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  1. #1
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    1976 RAC Rally Question - Leif Asterhag

    I'm scanning old photos and am on the 1976 RAC and have hit a real puzzler. My photo of car 35 Toyota Celica (reg'n number JHF 268) has crew names of Asterhag/Gullberg written on the back and this matches the entry list on the eWRC website. But I've zoomed in on the image and and can see "MELLANDER" on the door. That's a double L so it's not Benny Melander - anyway, it would be too early for him. I can't tell if it's right or left hand drive but it's a Swedish plate so I assume it's LHD. The name is on the offside door (offside from a UK point of view). There are no Mellanders on the eWRC website, only Melanders
    Has anyone got an answer as to why Mellander is on the door?
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  2. #2
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    On ewrc-results, codriver Benny Melander has results that go back until 1976, so that could be him. If I had to guess, it's just a typo... maybe Gullberg was supposed to co-drive but was replaced by Melander at the last moment, and someone misspelled his name on the car? Wouldn't be the first time I see a misspelled name on a rally car...
    It's just a guess of course, from what I can tell both Melander and Mellander are existing surnames in Sweden, so it could also be some "unknown" Mellander codriver.

  3. #3
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    Wild guess that co-driver has been changed just before the event and last name has just been misspelled.

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    Might be worth posting this on the 'The Golden Years of Rallying' or 'Old Stage rallying photos' groups on Facebook. Some very well connected/historically well informed people on there, I'd be amazed if someone on those didn't know.

  5. #5
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    I´ve just talked to Benny Melander. Funny how it is. I met him back in the 80´s in a boating PR thing. He and Kalle Grundel drove a small leisure boat ina competition.

    However, I asked about 1976 RAC and it was Benny who was codriver to Leif Asterhag. During that time he spelled Mellander with two "L". He changed it in the early 80´s. It actually was the right spelling in his family, but his father used to spell Mellander. His passports etz was with one "L", so he changed it starting the period he was codriven with Ingvar Carlsson.

    In this particular rally they had to retire. They rolled. Why ABBA sponsor? Well, Leif Asterhags brother in law was at that time Björn Ulveaus, member of ABBA...

    Later he was codriver to Kalle Grundel, among other things Rally Sweden in Ford RS200...
    "Reis vas pät pat kaar vas kut"
    Tommi Mäkinen, back in the years...

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  7. #6
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    Great story

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rallyper View Post
    Why ABBA sponsor? Well, Leif Asterhags brother in law was at that time Björn Ulveaus, member of ABBA...
    Just like when ABBA showed up in F1 due to Slim Borgudd. Cool!

  9. #8
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    Hi Rallyper..thanks for the update and the explanation. Funny, following the 'six degrees of separation' rule - I worked with Brian Rainbow at IBM for many years - he co-drove for Kalle Grundel who also had Benny Melander as a co-driver, who also co-drove for Leif Asterhag whose brother-in-law was Bjorn Ulveaus. There you have it, my connection to ABBA!

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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SidewaysSyd View Post
    Hi Rallyper..thanks for the update and the explanation. Funny, following the 'six degrees of separation' rule - I worked with Brian Rainbow at IBM for many years - he co-drove for Kalle Grundel who also had Benny Melander as a co-driver, who also co-drove for Leif Asterhag whose brother-in-law was Bjorn Ulveaus. There you have it, my connection to ABBA!
    I´m glad to be at some help for your question.
    "Reis vas pät pat kaar vas kut"
    Tommi Mäkinen, back in the years...

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