Classic debut for Niklas Kaul
Opel Classic boss Leif Rohwedder remembers one thing above all from the start of the season in May at the 10th “Bodensee Klassik”: the enthusiastic face of decathlete Niklas Kaul. The European and world champion drove to Lake Constance in his Opel Astra GSe and then climbed into a Kadett C GT/E for the 600-kilometre rally. “Niklas was totally thrilled,” remembers Rohwedder. “I think it was the first time he ever drove a classic car.” Being able to use the latest Opel technology is without a doubt great, but such a treasured 50-year-old Kadett offers a very unique driving experience. And as the Kadett C was celebrating its 50th birthday this year, there was a second model at the start; Le Mans winner Joachim “Jockel” Winkelhock drove another Kadett GT/E.
The toughest challenge
In June, the Opel Classic team set off for the Black Forest and the 10th Paul Pietsch Classic, a rally in honour of the racing driver and publisher. At the start this time: an Opel Commodore GS/E Coupé “Rallye Monte Carlo 1973” – “a homage to Walter Röhrl’s debut 50 years ago at the Rallye Monte Carlo,” says Leif Rohwedder. Opel head of communications Harald Hamprecht drove a similarly coloured Opel GT from 1969. “For us, the Black Forest Rally represents the most demanding sporting challenge every year,” said the Opel Classic boss. “The timed sections are really tough. There is a fight for every hundredth of a second.” On a test track, there are even two banked turns. The finish in Offenburg makes up for all the effort: “No other rally gives us such a reception – this is a real folk festival!”
On the 27th edition of the “ADAC Oldtimerfahrt Hessen-Thüringen” in June, Opel revived the “Golden 1960s and 1970s” – with timeless beauties such as the Opel GT, Diplomat B, Rekord C Cabrio and the sporty Opel Commodore B GS/E Coupe. At the wheel of the latter sat four-time Olympic bobsleigh champion André Lange. And even the Thuringian local hero had to admit afterwards that this rally had taken him to places he had never been before. Leif Rohwedder was also amazed by a young couple who had won a rally start in an Opel GT in a competition: Tim Rapp and Kim Kaltenpoth. “They both assured me they had never taken part in a rally before – and immediately became the strongest Opel team. Hats off to them!“
Classics in white
Opel Classic brought a fleet of white cars to the 7th “Klassik Tour Kronberg” in September. The legendary automobiles included the Kadett Aero, the Admiral V8 and the Monza 3.0. Prominent Opel drivers included actress Gesine Cukrowski and TV star Timur Ülker. The actress drove a 1978 Kadett Aero in bright, beautiful late summer weather. “Roof down, fresh air in – lots of people thought our Targa convertible with Pepita seats was the highlight of the rally,” said Cukrowski after crossing the finish line. Meanwhile, TV star Timur Ülker took a seat in an Admiral V8 together with Opel communications boss Harald Hamprecht. The duo enjoyed the way the luxury sedan with 190 hp can still take corners in style today. “This is automotive beauty paired with power. The sound alone makes you look forward to driving it,” said the singer and influencer Ülker.
Baroque sculptures in lush green, the palace garden, a masterpiece of European garden art – a finale with style; the Opel Classic team celebrated the end of this year’s season in September at the 19th Classic Gala Schwetzingen in Baden-Württemberg. Visitors were able to marvel at over 160 historic vehicles. And at the ECOmobil gala just a few steps away, Opel showed with the Astra Sports Tourer GSe and Grandland GSe what driving enjoyment with responsibility means today. The fact that no classics had to be driven at the event, but were just displayed in an incomparably stylish ambience, suited Leif Rohwedder and his team: “Our classics aren’t getting any younger either.” The Opel Classic boss was pleased that two of the oldies he had brought with him won prizes – a worthy end to yet another successful classic season.