The history of the Opel Ascona A as a rally car begun in the early seventies of the last century. The Ascona A was homologated in group 2 on April 1st, 1971 with homologation number 5398. This car was built in 1975 by the Opel Factory Rally Team in Rüsselsheim, Germany for the Acropolis Rally. It was registered with license plate GG-DT 710 for Adam Opel AG. First event was Rally Acropolis on May 24th to May 31st, 1975 with Walter Röhrl on the wheel and co-driver Jochen Berger (Starting number 2). Entrant for W. Röhrl / J. Berger, R. Aaltonen / C. Billstam and J. Pesmazoglou / D. Georgitsis was the “OPEL Euro Händler Team Elfinco”. Elfinco is the short name of Hellenic Financial Company, which was over decades the Greek importer of Opel cars, which had in these times the biggest market share of all car brands in Greece. Johnny Pesmazoglou was the owner of Elfinco, regular entrant and already overall winner of the Acropolis Rallies in 1952 and 1955.
The event saw strong competition with B. Waldegaard and R. Pinto (Lancia Stratos), S. Lampinen (Lancia Beta), A. Warmbold and O. Andersson (Toyota Corolla). After 48 stages and a total stage time of 9:20:36 won Walter Röhrl his first WRC event with a winning margin of over 25 minutes. This was the first win of Opel in the WRC, too. 4th was Johnny Pesmazoglou in his Opel Ascona A.
Directly after the event the Walter Röhrl car was sold to Johnny Pesmazoglou. He drove the Ascona beside other events in Greece and Cyprus for some more Acropolis Rallies as in 1976 (dnf), 1977 (9th overall), 1979 (11th overall) and 1980 (dnf). On the 1st Historic Acropolis Rally 2002 on July 4th to 7th he started again at the age of 86 years, 3 months before his death on October 22nd and 50 years after his first Acropolis win. On the 2nd Historic Acropolis Rally in 2003 the car was driven with starting number 1 from his former co-driver Haris Kaltsounis, who achieved 4th place. On Historic Acropolis Rally 2004 he came in 5th overall. This was the last event for the car in Greece and it was then stored for more than eleven years.
2015 the current owner had the chance to acquire the car from the grand-child’s of Johnny Pesmazoglou in Athens. A bar-metal restoration took place by Ihle Motorsport, Germany. The car is then back in the condition and livery of Walter Röhrl’s Acropolis Rally win 1975. Walter Röhrl made the maiden entry after rebuilding at the Edelweiss Hill Climb 2016 in Berchtesgaden, Germany.
This is the only known surviving original works Opel Ascona A 1.9 SR.
Body shell: reinforced by Matter and equipped with a roll bar
Output: 200 HP (147 kW) at 7.000 rpm
Torque: 205 Nm at 6.000 rpm
Displacement: 1.960 cm³
Cylinder head: Cross flow
Bore/stroke: 94,5 x 69,8 mm
Oil supply: dry sump lubrication
Gear box: ZF S5-18/3 5-speed
Drive line: rear wheel drive, limited slip differential
Fuel tank: 70 liters in the trunk
Brakes: 4 discs with AP Lockheed calipers with 4 pistons
Rims: 6J x 13 Fuchs, 7J x 13 and 8J x 13 ATS
Kerb weight: 980 kg without drivers and fuel
Dimensions: length 4,124 mm, width 1,730 mm