Sunday 2 November 2014
The Opel Rekord Series A is a large family car introduced in March 1963, by Opel as a replacement for the Opel Rekord P2. It was fractionally shorter but also wider than its predecessor with a wheelbase approximately 10 cm longer.
The Rekord (Series A) combined a stylish modern body with a range of engines little changed since 1937. In August 1965 it was replaced by the Opel Rekord (Series B) which from the outside was surprisingly similar, but which under the bonnet/hood would introduce a new generation of four-cylinder engines that would power Rekords until 1986, when Rüsselsheim produced its last Opel Rekord.
The Rekord A that appeared in March 1963 was a robust response to the success of the Ford Taunus 17M. The design of the new Rekord sedan came not from Germany but from the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, and was inspired by the successful Chevrolet II. It was styled to look slimmer and more sporty than its predecessor, but underneath its reassuringly clean design the Rekord A remained faithful to the trusted technical layout of previous models, from which the 1488cc and 1680cc four cylinder side-valve engines were taken, albeit now with an enlarged carburetter and claimed maximum power which even on the entry level cars, came in at 55 hp (40 kW).
The original sales material named the car the Opel Rekord R3, which would have been a logical continuation from the previous model, known as the Opel Rekord P2. The decision to stress the newness of the design by calling it the Opel Rekord A was evidently taken very late in the day.
Until 1959 previous versions had been badged as Opel Olympia Rekords, and while the Olympia name had now disappeared from the car's official name, the word "Olympia" was still inscribed across the glove box lid in chrome script. The 1937 Opel Olympia had redefined the Opel range, being one of the first monocoque designs in Europe, and the company had tooled up to produce it in huge numbers. Evidently Opel were keen to keep alive the memory of the first Olympia.
The relatively extensive range of body types followed the pattern of the predecessor model. The top seller was the saloon/sedan, available with either 2 or 4 doors. There was a "CarAVan" station wagon, but still only with three doors which was normal in Germany, although by now station wagons of this size produced in France, Italy, England or Sweden almost invariably came with a second set of doors for the passengers in the back. Opel also offered a three door delivery van which was essentially identical to the station wagon except that the rear side windows were replaced with metal panels.
A coupé version was also assembled on the Rüsselsheim production line along with the Sedan and the CarAVan. The design, which heavily penalised rear seat head-room in order to provide a more stylish profile, was the work of Opel's German development team, working with the already finalised North American design of the sedan.
Cabriolet versions were also available. Based on the Rekord A coupé, these were conversions from the body builders Autenreith until they ceased production in 1964, and thereafter by Karl Deutsch. This approach made them very much more expensive than other cars in the range, and the cabriolet conversion was not offered with the smaller 1,488 cc engine. Very few Rekord A cabriolets were sold.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1680 cc
- horsepower: 60 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 140 km/h