Step-Van in the Netherlands. This section illustrates the diversity and deep-rooted passion of classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts, with stories ranging from local discoveries to international treasures. In addition, readers provide valuable corrections and additions to previously published articles, such as PBTM Matthijssen's input on the Ardie/Dürkopp Dianette, which contributes to the rich and versatile content of the magazine.
  • Once again almost twenty pages of short messages about everything that has to do with classics
  • And of course our section 'Classics' where you can shop around in search of your next classic.

The perfect reading material for an evening or more of undisturbed dreaming. It is now in stores. A subscription is of course better, because then you will no longer miss a number and you are also much cheaper. Not bad in these expensive times.

IFA BK 350

IFA BK 350. The other boxer

Classic driving

Classic driving and TLC