The Quintuplet of Walter Röhrl

He has been passionate about cars since he was a child: Lars Sältzer has turned his passion into a profession under the label „Larson“. The car designer and illustrator creates his own designs and preserves automotive treasures. Sometimes he does both at the same time: he has just created a design for a German car magazine that shows what the Opel Kadett B could look like today – which can be seen on his Instagram channel.

He started his professional career in a Commodore GS/E Coupé in 1973 and clinched his outstanding „Monte Carlo“ victory in 1982 in the Ascona 400 – Opel is celebrating Walter Röhrl’s 75th birthday with a poster that brings together a total of five vehicles with lightning bolts on the radiator grille. Without exception, these are Opel cars with which Walter Röhrl, the German rally legend, demonstrated his absolute exceptional talent in the 1970s and 1980s.

To present the racing cars so harmoniously united on one poster was anything but banal. The aim was to match the historical appearance of each car as closely as possible. However, the arrangement of the stickers was often changed – even in later years. And the original Manta GT/E from the 24 Studen race in Spa is even considered lost, with only a few photos surviving today. The impressive final result required special design know-how and expertise: Lars Sältzer is one of the few exclusive car designers and illustrators worldwide who specialise in reconstructing vehicles on the computer and making them come to life. The designer from Herborn in Hesse has been designing automobiles for over 20 years. For example, when European car magazines want to show what the future Opel Insignia might look like. Sältzer’s creative designs can also be found in American or Chinese publications. „In recent years, there has been a growing trend to digitally capture historical models in order to preserve the cultural heritage of unique automobiles,“ he says.

„Real project of the heart“

The „Röhrl@Opel 1973-1982“ poster was „a real project of the heart“ for the specialist. Based on historical photos, he united the five racing cars of Walter Röhrl in side view on the basis of data in the computer. „The wheelbase had to be determined, the scale calibrated, the paintwork, which had faded on historical photographs, adjusted and the logos reconstructed on the basis of various historical photographs. I also built the rims and reconstructed the interior,“ says the graduate of the University of Design in Pforzheim, summarising the various work steps.

Leif Rohwedder, the new head of Opel Classic since 1 February 2022, is enthusiastic: „It’s not just five rally cars that we’re showing there, but pure emotion – people love these cars.“ The Opel Classic collection at the headquarters in Rüsselsheim includes three of the automotive treasures that Walter Röhrl ennobled: the original Opel Ascona SR in which he won the European Championship title in 1974, the original Opel Kadett GT/E Coupé from the 1976 season, and a replica of the Commodore GS/E Coupé. The Ascona 400 presented in the Opel collection is the authentic training car in which Walter Röhrl prepared for the 1982 World Championship he won, in addition to the successful „Rally Monte Carlo“. These are automotive treasures that carry the Opel DNA. For example, the front of the Manta A, the racing version of the car with which Röhrl competed in the „24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps“ in 1975, was the inspiration for today’s Opel Vizor. It is the front that adorns the Mokka, Grandland or Astra – and thus brings the Opel genes from Walter Röhrl’s time onto the roads today.

Download the „Röhrl@Opel 1973-1982“ poster here.

Refined by illustrator Lars Sältzer: In this Opel Ascona 400, Walter Röhrl wins the legendary Rally Monte Carlo in 1982 and goes on to win the WRC title later that year.

March 2022

Vehicle illustrations: Larson, Photos: Opel