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Adam Opel AG (Opel) is a German automobile company founded by Adam Opel in 1862. Opel has been building automobiles since 1899, and became an Aktiengesellschaft in 1929.

The company is headquartered in Rüsselsheim, Hesse, Germany. It became a majority-stake subsidiary of the General Motors Corporation in 1929 and has been a wholly owned subsidiary since 1931.
Their models have been rebadged and sold in other countries and continents, such as Vauxhall in the UK, Holden in Asia and Australia and, previously, Saturn in the US and Canada. Following the demise of General Motors Corporation's Saturn division in North America, Opel cars are currently rebadged and sold in the US, Canada, and China under the Buick name with models such as the Opel Insignia/Buick Regal, Opel Astra sedan/Buick Verano, and Opel Mokka/Buick Encore. 

The company was founded in Rüsselsheim, Hesse, Germany, on January 21, 1862, by Adam Opel. At the beginning, Opel just produced sewing machines in a cowshed in Rüsselsheim. Above all, his success was based on his perfectly customized sewing machines. 

Because of the quick growth of his business, in 1888 the production was relocated from the cowshed to a more spacious building in Rüsselsheim. Encouraged by success, Adam Opel launched a new product in 1886
He began to sell high-wheel bicycles, also known as penny-farthings. Besides, Opel's two sons participated in high-wheel bicycle races and thus promoted this means of transportation. Therefore, the production of high-wheel bicycles soon exceeded the production of sewing machines.At the time of Opel's death in 1895, he was the leader in both markets.

In the early 1920s, Opel became the first German car manufacturer to incorporate a mass production assembly line in the building of their automobiles. In 1924, they used their assembly line to produce a new open two-seater called the "Laubfrosch". The Laubfrosch was finished exclusively in green lacquer.

The car sold for an expensive 4,500 marks expensive considering the less expensive manufacturing process but by the 1930s this type of vehicle would cost a mere 1,990 marks  due in part to the assembly line, but also due to the skyrocketing demand for cars. Adam Opel led the way for motorized transportation to become not just a means for the rich, but a reliable way for people of all classes to travel. 

The Kapitän was the last new Opel model to appear before the outbreak of the Second World War, developed during 1938 and launched in the spring of 1939 at the Geneva motor show. The first Kapitän was available in many different body styles, the most popular one being the 4-door saloon. 2-door coupé cabriolets were also built. The pre-war Kapitän featured a unitary body, a modern feature for its time. The car inherited its 2.5-litre engine from its predecessor: in this application a maximum speed of 118 km/h (73 mph) was reported.

Civilian automobile production by Opel ceased in the Fall / Autumn of 1940, by which time 25,371 Kapitäns had been produced: a further three were assembled during 1943, giving a total production volume for the version launched in 1939 of 25,374. In addition, 2 were assembled in 1946, and one in 1947, but these were not officially recorded in the statistics.

In October 1948, the Kapitän was re-introduced as a large six-cylinder saloon only, based on the 1939 version. The main differences were round headlights as opposed to hexagonal ones.  

From May 1950 the shifter was relocated from the floor to the steering column. The first post-war Kapitän reached a top speed of 126 km/h (78.3 mph), needed 29 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) and consumed 13 litres per 100 kilometres (22 mpg; 18 mpg) in the process.Up to February 1951, 30.431 Kapitäns were built.

The 1951 Kapitän, introduced in March 1951, was a stylistically slightly modernized version of the old model; technically it was much the same. The engine's compression ratio rose from 6.0:1 to 6.25 to 1, its output from 55 PS (40 kW; 54 hp) to 58 PS (43 kW; 57 hp).From the outside the car was readily distinguished from the first post-war Kapitäns, thanks to an abundance of chrome and a US style grill at the front.From March 1951 up to July 1953, Opel built 48,562 cars of this series.

In November 1954, Opel launched a completely new Kapitän that was longer and wider than its predecessor. Carried over was the six-cylinder engine, though its compression ratio was raised to 7.0:1, giving 68 PS (50 kW; 67 hp) initially. For 1955, output rose to 71 PS (52 kW; 70 hp) and was further enhanced to 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) for 1956.

The 54 featured a revised rear live axle, a rear stabilizing bar and slightly enlarged drum brakes.

Model year 1956 saw a mild facelift with a more up-to-date grille, bezeled headlamps, larger front indicator lights and revised side trim. The 56 reached a top speed of 140 km/h 87.0 mph and consumed 13 L/100 km 22 mpg-; 18 mpg.From May 1957, a semi-automatic 3-speed overdrive transmission with an additional fourth gear became available on request.

The 1958 Kapitän series P1, introduced in June 1958, was both wider and lower than its predecessor, and featured panoramic windows. It was only built for one year. This time, the 2.5 l-six's output was raised to 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp). Wheelbase, track widths, length and width were all slightly stretched, while a flatter roof made the car some 6 centimetres (2.4 in) lower.From June 1958 to June 1959, 34.282 cars were built.

The P2 Kapitän came to market in August 1959 and while it still had the panoramic windscreen, it gained a new grille and a redone body with a more angular roof and a new rear.

It was driven by a stronger new, oversquare 2.6-liter-inline six (bore x stroke: 85 x 76.5 instead of 80 x 82 mm), still of OHV and pushrod design. Carried over were the 3-speed and 4-speed overdrive transmission; the latter was replaced from December 1960 by a version of GM´s 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic.

The P2 climbed to a top speed of 150 km/h (93.2 mph), reached 100 km/h (62 mph) in 16 seconds and consumed 12 L/100 km (24 mpg; 20 mpg).From August 1959 to December 1963, Opel built 145,618 units of this Kapitän series.

In 1964, Opel introduced the completely new KAD (Kapitän, Admiral, Diplomat) models; the Kapitän served as the base model of this three-tier model range.It was powered by the same engines as the contemporary Opel Admiral, namely a 2.6 l-inline six or a 2.8 l-six; a few Kapitäns even received the Chevrolet-sourced 4.6 l-V8. For the Austrian market, 580 Kapitän and Admiral models received a 2.5 l-six with an output of 112 PS (82 kW; 110 hp) in 1966/67.

Like its more expensive brethren, the Kapitän was reworked in late 1967 and received rub strips, a new ZF steering and a collapsible steering column. At the same time, a new HL (Hochleistung = high-performance) version of the 2.8 l-six became available that put out 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp).Sales of the Kapitän A fell sharply off; up to its discontinuation in November 1968, a total of 24,249 cars left the factory.

The Kapitän B was introduced in 1969 and was the last car bearing the Kapitän name. Engine options included a 1-bbl 2.8 l-inline six or a 2-bbl version of same, coupled with a 4-speed manual or Opel's 3-speed automatic transmission.Production ended in May 1970.

The Admiral and Diplomat lived on for another seven years until they were replaced by the Senator in 1978.Just 4,976 Kapitan B models were built in 15 months.

The Opel Olympia Rekord was introduced in March 1953 as successor to the Opel Olympia, a pre-World War II design dating back to 1935. The Opel Olympia Rekord was built until 1957 in four different versions. Around 580,000 units were produced. Styling of the 193-54 sedans resembled scaled-down versions of the contemporary Chevrolet in the U.S. Both cars were of course, products of General Motors.

1953/54: 1488 cc, 40 PS (29 kW; 39 hp). Available as two-door saloon, cabriolet and estate (Caravan). Price in Germany: DM 6,410 to 6,710. 136,028 units made.

1955: 1488 cc, 40 PS (29 kW; 39 hp). Mild facelift, comprising larger rear window, new grill insert. New base model called simply Olympia; a delivery, based on the saloon, was also introduced. Price in Germany: DM 5,850 to 6,710. 131,586 units made.

1956: 1488 cc, 45 PS (33 kW; 44 hp). New grill insert, bumpers now without guards. Price in Germany: DM 5,410 to 6,560. 144,587 units made.

1957: 1488 cc, 45 PS (33 kW; 44 hp). New grill insert again, flatter roof, chrome strips along belt line. The cabriolet was no longer part of the line. Prices in Germany: DM 5,510 to 6,560. 169,721 units made.

The Rekord P II grew in size, if not in wheelbase, and received a totally new body that did away with wraparound windows. It was available in several body versions: 2-door and 4-door saloon, a 3-door estate ("Caravan") plus delivery van, a pick-up, and a convertible. From August 1961 on, a works coupé became available, and in June 1962 a more luxurious "L" version was added with a new top engine of 1700 cc "S" and a higher compression ratio. The latest versions had an optional four-speed gearbox.

While the Rekord B consisted of only a mild facelift compared to the A, it received Opel's new, more oversquare four-cylinder CIH (cam in head) engines (1500, 1700 S, 1900 S). The CIH engines were used in all subsequent Rekord generations until 1986, when Rekord was replaced by the Opel Omega. The 2,600 cc six-cylinder engine remained unchanged. The line-up was identical to the Rekord A.

The range consisted of the two- and four-door saloon, two- and (new) four-door estate, delivery van, and two-door hardtop coupé with 1500, 1700, 1700 S, 1900 S fours or (until 1968) a 2200 six. Very short-lived (1967 only) was a special taxi version on a longer wheelbase (113 inch) with division, that sold for DM 9,950; with it, Opel tried to get a foothold in the German taxi market, then (as now) dominated by Mercedes-Benz. Again, Karl Deutsch of Cologne offered a convertible version in limited numbers.

There existed several variations of the Rekord C, as well as version made under different names in different countries.

A variation on the Rekord C was the Rekord Sprint coupé (1967–71) with driving lights, sport steel wheels, sport stripes and a sporty interior; the Sprint received exclusively the so-called 1900 H engine with two double-barrel carburettors, good for 106 PS (78 kW; 105 hp) and 108 mph (174 km/h).

The former Rekord L-6 was replaced by the new Commodore A, a slightly disguised and better-equipped Rekord C available as two- and four-door sedan and hardtop coupé with six-cylinder engines only.

It was during the life of this model (in fact 1967–70) that the Opel Olympia name was revived, but in a separate, smaller car which was based on the period Opel Kadett.

Due to the launch of the smaller Ascona in September 1970, the Rekord was marketed as an executive car rather than a large family car.

About 1.1 million Rekord Ds were made. Because the name Rekord D was easily mistaken to connote a diesel-powered car, the name Rekord II was often used in sales literature. The first prototype was ready in 1971. The engine types available were 1897 cc, 1698 cc and 2068 cc CIH (cam-in-head) four-cylinder gasoline engines. There was also a diesel version with an engine whose displacement was initially 2.1 litres and afterwards reduced to 2.0 litres. The diesel engine was higher than gasoline variants, so diesel model hoods have a raised midsection. The six-cylinder variant of this car is called the Commodore B.

Transmissions available were standard four-speed manual with either floor or steering-column shifter and TH-180 automatic transmission. The body is of unitary construction. Body types available were four-door saloon, four-door estate and two-door coupé. There was also a variant called "Berlina" with more luxurious interior and wheels.The Rangers were also transferred to this new generation, with the dropping of the 130 and 153 and the adding of a 1.7 L engine. In 1972, the line-up consisted of the base Ranger 1700, the mid-level Ranger 1900, and the top-of-the-line Ranger 2500. In 1974, a 2.8L engine was introduced to the Ranger family. However, by that time the Rangers were unpopular, and were discontinued after the 1976 model year. Most of these were sold exclusively in Continental Europe, especially the Benelux region.

South Africa used this body type for their Chevrolet 2500, 3800 and 4100 series. They looked visually almost identical but had the Chevrolet 2500 (4-cylinder) or 3800 and 4100 (6-cylinder) engines installed. They were available as four-door saloon or estate. The six-cylinder versions could be differentiated from the "fours" as they had four round headlights as opposed to the two rectangular units.These cars were also assembled in Iran (before revolution) from 1974 till 1977 under the local "Chevrolet Royale / or Chevrolet Iran" brand-name by Iran General Motors. The two models were 2500 and 2800 with 2.5L and 2.8L, respectively.The production of these vehicles ended in 1977 when the assembly line started producing the Chevrolet Nova, Buick Skylark, and Cadillac Seville cars until 1987.





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