RiveraNotario found a number of great CCs in Mexico City, but this has to be the rarest, especially as it looks to still be a “driver”. It’s an Opel Rekord (P2), which was made from 1960 through 1963. We featured the coupe version here last year, but this is the much more common 2-door sedan.
The Opel Rekord was the second most popular car in Germany during the fifties and early sixties, after the VW. It was a class or two above the Beetle; a relatively roomy and very conventional sedan, as had been the formula for Opel (and Ford) in Germany for quite a long time.
The P2 was not sold in the US, unlike its predecessor P1, which was pretty common here. GM’s 1960 and 1961 compacts made it irrelevant as an import, but the Kadett came stateside in 1964, as it was a direct VW competitor.
Power was via a 1.5 or 1.7 L pushrod four, making 50/55 hp, although there was an “S” version of the 1.7 that made a whopping 60 hp. The standard transmission was a column-shifted three speed, and a four speed (also column-shifter) was optional.
All in all, the P2 was mostly just a new, slightly bigger body on the chassis of the P1.
There was a four door sedan, but its number were minuscule compared to the two-door sedan (and wagon). Germans were big on two doors, for some reason, unlike the French, who pretty much insisted on four doors, and their smallest and cheapest cars (2CV, Renault 4CV, etc.) all had four doors. Some kind of cultural thing that’s hard to pin down.
This one is sporting an interesting bumper override bar; it’s not one I’ve seen before. Made to take on the rough traffic of Mexico City? It’s survived surprisingly well.
Related CC reading:
Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: Opel Rekord (P2) Coupe – The German Buick Invicta
Cohort Classic: 1978 Opel Rekord 2.0S (And Olympia/Rekord History) – Near The End Of An Unbroken Rekord
Preference for 4 doors? The French more practical than the Germans… who knew? lol
With the 2CV and Renault 4, the rear doors were reserved for the farm animals often hauled in these vehicles 😀. But 2 doors were popular in Sweden as well; the Saab 93 and 96 and Volvo 444/544 were two door only, as were the wagon versions of those cars. The popularity of the Beetle everywhere showed both customers and manufacturers that 4 doors aren’t strictly necessary.
It’s a subject I intend to look into a bit more, including Great Britain, as the preferences for 2-doors vs. 4-doors was a very real thing, for quite a while. And it predates the VW; that was just a reflection of what was common then.
The major German deviation was Mercedes, as they built essentially no two-door sedans except for the rear engine 130/170H. But then they were always commonly used as taxis, unlike the Opels and Fords.
I will say that part of me enjoys the fact that we own a pretty rare (in the US at least) 2 door Golf VII. But if I was doing it again I’d get a 4 door, even though it’s usually just the two of us. The practical Golf shape is really constrained with just two doors in a way that never bothered me with our New Beetle.
In the mid 1970s while living in the Heidelberg, Germany area, a co-worker of mine owned a P2 Rekord 4-door sedan, and even though it was only about 10 to 12 years old, he ended up selling it for parts because after an accident [another car ran into the left front of the Opel whlie it was parked] he found it impossible to find even USED sheet metal & trim pieces.
While I was overhauling the brakes on my 1956 Imperial I borrowed the Opel a couple of times. His car was a 4-speed, and I found the column shifter to be difficult to use, especially the 2-3 shift.
Concerning the upper tubular steel bumper guard on the car in the photos, I’ve bought several vintage cars that were sold new in Mexico City, and a couple of them had similar bars front & rear. My 1951 Studebaker & 1961 Facel Vega even had a set of these! I removed them because they all were badly rusted due to poor plating.
Imagine if GM had decided to produce a version of the Rekord D instead of the Vega.
But then I wouldn’t have Vega horror stories – I mean fond memories – to feel nostalgic about.
I remember the other version (? P1?) of these that the USA got .
This one looks ready for a high dollar restoration .
I’d retain those bumper accessories thet upper rails were very popular in the 1950’s on American cars .
What struck me was the color combo — virtually a direct match to the ’55 Chevy 210 2-door sedan we had back in the day: India Ivory roof over a Skyline Blue body.
And those taillights are very similar to the ones used by some Packard models in the early 50s.
This shade of blue is not a genuine Opel P2 colour. I doubt if it is Opel at all.
GM didnt send those here we got the 4 door Victors similar shape but very few survive, dew rusted them out never mind rain and salt air.
Rust has always been a kind of Achilles heel of Opel cars. At least in the 20th century. Mechanically nearly indestructable – but the rust …
US-spec Isabellas also had those nerf-bars. I always assumed it was due to US bumper-height regulations.
They seemed to catch on as an ‘accessory’ in Europe, for a while. Even Deluxe Minis sported corner ones.
The two-door/four-door thing is fascinating: French demand four, Spaniards four with a boot/trunk added – even to superminis.
The Teutonics seemed to prefer two-doors – it seemed odd that Rekords and Granadas were ordered with two in Northern Europe, when it wasn’t even an option in the UK.
The Brits were a bit more 50/50, generally.
The German Police used to order three-door TC Taunuses – four-door bodyside on the right (so they could throw the hoodlum in the back and bang his head on the awkward roof) and a two door bodyside on the left. This prevented said hoodlum promptly exiting stage right across the traffic…
I desire that ’66 Valiant parked behind it