Opel Ascona (B) Profile

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Opel Ascona (B) General Information

Note: This car started life as a group4 car and lived beyond group4. With the start of the 1983 season (Monte Carlo) its homologation has been straight transferred from group4 to groupB. There were absolutely no changes to the car other than the category itself, as the Ascona 400 was about to be replaced by the Manta 400 when its homologation was transferred. Simply the Manta 400 only arrived in Tour de Corse, round5 1983, with a group4 car not being eligible any more for makes points. But this explains why there was no point for changes on the Ascona 400, as it only had 3 rallies (Monte, Sweden, Safari) left in its life as a works car.

Therefore, for further information and specification on the Opel Ascona 400, please look at the Opel Ascona 400 group4 datasheet, there is absolutely no difference between the cars.

I maybe should have said that already in the Ascona 400 group4 story: The name 400 comes from the minimum number of base cars that needed to be made for group4 homologation. And indeed exactly 400 Ascona 400 were made. The name, hence, also was a clever hint to potential buyers that this is a limited edition car. We mention the Manta 400 here too. And now the surprise, exactly 245 Manta 400 were made! Well, the Ascona 400 became so famous, it would have been stupid to not market the Manta as the same. But the Manta was born into groupB age, hence only 200 base cars were needed. Most groupB manufacturers struggled big to sell the 200 base cars, Opel never intended to make more than 200 Manta 400, but again the fame of these cars was so high that Opel had more than 200 orders for the Manta 400 before they even started making them!

This once again shows, that the Ascona 400 was never intended to be a groupB car. But now that we have an Ascona 400 groupB, maybe a little history still, showing how times started to move fast:

Of these 1983 Ascona groupB events Monte was a disappointment, even though the Monte was dry enough for Lancia's mid engined RWD tarmac racer 037 to win, the 82 Monte winning car was even behind the Quattros (** the actual car, see notes on the cars at the bottom). Then in Sweden only Vatanen started and with all that snow there was no chance, even though Vatanen was 2nd here the year before in the old Escort, now 6th. - The Ascona suddenly seemed to turn into an example that the days of the conventional cars in rallying were eventually counted!

Then however Vatanen won the Safari! So good job Opel made this groupB transfer (and I made this extra file for this car), as alongside Monte 82 this was easily the biggest and most important success of the Ascona. Then however the Ascona 400 faded surprisingly fast. I, well many people, would have guessed the Ascona 400 with its groupB transfer would be a superb car for amateur drivers for years to come. And indeed in groupA there were clearly more Asconas than Mantas, but somehow in groupB this trend was vice versa. The Manta 400 was only a small step, so the Ascona should have been still good enough for talented drivers to prove a point. But since the Manta 400 was slightly lighter and slightly more powerful at a similar price, in WRC even in private hands the Ascona faded quickly. However on national level the Ascona 400 stayed longer and if you visit historic rallies today you get the impression there are still more Ascona 400 around than Manta 400, even though the Ascona is older.

** Indeed in Monte Carlo 1983 Vatanen drove Chassis 39, Röhrl's Monte 82 winning car, yet the result was way off the pace. In Sweden only Vatanen started. And it seems slightly odd Opel never even started Portugal in 1983. It's one of those typical rally stories (before rallies became too similar in modern days, missing part of the point of this sport), Portugal for its character should have been a very strong event for the Ascona, an Ascona season's highlight, and mostly by stage times it was. In Portugal 1980 Kleint had the biggest accident of his career, in 1982 there was this weird Röhrl incident, and in 1982 as well Toivonen retired with a simple slipping clutch in SS37 - until that point Toivonen won 15 stages, not even eventual winner Mouton in the Quattro could beat that until that point! So indeed for bad luck, mostly accidents in fact, a works Ascona never ever finished Rallye Portugal in the past three years. Yes, very demoralising, but shame they didn't even try in the 4th year. Back to Sweden, why did Opel never let Toivonen start there? In 1983 only Vatanen started, interestingly using Toivonen's Monte car. Kind of strange since Opel sometimes re-used old reg plates and where possible in that used reg plates for driver identification and until that point GG-CK 217 was probably the most typical Toivonen car. Though this was one of the newest chassis, #48, which leads to probably the most interesting bit for groupB Asconas talking chassis numbers: Only one single Ascona 400 was born as a groupB car, chassis 50, built new for Aaltonen Safari Rally. All other Asconas, all the way up to chassis 49, were built as group4 cars, which once again proves that there was no difference between group4 and groupB Ascona at all.
As a final side note, it is actually interesting Opel saved the one brand new groupB era Ascona for Aaltonen for the Ascona's very last event, while Vatanen got a 1982 group4 car with changed papers. Vatanen may have been their lead driver, but a wild, crash prone driver - but as he proved on exactly this event a much matured and complete driver - while Aaltonen was an absolute Safari expert, doing all the testing for Opel too. It seemed Opel - never an arrogant manufacturer - even Opel believed the Ascona could win Safari, but even they didn't believe it was to be Vatanen. Indeed on the Safari Aaltonen was even initially the faster driver, but he smashed his rear axle and couldn't attempt repairs, basically being locked in the car surrounded by lions who showed a large interest in his Opel Ascona 400!

Opel Ascona (B) Related Content

Opel Ascona (B) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Opel Ascona (B) 400 (83-86) 255/7000 290/5000 4320.1664.1360 1050 (4) RWD (2518)

Random Opel Ascona (B) Photos

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Opel Ascona (B) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
9th. 1985 WRC Swedish Rally M. Jonsson A. Gustavsson #9 [UNKNOWN] 5:09:07
4th. 1984 WRC Swedish Rally M. Jonsson A. Gustavsson #6 [UNKNOWN] 4:35:25
19th. 1984 WRC Acropolis Rally J. Pesmazoglou . UNKNOWN #39 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
5th. 1984 WRC Rally Argentina Y. Iwase S. Thatthi #4 [UNKNOWN] 12:18:24
9th. 1984 WRC Rally of Finland J. Pöysti R. Savolin #23 [UNKNOWN] 4:36:37
7th. 1984 WRC Rallye San Remo M. Ercolani P. Amati #22 [UNKNOWN] 9:50:02
8th. 1984 WRC Rallye San Remo G. Kalnay F. Zehetner #31 [UNKNOWN] 9:57:47
5th. 1983 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo A. Vatanen T. Harryman #3 [UNKNOWN] 8:14:03
6th. 1983 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo H. Toivonen F. Gallagher #6 [UNKNOWN] 8:15:54
6th. 1983 WRC Swedish Rally A. Vatanen T. Harryman #2 [UNKNOWN] 4:40:38
1st. 1983 WRC Safari Rally A. Vatanen T. Harryman #2 [UNKNOWN] 6:36:00

Opel Ascona (B) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1986 WRC Acropolis Rally J. Pesmazoglou . UNKNOWN #48 [UNKNOWN] SS35 ?
Ret. 1986 WRC Safari Rally S. Rai S. Soin #29 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1985 WRC Rally of Finland J. Pöysti R. Savolin #37 [UNKNOWN] SS5 gearbox
Ret. 1985 WRC Acropolis Rally J. Pesmazoglou . UNKNOWN #41 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1985 WRC Safari Rally S. Rai S. Soin #36 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1984 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Jonsson J. Johannsson #24 [UNKNOWN] SS14 crash
Ret. 1983 WRC Acropolis Rally J. Pesmazoglou . UNKNOWN #30 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1983 WRC Safari Rally R. Aaltonen L. Drews #11 [UNKNOWN] SS71 rear axle
Ret. 1983 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo G. Fréquelin J. Fauchille #10 [UNKNOWN] SS15 crash