Rare Rides: Take Note of a 1960 Opel Rekord

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Long before Opel became a donor for the badge-engineered Cadillac Catera and Buick Regal, the then GM-owned company shifted its own cars on North American soil. Today’s Rare Ride is a very early example of such a North American offering: It’s a two-door Rekord sedan from 1960.

The first Opels arrived on North American shores circa 1958. They wore their Opel badging proudly, and were distributed via Buick dealerships who’d signed on for some additional German flair in the showroom.

By that time, the Rekord model was in its second generation. The model started off as a compact executive car aimed at the European market in 1953. Originally known as the Olympia Rekord, the model’s success warranted a follow-up album. The new one bore the name Rekord P1 (initially Rekord P), and the small sedan was introduced in 1957 at the Frankfort Motor Show.

Larger than its predecessor, the new Rekord took its styling inspiration from popular large American cars of the day. Windows at the front and rear were of a wrap-around style, aping American favorites like the Buick Roadmaster and Chevrolet Bel Air. Other American car features included daring two-tone paint and matching two-tone interiors.

The model found quick success, earning a repeated second place finish on the West German sales charts. Rekord was bested only by the less expensive VW Beetle. German journalists of the day gave the Rekord a special pet name too: “Bauern-Buick,” or “Peasant’s Buick.” Charming.

The two-door sedan style was the only one available for 1957. The next year, a four-door sedan, a three-door station wagon, and a panel van debuted. Engines supplied to the Rekord varied by build date and trim level. All were inline-fours ranging from 1.2 to 1.7 liters in displacement. A single transmission was available for the majority of the Rekords produced — a three-speed manual. While an automated manual entered service for 1959 and 1960, it proved an unpopular option.

The second-generation Rekord was short-lived, and a third generation (the P2) was ready by summer of 1960. Growing larger and more luxurious with each successive model, Opel produced eight different generations of the Rekord, spanning the years 1953 to 1986. It eventually replaced the model with the Omega, which you’ll remember as the Cadillac Catera.

Today’s Rare Ride is a 1960 example, from very late in the second generation’s run. It’s a base model Olympia trim, meaning it has the smaller 1.2-liter engine. In monochromatic green and decent condition, it asked $5,000 on eBay recently. It received no bids.

[Images: eBay]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Ajla Ajla on Jan 04, 2019

    "Engines supplied to the Rekord varied by build date and trim level. All were inline-fours ranging from 1.2 to 1.7 liters in displacement." ...And I'm proud to be an American...

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jan 06, 2019

    The Rambler American was a much better car than this and probably got better mpgs.

  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗