Mercedes-Benz rally driver Ewy Rosqvist celebrates her 85th birthday

Mercedes-Benz rally driver Ewy Rosqvist celebrates her 85th birthday
July 2014
  • Winner of the 1962 Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix with Ursula Wirth in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111)
  • A charming brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Classic
  • Her first contact with the brand was driving her father’s Mercedes-Benz 170 S for work
Stuttgart. – On 5 November 1962, Ewy Rosqvist finished over three hours ahead of the rest of the field in the 6th Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix (VI. Gran Premio Internacional Standard Supermovil YPF). Winning this long-distance rally outright was a career highlight for this former Mercedes-Benz works driver.
From Mercedes-Benz & Friends events to Schloss Dyck Classic Days, fans are always delighted to see Baroness Ewy von Korff-Rosqvist whenever she makes appearances as a charming brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Classic. Part of the Stuttgart brand's works team during the 1960s, the female Swedish rally driver is celebrating her 85th birthday. “We extend our wholehearted congratulations to Ewy Rosqvist on her special day,” says Michael Bock, Director Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Center. “We greatly appreciate her personable manner – and her utter professionalism at the wheel.”
The rally driver was born Ewy Jönsson in Stora Herrestad near Ystad, southern Sweden, on 3 August 1929. Her parents ran a farm and had five children, Ewy being the only girl. She attended the local school first and then high school in the small nearby town of Ystad. Having completed her intermediate schooling, her father encouraged her to go to agricultural college. This actually laid the foundation for her subsequent rally driving career and provided her first contact with the Mercedes-Benz brand. After studying livestock husbandry, as well as two semesters of veterinary medicine in Stockholm, Ewy Jensson qualified as a
veterinary assistant. Working for a veterinarian, she had to cover a large district containing far-flung farms. Her father therefore bought a Mercedes-Benz 170 S (W 136) for the young woman to drive 150 to 200 kilometres each day on the narrow dirt and gravel roads.
Within a relatively short time she had clocked up 220,000 kilometres in the car and was constantly improving her times between the various farmsteads and home. This honed her motoring skills and unearthed her talent for driving quickly and safely on challenging routes. In her autobiography “ Fahrt durch die Hölle” (“Driving through Hell”), the racing driver described the time thus: “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 on the farms.”
Marriage to the engineer and motor sport enthusiast Ingve Rosqvist in 1954 gave this young Swedish woman a taste for rallying as a sport. Ewy accompanied her husband during the 1954 Swedish Rally to the Midnight Sun (Svenska Rallyt till Midnattssolen) – and 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, aged 27, she found herself on the starting line of the Midnight Sun Rally with Maybrit Clausson as her co-driver.
Ewy Rosqvist was soon passionately committed to the sport, even though rallying was an expensive pursuit for a young veterinary assistant. Taking part in a major national rally in the late 1950s cost the equivalent of around 3,000 deutschmarks – a small fortune at that time. Rosqvist 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, Rosqvist became European Ladies’ Rally Champion in a Volvo ahead of Pat Moss, the internationally famous rally driver and sister of Stirling Moss. Princess Grace of Monaco presented the trophy to Ewy at the Monte Carlo Rally ceremony in January 1960. Rosqvist won this title again in 1960 and 1961. She also won the ladies’ class (Coupe des Dames) in international rallying in 1959 and 1961.
Ultimately it was not possible to pursue intense, successful rallying as a private passion alongside other employment on a permanent basis. As a result, Rosqvist signed a contract as a works driver with Volvo in 1960. The circle back to her first car was soon drawn, though. After all, she had completed her driving apprenticeship in a Mercedes-Benz. In the spring of 1962, the brand recruited the successful rally driver and her co-driver Ursula Wirth onto the Stuttgart works team.
The first race for Rosqvist and Wirth in their top-end Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) Saloon was the four-day Swedish Rally to the Midnight Sun (12 to 16 June 1962) where they immediately secured the women’s cup. They took 6th place in the 22nd Rajd Polski (2 to 6 June 1962) and then came in 12th in the Liège–Sofia–Liège Rally (29 August to 3 September 1962) before going on to win the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix. Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth won all six stages of this 4,624-kilometre race in course records, triggering enthusiastic celebrations on their arrival in Buenos Aires. It was probably the biggest success in Ewy Rosqvist’s glittering career. To seal this victory Ewy Rosqvist not only succeeded in dominating the race, she also increased the average speed from 121.234 km/h to 126.872 km/h compared to the previous year’s winning duo (Walter Schock and Manfred Schiek in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE).
Over the next couple of years, Ewy Rosqvist continued to achieve excellent placings in famous rallies and long-distance races. Examples include 16th place overall and a win in the ladies’ class at the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally, 12th place at the 11th Acropolis Rally and victory in the class up to 2,500 cc in a six-hour race at the Nürburgring (with Ursula Wirth and Eberhard Mahle). She and Ursula also achieved third place in the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix behind team-mates Eugen Böhringer and Klaus Kaiser, as well as Dieter Glemser and Martin Braungart, each duo in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112).
In 1964, Ewy Rosqvist teamed up with Eva Maria Falk to win the class up to 2,500 cc at the Monte Carlo Rally, secure 5th place in the Acropolis Rally and 3rd place in the Spa–Sofia–Liège Rally. The Swedish driver ended her active career by finishing 3rd in the 1964 Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix with Eva Maria Falk. In June of that year, Rosqvist married Baron Alexander von Korff-Schmysingk in the chapel of Stuttgart’s Old Castle. Following her husband’s death in 1977, Baroness Ewy von Korff-Rosqvist carried on living in Stuttgart for some years. Among other activities, she conducted guided museum tours there in Swedish, German, English, and Spanish.
Baroness von Korff-Rosqvist now lives in Stockholm. She is closely connected with Mercedes-Benz Classic as an ambassador for motor sport and is a popular guest at Mercedes-Benz Classic events.
Did you already know?
Mercedes-Benz is celebrating “120 years of motor sport” in 2014 – for example at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck (1 to 3 August 2014).


  • U11843
    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.
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    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.
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    The Touring Car Grand Prix of Argentina, from 25 October to 4 November 1962. Victory celebrations in the Daimler-Benz AG tower block in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. From left to right: Baroness Ewy von Korff-Rosqvist, Director General Walter Hitzinger, Ursula Wirth and Head of Racing Karl Kling
  • A49415
    Sixth Touring Car Grand Prix of Argentina, 25 October to 4 November 1962. The Swedish ladies’ team of Ewy Rosqvist (right) and Ursula Wirth wins the race in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111). In the middle, Mercedes-Benz race director Karl Kling.
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    34th Spa-Sofia-Liege Rally from 25 to 29 August 1964. Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (W 113), No. 19. Drivers, from left to right: Martin Braungart, Dieter Glemser, Alfred Kling, Ewy Rosqvist, Manfred Schiek, Eugen Böhringer, Rolf Kreder and Klaus Kaiser
  • 12C62_01
    Remembering 1963: Celebrating his 90th birthday on 22 January 2012, the former rally driver Eugen Böhringer met with companions and racing colleagues. From left to right: Dr. Peter Lang, Rolf Moll, Eugen Böhringer, Rolf Knoll, Klaus Kaiser, Eberhard Mahle, Ewy Baroness of Korff-Rosqvist, Hans Herrmann, Herbert Linge, Dieter Glemser. The red Mercedes-Benz 230 SL is the winning car of Böhringer and Kaiser of the rallye Spa–Sofia–Liège 1963.
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    Mercedes-Benz rally driver Ewy Rosqvist – portrait photo showing her with a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE “fintail” rally car.
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    Monte Carlo Rally, 1963. Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth with a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE.
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    32nd Monte Carlo Rally, 19 to 26 January 1963. Ewy Rosqvist-von Korff (left) and Ursula Wirth won the Ladies Cup in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SEb.
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    Touring Car Grand Prix of Argentina, 28 October - 7 November 1964: Ewy Rosqvist-von Korff and Eva-Maria Falk finish in third place in the overall standings in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SE. The photo shows the descent from the 1,980-metre-high Cuesta de Miranda.
  • A49417
    The Swedish Mercedes-Benz rally driver Ewy Rosqvist (right) with her co-driver Ursula Wirth, photo from 1963.
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    November 1962. Ewy Rosqvist / Ursula Wirth, wins the Grand Prix from Argentina on Mercedes-Benz (type 220 SEb W 111.)