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Rare Rides: Take Note of a 1960 Opel Rekord

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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]

– Rare Rides: Take Note of a 1960 Opel Rekord –

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