Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_cIn my last post I had talked about the Citroen Ami which was driven by Captain Haddock’s doctor. The poor Captain had broken his leg after slipping off a broken step and was bound to the wheel chair when disaster struck in the form of Bianca Castafiore arriving to stay at the Marlinspike. Many a gypsies had encroached upon the Marlinspike estate and the matter was resolved by Tintin. When he returned after settling the gypsies, he saw the doctor leaving in his Citroen Ami while another car was parked. Yes, it was our boisterous friend, always ready to cheer up the Captain…Mr Joylon Wagg. The car Mr Wagg was driving was an Opel Rekord P2.

Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_1The Opel Rekord was a pretty popular car in Europe and has been depicted frequently in Tintin. Both, Opel Olympia Rekord and Opel Rekord P1 were shown in “The Calculus Affair” and “The Red Sea Sharks” respectively. The Opel Rekord P2 was nothing but the replacement for the P1 and was sold between 1960 and 63. It was an executive sedan manufactured at Russelsheim in Germany and was the second most popular car in Germany after the Volkswagen Beetle. It was offered in a number of body styles like:-

  • 4-door saloon
  • 2-door saloon
  • 3-door station wagon
  • 3-door van
  • 2-door coupe

Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_2The P2 had the same wheelbase as the P1 but was slightly longer and wider than the P1. Though the panoramic windscreen; which gave the P in the name; was not offered in the P2, the panoramic view was maintained by providing a very thin A-pillar. To make the car less American looking, the detailed chrome embellishments and the rear fins were removed. The 2-door coupe was offered as a factory built offering making it much cheaper than the coach built P1 coupe offered earlier. The car was aimed at customers who valued comfort and sportiness in the mid- sized segment. Customers could order the car in two-tone schemes both for the exterior as well as the interior.

Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_4At Opel the design approach had been to improve interior and luggage space for the same wheel base. As a result, the interiors of the car were designed before the exteriors thus achieving better passenger and luggage space than its predecessor without changing the dimensions. Engineers had also worked on improving the passive safety by providing a lower hub for the steering wheel and a padded dashboard. A number of luxuries were offered on the 2-door coupe like the fresh air and heating system, individual seats, velour carpet, headlight flasher, a reversing light and two-tone horn. The top of the line car was the Rekord “L” which was introduced in 1962. It was a sedan offered with the same engine as in the coupe, a four speed gear box, heating, individual seats, decorative wheel trim, chrome exhaust etc. The cost was an additional 135 DM over the standard Rekord sedan.

Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_6The Rekord was offered with two engines in three states of tune. The first engine was from the earlier generations of Rekord dating way back into the 1930s. This was a 1,488 cc (90.7 cu-inch) four cylinder inline naturally aspirated petrol engine. It breathed through two over head valves per cylinder, one for intake and one for exhaust. This engine produced 49 BHP power at 4,300 rpm and 106 N-m (78 ft-lb) torque at 2,400 rpm. The power and torque were transmitted to the rear wheels through a 3-speed, all synchromesh, gear box. The gears were operated by a steering column mounted gear lever. A four speed all synchromesh gear box as well as a Fichel and Sachs “Olymat” automatic clutch could be optioned by interested buyers. The second engine on offer was the 1,680 cc (102.6 Cu-inch) four cylinder inline naturally aspirated petrol engine. In the “S” version offered in the Coupe it produced 59 BHP of power at 4,100 rpm. Breathing through two Over Head Valves per cylinder, this engine also generated a torque of 125.5 N-m (93 ft-lb) at 2,000 rpm. However in the “L” version offered in the sedan it produced 54 BHP power at 4,000 rpm and 120 N-m (89 ft-lb) of torque at 2,100 rpm.

Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_3The P2 measured 4,515 mm (177.8″) in length, 1,632 mm (64.3″) in width and 1,485 mm (58.5″) in height. The coupe was lower at 1,405 mm (55.3″) in height. The cars weighed between 1,380 Kg (3,042 lbs) for the sedan to 1,260 Kg (2,778 lbs) for the coupe. The 1.5 litre engine could push the sedan to a top speed of 128 km/h (80 mph) accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 22.7 seconds, a 0-60 mph was dispatched in 20.7 seconds. On a drag strip, it could cover the quarter mile in 21.6 seconds achieving a speed of 98 km/h (61 mph) the end of the strip. On the other hand the “S” version 1.7 litre engine could make the coupe achieve a top speed of 137 km/h (85 mph) accelerating to 100 km/h in 18.3 seconds (0-60 mph in 16.9 seconds). Quarter mile was dispatched in 20.5 seconds with a terminal speed of 105 km/h (65 mph).

Opel Rekord Olympia 1961_5These cars had double wishbone suspension incorporating ball joints, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers at the front while the rear comprised a beam axle supported by leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. Stopping power was provided  by hydraulically operated 200 mm (7.87″) drum brakes on all four wheels. In case of the estate and van the rear drums were enlarged to 230 mm.

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