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Opel History

Adam Opel

Adam Opel biography

The Opel automobile family traces its roots to 1838 in the town of Rüsselsheim, Germany and the birth of Adam Opel. As a young adult, Adam Opel toured Europe extensively and learned to make sewing machines while in Paris. Fascinated by these machines, Adam Opel, then only 25 years old, opened a factory in Rüsselsheim for volume production of sewing machines.

In 1868, Adam Opel married Sophie Marie Scheller and began a family which would include five sons: Carl, Wilhelm, Heinrich, Friedrich and Ludwig, all of whom would be involved in the family business. In 1885, Adam Opel expanded production to sell fully assembled bicycles in Germany.

When Adam Opel died in 1895, the company was making 2,000 bicycles a year and was leading Europe in sewing machine sales. With the encouragement of their mother, the Opel brothers decided to move into the fledgling automobile industry and would produce their first motorcars in 1899.

Opel Logos


A Little Bit of Opel History: 1837 ~ 1930's
(Text reprinted from December 1995 OMC Blitz newsletter)

"Back From Oblivion"
(Text reprinted from December 1995 OMC Blitz newsletter)

Opel Through the Years
A chronicle history through the decades!

Opel Safety Through the Years
A chronicle history of safety improvements through the decades!

Opels That GM Wouldn't Let Us Drive!
Images of the 1990's ~ 2005 Opels available throughout Europe.

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German Dynasties: The Opels

The Opels only built cars for thirty years, from 1899 to 1929. But in that short period the family managed to permanently transform Germany by building the first people's car. From a luxury object for millionaires, the Opels created an everyday commodity that gave mobility to the masses.

In "German Dynasties: The Opels", Opel family members describe how they revolutionized German society with their car factory. But they also reveal how their success changed the life of the family itself. When the family sold the factory in 1929, the Opels became one of the new richest families in Germany. The money attracted the glamour–a famous family member is Gunther Sachs whose mother was born in the Opel family. But the wealth generated more than good fortune–it also brought serious challenges for a few Opel members and almost caused their collapse and failure.

For the first time, family members Carlo von Opel, Gregor von Opel, Christoph von Opel, Countess Ivonne von Schönburg-Glauchau (née von Opel) and Rolf Sachs, Gunter Sachs's son, talk about the family's history and speak openly about the darker sides of success and wealth. Previously unreleased color film footage provided by the family offers an intimate keyhole perspective on the life of the Opels.

Click to see Documentary Info Here ...

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