Picturesque scenery and beautiful cars: the team from Opel Classic took part in numerous classic events and rallies again this year.

Opel’s History on Tour

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.

Debut in a classic Opel: Niklas Kaul, the world and European decathlon champion, has been associated with the company for years.
Contemporary meets classic: the sporty spearhead of the Opel compact class, the Astra GSe, was there as a support vehicle for the organizers.
Season opener in May: in addition to the two Kadett GT/E models, the Kadett 1.6 S Aero (left) from the Opel Classic collection was also at the start.
“As soon as I sit in a sporty Opel classic, the adrenaline increases.” Jockel Winkelhock drove a Kadett GT/E together with Boris Schmidt.

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!”

Pretty villages, beautiful landscapes and classic automobiles: the “Paul Pietsch Classic” is an annual “must-do” event for the Opel Classic team.
Folk festival atmosphere at the finish: The Astra top model led the field on both days of the rally.
Another Opel classic at the start: the Corsa GSi is an agile car, ideal for tight corners.
Exclusive pleasure: the first generation of the Kadett GT/E, the 1,000 series of 1977, was quickly sold out.

Discovery drive

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!“

Four-time Olympic bobsleigh champion André Lange was at the start in a Commodore GS/E Coupé. “As an athlete, it’s particularly fun for me to get into such an icon.”
A real rarity: the Rekord C convertible, built in 1967 by the Cologne coachbuilder Karl Deutsch, was the oldest model in the Opel Classic field.
This Diplomat V8 with 230 hp from 1975 also covered the total distance of more than 500 kilometres without any problems.
A well-matched team: the athlete André Lange mastered 17 consistency tests at the wheel of the Commodore GS/E.

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.

TV star Timur Ülker (right) and Opel communications boss Harald Hamprecht were at the start with an Admiral V8.
“This car made the ‘Klassik Tour Kronberg’ twice as much fun!”: Actress Gesine Cukrowski felt completely at home in the 1978 Kadett Aero.
The destination of the third and final stage was Oberursel: The ‘Klassik Tour Kronberg’ is the most important rally of its kind in Hesse. It took place for the seventh time this year.
570 kilometres of fun and excitement: the Opel Monza 3.0 E with its 3.0-litrer six-cylinder engine proves that sporty luxury still appeals today.
In addition to the classics from Rüsselsheim, there was also an Astra Electric for the organisers of the rally to use.

Stylish finale

Opel Classic boss Leif Rohwedder accepted the first award for the Opel 10/18 Tourer from 1908: it was one of the three most beautiful vehicles built between 1905 and 1918.

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.

A classic on the way to the end of the season: the 2.8-litre six-cylinder in the Kapitän B accelerates effortlessly to 175 km/h.
Award-winner: the Classic Gala at Schwetzingen Castle was a worthy conclusion to the successful 2023 Classic season.
The “Schlüsselloch” Kapitän from 1958 was named among the top three nominees for the “Prix Superieur”.

November 2023

Text: Eric Scherer, Photos: Opel