Rare one-off Vauxhall Astra MK1 rear-wheel drive coming to Killarney Historic Rally

Rare one-off Vauxhall Astra MK1 rear-wheel drive coming to Killarney Historic Rally

An exceptionally rare rear-wheel-drive Vauxhall Astra is set to contest next month’s Rentokil-Initial Killarney Historic Rally.

Owned by British rally driver Steve Magson, who is no stranger to Killarney having entered previously in a Mercedes Benz 190 Cosworth in 2018.

The Astra was built by Safety Devices/ Gerry Jonstone as a one off prototype rally car. It first broke cover in 1981 after nearly three years of a build.

The car was built for the late George Hill, who only used the car few times.

“I believe it was sold to [rallycross ace]Fred Crawford, then to Paddy White. Then it came back to the UK. I purchased the car in 2000,” explained Steve.

“The car originally had the Ford RS1700T Tranaxle in the rear axle but the axle was damaged when I bought the car.

Having spent over £6500 on the transaxle it only lasted four miles in Dalby forest, so I removed the transaxle and fitted a Jaguar HU Differential in the rear!”

Originally fitted with a Vauxhall Chevette HSR 2.6 engine, the car now sports Vauxhall 2.0 Redtop and a Qauife six-speed box.   

“I rallied the car up to 2006 when I sold car,” added Steve.

“In 2019 I repurchased the car. After five owners in 13 years the car was a compete mess. My fabricator had over 300 hours on bodyshell but today the car is still in its shell”

The car is a one off, it is not Opel Kadett 400 and not another car has ever built the same.

“It featured in the book World Of Rallying 7. Hopefully, the fans will see something different and the car sounds amazing with its side exhaust and induction noise.”

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