Ascona 400 Group 4 Rally Car
Opel Ascona 400
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Ascona 400, project number 5516, was officially born on 6th March,
1978. The homolagation regulations required the production of four
hundred cars to be able to compete in Group 4. The departments of
Development, Production and Sport met to work out how to keep the
costs of a production run of 400 vehicles as low as possible. The
required number were built in 1979 at the Antwerp factory so that
homologation into Group 4 could take place on 1st October, 1979.
In two years of development and testing, a rally 'jewel' was polished
in Russelsheim. The Ascona 400 was derived from a 2-door Ascona
B, but a number of aerodynamic features changed its appearance.
There were large front and rear spoilers, skirts beneath the sills
and widened front wings, but is was not only in cosmetic looks that
the competition car differed from its production brother.
Most mechanical parts, such as the Getrag five speed gearbox and
the rear suspension were strengthened and adapted to the requirements
of rallying. The engine was developed by the British Cosworth concern.
From parts of the Rekord diesel engine block, Keith Duckworth forged
a 2.4 litre engine capable of high revs. Parts, such as the fully
counter-balanced steel crankshaft, Cosworth pistons and steel rods,
were common to both road and rally cars. It was equipped with a
high technology 16 valve cross?flow cylinder head said to be originally
conceived by Dr. Shrick for Opel when they were considering a 2litre
Formula 2 engine. The engine ran on 48 DCOE Weber carburettors achieving
240 bhp at 7,500 rpm with peak torque a staggering 2001b ft at 5,000
rpm driven through a single plate Fichtel and Sachs clutch.
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