Happy 90th Birthday to Mercedes-Benz works driver Ewy Rosqvist

Her overall victory at the 1962 Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) is a highlight in 125 years of motorsport at Mercedes-Benz. On 3 August 2019, the rally driver and brand ambassador of Mercedes-Benz Classic is celebrating her 90th birthday.

“Baroness Ewy von Korff-Rosqvist was a star behind the steering wheel of the Mercedes-Benz rally cars in the 1960s, and she remains closely connected to our brand to this day. She has lent lustre to countless appearances of Mercedes-Benz Classic at high-profile automotive classic events,” says Christian Boucke, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic.

“We congratulate this likeable and successful rally driver on her 90th birthday – aptly on the ‘125 years of motorsport at Mercedes-Benz’ anniversary,” added Boucke.

Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassador and former rally driver Ewy Baroness von Korff-Rosqvist with Björn Waldegård (left) and Marcel Tiemann at “Mercedes-Benz & Friends” in Sweden, September 2013.

The motorsport racer was born on 3 August 1929 as Ewy Jönsson in Stora Herrestad (Sweden). After attending high school and agricultural college, she studied veterinary medicine in Stockholm for two semesters and became veterinary assistant. She was responsible for a district with farms that were spread far and wide. Her father bought her a Mercedes-Benz 170 S (W 136), with which Ewy travelled 150 to 200 kilometres a day, up and down narrow dirt tracks. This is where she discovered her talent for driving quickly and safely on difficult terrain. In her autobiography “Driving through hell” she writes: “After two years, I was driving so well that I often finished for the day one and a half to two hours before my female colleagues despite all my stops at the farms.”

Ewy married Yngve Rosqvist in 1954, with whom she participated in the Rally to the Midnight Sun (Svenska Rallyt till Midnattssolen) in the same year, and also had her chance behind the wheel: “I was allowed to drive on some of the intermediate stages and that was so much fun that I decided to take part in a rally myself, or as a co-driver, as soon as possible”, she later recalled. In 1956, Ewy Rosqvist took part in a rally by herself for the first time.

The Swedish women’s team of Ewy Rosqvist/Ursula Wirth wins the VI Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix (VI Gran Premio Internacional Standard Supermovil YPF) in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111), which was held from 25 October to 4 November 1962. The women’s team won in all six stages of the 4,626-kilometre race and set a new record.

She won the Women’s Cup four times at the 1,000 Lakes Rally in Finland and also topped the female rankings at numerous other rallies across Europe. In 1959, she won the European Women’s Cup in a Volvo ahead of Pat Moss, the sister of Stirling Moss. She was presented the trophy at the Monte Carlo Rally ceremony by Princess Grace of Monaco in 1960. Ewy Rosqvist won this trophy again in 1961. She also received the Women’s Cup in international rallying (Coupe des Dames) in 1959 and 1961. In 1960, she became a works driver for Volvo.

It was in 1962 that Mercedes-Benz brought the successful rally driver into the works team together with her co-driver Ursula Wirth. In a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111), the women’s team won the Women’s Cup at the four-day Svenska Rallyt till Midnattssolen (Swedish Rally to the Midnight Sun, 12 to 16 June 1962). This was followed by 6th place at the 22nd Raid Polski (2 to 6 June 1962) and 12th place at the Liège-Sofia-Liège Rally (29 August to 3 September 1962).

On 4 November 1962, Ewy Rosqvist, together with her co-driver Ursula Wirth, phenomenally won the VI Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix (VI Gran Premio Internacional Standard Supermovil YPF) in her Mercedes-Benz 220 SE. The women’s team won in all six stages of the 4,626-kilometre race and set a new record: Rosqvist/Wirth increased the average speed of the winning team of the previous year (Walter Schock and Manfred Schiek, also in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE) from 121.234 km/h to 126.872 km/h. The rally drivers were enthusiastically celebrated upon their arrival in Buenos Aires.

In the following years, too, Ewy Rosqvist was successful again and again at renowned rallies and long-distance races. This included the 1963 win of the Women’s Cup at the Monte Carlo Rally, the win in the up to 2,500 cc displacement class at a six-hour race at the Nürburgring (with Ursula Wirth and Eberhard Mahle) as well as third place at the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE behind her team colleagues Eugen Böhringer and Klaus Kaiser as well as Dieter Glemser and Martin Braungart, both in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112).

In 1964 Rosqvist, together with Eva Maria Falk, was able to win in the up to 2,500 cc displacement class at the Monte Carlo Rally, finish fifth at the International Acropolis Rally and secure third place at the Spa–Sofia–Liège Rally. She ended her active career at the 1964 Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix, at which she finished in third place with Eva Maria Falk. In June of the same year, she married Baron Alexander von Korff-Schmysingk in Stuttgart. Today, the Baroness von Korff-Rosqvist lives in Stockholm.

Photographs by Daimler AG.