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  • Astra 4s

    Well here goes......... I will post a few pictures up of what I have bought...This will be a tricky build that will take some time to complete but I'm up for a challenge.... I have managed to 'find' a complete set of origonal panels from the Vauxhall/Opel group (b) S Astra/Kadett 4x4 rally car from the mid 1980's.. The aim is to recreate one of these cars to as near as is possible.. For anyone who doesnt know what one of these is here is a little history.
    By mid the 1980's rally cars competing in the group b formula were fantastic machines. You needed 4wd and around 500 bhp in a car weighing less than 1000kg to be competetive. To be able to compete in group b a manufacturer needed to produce 200 cars that were basically the same as the rally car. This was a very expensive way to go rallying as most of the cars would remain unsold.. Even Opel couldn't afford to commit to this but a new formula (group s) would replace group b in 1987.. To enter this a manufacturer need only build 10 specialised cars to be eligable. Opel/Vauxhall designed the Astra 4s/ Kadett 4x4 for this. Unfortunately group b and group s were banned from rallying from 1987 onwards. Opel had built 4 complete cars and had enough spares to build the other 6 when this happened. They had entered 2 cars in the Paris Dakar rally of 1986 to test the basic car. They used the 2.4 Opel manta 400 engine with around 250 bhp and the x trac transmission designed by Mike Endean and were beefed up to cope with the rough conditions so were relatively heavy but were competetive whilst they ran.
    When the project was cancelled John Welch bought as much as he could back to the UK to continue to use in the British Rallycross championship as he was running one already.. Opel crushed everything else that was left
    So only four origonal cars survived, the 2 Paris Dakar ones, the one that Opel kept which has a Ford Zakspeed 1.7 turbo engine in (the first one made) and the supercharged manta 400 engined one that Vauxhall Heritage have. John Welch had also built the one that he used in the Rallycross championship..
    I will have to check again with my source but only 3 are still around I think.. One was broken up and the transmission put in another car.. Vauxhall heritage have the supercharged one, Opel have the Zakspeed engined car hidden away and one of the Paris Dakar cars is in Jersey with a certain individual.. The other may still be around, well the shell anyway ( it was last seen in Sweeden).. I will try to confirm this info
    Onto my project... Whilst it could be possible to replicate one of these cars the cost would be rather expensive. A gearbox and associated hydraulics is around £50 000.. My plan, unless a fairy godmother appears, is to use a 4x4 system from a doner car.. Calibra Turbo or Sierra Cosworth 4x4.. I think the Ford system is favourite as the layout is much like the Xtrac in layout (only) ie the engine is mounted north/south and the front diff is mounted towards the front of the engine which makes the weight distribution more balanced.The Vauxhall layout is really fwd with the engine forward of the front diff/driveshafts which makes the weight biased towards the front and compromises the handling. Whilst the Astra 4s was based around the mk2 shell it doesnt share any of the suspension components or wheel positions. The 4s shell only uses the roof, door apetures, hatch apeture, and windscreen..The rear wheels are actually further forwards than a mk2 Astra and the track of the car is much wider. What we are going to do is to use parts of a ford floorpan and also to spaceframe the shell (the factory shells are spaceframe). Its a massive job but i will suceed or die in the attempt Anyway a few pictures....




    The panels were found in some bushes...
    The last picture is how it will look when its done....
    Last edited by mick g; 12-09-2009, 09:57 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Astra 4s

    Really looking forward to this build ........ what a find good luck mate

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    • #3
      Re: Astra 4s

      Looks interesting. So you've found some panels from Welch's old car? I seem to remember reading (on ten-tenths somewhere, maybe) that someone bought his car just for all the XTrac bits - is this what was left over?

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      • #4
        Re: Astra 4s

        Looking forward to seeing this been completed.

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        • #5
          Re: Astra 4s

          Originally posted by teej View Post
          Looks interesting. So you've found some panels from Welch's old car? I seem to remember reading (on ten-tenths somewhere, maybe) that someone bought his car just for all the XTrac bits - is this what was left over?
          A Sweedish rx guy bought the car John crashed (just for the x trac transmission) . The panels I have are from a promotional mock up of the Rallycross car Mr Welch used to win the championship.. It used to do the rounds of dealerships at the time..They are the proper factory kevlar panels
          Last edited by mick g; 02-04-2010, 10:55 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Astra 4s

            Good luck Mick. We'l all be watching
            1800 GTE turbo project
            http://www.astra-mk2.com/forum/showt...-time-for-cars!!

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            • #7
              Re: Astra 4s

              wow, also really interested to see this one pan out and best of luck with it mate

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              • #8
                Re: Astra 4s

                Hell of a challenge... to you for taking it on, look forward to the progress.

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                • #9
                  Re: Astra 4s

                  Good find Mick, look forward to progress on this, its going to be an epic task, have you got any dimensions etc of the original or are you going to knock on the heritage centres door with a tape measure lol
                  Last edited by Mick8v; 13-09-2009, 09:01 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Astra 4s

                    Originally posted by Mick8v View Post
                    Good find Mick, look forward to progress on this, its going to be an epic task, have you got any dimensions etc of the original or are you going to knock on the heritage centres door with a tape measure lol
                    A bit of both mate.. I should be getting a set of full size works drawings with the measurements on, there are around 50 of them and I can see me being camped at the heritage centre too as there is nothing better than having something in front of you

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                    • #11
                      Re: Astra 4s

                      ask to borrow it for a few months lol

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Astra 4s

                        Originally posted by 1800turbogte View Post
                        Good luck Mick. We'l all be watching

                        No pressure here Mick lol

                        Best of luck with it

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Astra 4s

                          Have you seen these...? Might come in useful..?

                          http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Opel-Kadett-Ra...d=p3286.c0.m14

                          Paul..
                          My rallying with mk2 adventures... http://www.astra-mk2.com/forum/forum...ing-adventures

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Astra 4s

                            Mick, firstly -Ace Project, this will be mega! A lot of people are going to get excited over this I think.

                            No pressure!

                            Originally posted by mick g View Post
                            My plan, unless a fairy godmother appears, is to use a 4x4 system from a doner car.. Calibra Turbo or Sierra Cosworth 4x4..
                            Please please plese do not use the GM 4x4 system. It is pants, it can't cope with standard power let alone a tuned engine and track driving, I wouldn't even consider it Vauxhall have nothing to offer you here! Not even engine wise. I wouldn't use Ford stuff either. As soon as Cosworth is involved in the name suddenly we add some zero's to the price of bits, most of which is overrated anyway. I have some info and ideas that might be helpfull.

                            I have a similar vision in my head for a project like this with my track car. My plan is to go down the saab 2.3 turbo engine route, they are bullet proof, and post 93 engines have a GM bolt pattern too. They have forged internals as standard. The power figures that people have achieved with these engines embarrass others, especially when you look at the £££'s per bhp table. LET's are good, but expensive to tune. The Saab blocks GM bolt pattern is important to me because as it stands I have dibs on a 9000 Aero engine and I plan to do a FWD conversion of it into my car with the stock B234R 225bhp and the F20 (we'll see how long the gears stay inside the box), the shell is more or less fresh built and original looking so I want to use it as is for a while like that. Then the plan will be to one day rip out the engine and convert the shell (again) to 4x4 and go to town on the saab lump - 400bhp plus is relatively easy. Unfortunately I have got nowhere with my own projects for well over a year now as I race motocross and want to keep doing it while I'm still competeitive and young. When my weekends are free again I'll move back to cars!

                            Its sat here looking sad for about 18months!


                            If your going down the longitudinal route then you've got some maths to do! And you might as well forget about the LET. Might be an idea to stick to paired engine and 4x4 systems with this. Ford engines are expensive to tune reliably and the Ford cosworth 4x4 transmission seems good and people will tell you that its unbreakable but that's nonsense, totally overrated if you ask me, I wouldn't use it, once your getting around the 280bhp mark and regularly driving the car hard its gonna break, and upgrades are not cheap - if you talk to the rally specialists they'll tell you the same thing.

                            I wonder about Subaru or Mitsubushi Evo running gear? Hmmm?! Rally pedigree anyway. Lots of electric jiggery pokery on the Evos though, so it would have to be a donor car or aftermarket management, and I'm not sure what gearbox and rear diff issues you would have if you removed all the yaw control system and other stuff. Rear diff on them is a bit complicated. My mate has a 4x4 Skyline, that thing puts up with dogs and dogs and dogs of abuse! I've never known anything to get so thrashed every day and never break, that might be an idea. Trouble with this stuff is that its expensive. Bugger it, just get Quaife's 6spd 4x4 sequential setup, its only £10k for the universal gearbox!!

                            There's a guy in Sweeden that 4x4'd his mk2 with Celica GT4 running gear, it's very strong, and rally car designed. I got in contact with him via migweb I think and I have an engineering drawing somewhere of the GM/Toyota gearbox bolt patterns overlayed so that an adapter plate can be machined. That was how I planned to 4x4 the saab lump, but its a transverse engine configuration.
                            How 'original' to the S4 drivetrain and suspension design are you going to make yours? Double wishbone fully adjustable independant stuff? Here's some pics and stuff:





                            Here's one showing the Zakspeed engine and exhaust routing going over the R/H wing (look at the bore of it!)



                            Zakspeed lump (turbo mounting position indicates non S4 engine I would say).


                            Rear diff and suspension link idea I like - not hard to make or mount something like this, and if its all module based (rear suspension and diff mounts as one assembly) it makes it easy and quick to work on the car - like a rally car!


                            I've got tonnes more info on stuff like this strewn about my computers and in the workshop, really must build something like this soon myself!

                            Good luck mick, no pressure!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Astra 4s

                              A lot of very interesting stuff here mate.. I'm looking around at all sorts of transmission systems and you have come up with some sound alternatives.. The origonal x trac gearbox and associated bits are £50k ish so i shall be giving that a miss unless i get given one.. The Subaru/Mitsu stuff may be an option...Someone mentioned Mercedes to me the other day but I bet it all weighs a tonne..The suspension I may copy from the origonal car if its possible and not too expensive. It is going to have to be a longditudinal engine layout for the weight distribution... All exciting stuff... Opel have the Zakspeed Kadett still but are not too keen to show it

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