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Rallye Hessen-Thüringen: Opel Showcases its Rich Cabriolet Heritage

18 May 2016

  • From 8/25 hp to Cascada: Lineup of convertibles spans 100 years of company history
  • Prominent contender: Opel VP Sales Peter Küspert in Super 6 Gläser cabriolet
  • Fast combination: Racing ace Joachim Winkelhock with Rekord C Deutsch cabriolet


Opel News - At the Hessen-Thüringen Rally, Opel shows topless models from 100 years of the brand’s history

Rüsselsheim. The first Opel in 1899 – the Patent Motor Car “System Lutzmann” – was a convertible. While an open body was standard during the early days of automotive engineering, it later came to signify luxury and a chic lifestyle. At this year’s 22nd ADAC Opel Classic Hessen-Thüringen rallye, five classic Opel cabriolets and one current convertible model give an overview of the evolution of open-air driving. Opel Vice President Sales and Aftersales Peter Christian Küspert is participating in a strikingly beautiful Super 6 Gläser Cabriolet. The classic car rallye takes place from May 26 – 28 through the romantic Werratal region that straddles the former East-West German border. Classic and historic automobile and motorcycle owners have already been exploring the most beautiful areas in Hessen and Thuringia since 1995. The center of operations for the rallye that covers 350 kilometers is Hessen-Hotelpark Hohenroda.

 

Five open-air stars from Rüsselsheim are taking part in this year’s action. The Opel 8/25 PS from 1920 was a sporty tourer with four seats; the Super 6 Gläser Cabriolet from 1937 a premium-class, elegant, sporty two-seater. The 1950 Opel Olympia as a cabriolet sedan was a popular body variant, while the 1964 Rekord A and 1967 Rekord C were a case for the specialists: coachbuilder Deutsch transformed series production sedans into shapely convertibles. The Opel Cascada that accompanies the classic models during the historic car rallye through the Rhön Mountains and Thuringian Forest embodies the contemporary interpretation of the large, luxurious cabriolet with canvas roof and space for four people.

The beginning was open

Opel News - Accompanied by the Opel Cascada, the Opel 8/25 PS displays 1920s flair

Opel’s tradition in open-body automobiles goes back to the brand’s beginnings:

like all cars built at the dawn of the automobile age, the Opel Patent Motor Car, System Lutzmann from 1899, followed traditional carriage design principles and had a body without an integral roof.

 

When the Opel 8/25 hp with the characteristic V-shaped radiator front came onto the market 20 years later as an open, four-seat tourer, it was the epitome of the modern motor car. It had a canvas roof but no side windows; motorists in the post-World War I era wore season-appropriate weatherproof clothing. The Opel 8/25 hp four-cylinder engine delivered 25 hp at 1,600 rpm from 2-liter displacement, enough for a maximum speed of 65 km/h. Its model name reflected its tax class and output: according to the federal law introduced in 1906 that first regulated the taxation of automobiles, an “hp tax” was due per one-half liter displacement.

 

In 1937, the company’s 75th anniversary, it presented the new Opel Super 6 featuring an advanced short-stroke 2.5-liter, overhead-valve, straight-six engine with 55 hp that already had a top speed of 115 km/h. A two and four-door sedan as well as a convertible version were available ex-works. Special wishes were fulfilled by coachbuilders such as Hebmüller, Autenrieth, Buhne, Deutsch and Gläser from Dresden, who designed a 2+2 seat, roadster-like convertible based on the Super 6 – open-air driving was now a luxury, no longer the norm. Whoever wants to ride in the Gläser cabriolet driven by Opel VP Sales Peter Christian Küspert better have some acrobatic skills: passengers climb into the rear jump seat over a small step on the side of the car.

Ex-works and per order

Opel News - The current midsize convertible, Opel Cascada preceded by the 1966/67 Opel Rekord C

The 1950 Opel Olympia was a more comfortable ride. Abundantly adorned with chrome ornaments, it was a symbol of post-war rebuilding and the economic miracle. But as a cabrio-sedan it still wore pre-war fashion. Unlike a full convertible, this open-air model had fixed window frames that were connected to the windshield frame in front and that constituted the C-pillar in the rear. In between, the large roof rolled open, letting in light and air. In 1956, the last car with this design in the Olympia Rekord model line rolled off the assembly line in Rüsselsheim.

 

Then it wasn’t until 1976 that Opel once again offered a convertible ex-works. In the 20 year interim, it was coachbuilders such as Karl Deutsch in Cologne who made the dream of Opel cabriolets come true. Upon request, Deutsch converted the Rekord A of 1963 into a cabrio, as it did the Rekord C in 1966. The entry-level price for a two-door Rekord C base model was 7,590 German marks, and the conversion cost another 4,000 marks. Deutsch’s exclusive creations remain attractive, special and rare, as only around 30 open-air Rekord A and B models were built.

 

About 50 Rekord C and Commodore A – the Rekord’s sporty sister model – cabriolets were produced before the model change in 1972. The red Rekord C Deutsch cabriolet in the Opel Classic Collection is driven by former racing car driver, Opel DTM driver and brand ambassador Joachim Winkelhock.

 

Today the four-seat Cascada continues Opel’s nearly 120-year heritage of open-air driving. With the new Cascada, Opel offers a spacious four-seater with a high-quality soft-top otherwise only seen in selected premium brand vehicles. It features superior acoustic and thermal insulation for first-class, all-season driving comfort. The Opel Cascada is a seductive whirlwind with its top down and a quiet Gran Turismo when the top is up. It is a year-round cabriolet thanks to its sophisticated soft-top that opens in just 17 seconds while driving at speeds of up to 50 km/h – all for prices starting at just €26,650.