As you probably know by now, I do have a thing for old Opels. Finding a Kadett Rallye 1900 near my house was one of the highlights of my car hunting career so far, but I’ve rather given up finding a Rekord of this vintage. Or more like I never had any hope from the get-go. But CC reader Bob has stumbled into one, and what a rare one at that. The Rekord B was only built for ten months, and never imported to the US, so finding this on the road in Seattle makes it especially unusual. And if it weren’t exotic enough, it’s wearing 1963 Washington tags. Trying a bit too hard to make sure there’s none other like it in the world?
In production only ten months? Well, the Rekord B only differs from the Rekord A (above) in two main ways: its rectangular headlights, and the all-new Cam In Head (“CIH”) engine that finally replaced the venerable push rod four dating back to 1937. The Rekord A, which arrived in 1963, was designed and styled with considerable involvement from the GM Mothership in Warren, Michigan, and its similarities to the 1962 Chevy II are all-too obvious.
This generation of Rekord was never imported to the US. Opel sales in the US were handled by Buick dealers, and after its compact 1961 Special arrived, the Rekord was dead wurst. Supposedly a few were sold as late as 1962, maybe even a couple of leftovers in 1963, but that was the prior generation. So this 1700 Caravan was brought over from Germany by private hands; when is anybody’s guess, but it wasn’t in 1963.
In addition to two and four-door sedans and the Caravan wagon (two-door only), there was also a sporty coupe, although this one pictured frolicking in the winter snow is a round-eyed A model.
Bob didn’t snag any interior shots, but a bit of googling finds this car at another website, seattlesclassic.blogspot.com (there are a lot of CC-wanna-bes out there, which is a good thing). They featured this car last summer, and this interior shot is from there. These Rekords came with either three or four speed transmissions. Folks in the flat lands were well-enough served by the three-speed; in the Alps, the four speed was the obvious choice. Both were column shifted, except for the coupe which was graced with a floor-mounted stick.
The CIH engine came in 1492, 1698 or 1897 cc versions, with horsepower ratings of 60, 75 and 90, correspondingly. The Rekord A and B could also be had with the old 2605cc OHV six from the Kapitän, but it only brought an additional 10 hp and a lot of excess weight over the front wheels, making for unbalanced handling.
Why did Opel bother with a new model for only ten months? The new CIH engine was supposed to go in the all-new next generation Rekord C, but its development was running late. But the new engine was ready, hence the B, with the new headlights to show the world that it had something new under the hood as well. And why the 1963 Washington tags on it? Unless we hear from the owner, we’ll probably never know.