Who here can say they haven’t always wanted an Opel Olympia? (Wow, that’s a lot of hands.) Well, perhaps you will want one after reading this post. This Opel is something you don’t see every day. Why? probably because very few were ever brought to the U.S. Opel was based in Germany and did not export this car to America.
More on Opel and this Olympia after the jump:
This particular example was used by a business owner in Twin Falls, Idaho to attract a crowd to his business. According to the seller, most of its miles over the last few decades were just in and out of the garage. It is being offered by Time Machines Collectable Auto, also in Twin Falls. Find the ad here on ksl.com.
Other than its small dimensions and the German language instrument panel, its styling could easily pass as ’40s American. It has plenty of chrome, bucket seats, and a continental-style spare tire mount. Its true heritage is betrayed, however, by the 1.5 liter engine, the tiny size, and the very cool semaphore turn signals.
Opel is one of the oldest car companies in the world. As a company, it has been in existence since 1862 and it has been producing automobiles since 1899. An interesting fact about Opel is that a contolling interest (80%) in the company was purchased in 1929 by General Motors. Two years later, GM bought the remaining 20%. By that time, Opel was a strong company. Combined with GM’s resources, it became the largest automaker in Germany.
As Germany attemped to take over the world, Opel started building military vehicles and parts for the war effort. GM started making profits from the Nazi side of the European war. In 1942, When the U.S. became involved in World War II, the plant, along with its loyal local workforce, was siezed by the German government. Still producing military vehicles, the main plant in Rüsselsheim was bombed out of comission in August, 1944 by allied forces.
After the war, the plant was reconstructed and began again making passenger cars in 1947. In 1950, the Olympia recived a new body, but was still based on the pre-war version of the car. This is what you see here.
Opel purists (if there are any) may balk at the idea, but we think a modern, fuel injected inline 4 (Honda S2000, perhaps?), some lowering, and chopping off the trunk and turning the car into a slant-back would make this one of the coolest street rods out there. Or, it could be restored, but just thinking about finding parts makes our stomachs churn with dread.
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