Press releases

Opel History 1920-1929

1920 The first works council is established at Opel.
1921 Opel builds an eight-cylinder engine, which proves itself in a number of races – notably in the Eifel race of 1922. Fritz von Opel wins the first car race on the AVUS track in Berlin, in the “eight taxable horsepower” class of the period.
Fritz von Opel wins the first car race on the Berliner AVUS, in an eight taxable horsepower race car.      
1924 Investing one million gold marks, Opel completely modernizes its automobile production. The Rüsselsheim plant is the first German manufacturer to introduce the high-volume production methods of the future, including assembly-line processes.
The first car to roll out of the updated plant: the legendary 4/12 hp model, best known as the “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), in reference to its green body paint and protruding headlamps. Opel dealerships introduce a revolutionary new service: standardized maintenance at fixed prices.
Assembly-line production of the 4/16 hp Opel, 1926. A procession comprising the daily production quota of 125 “Tree Frogs” on the Opel Racetrack, 1924. The 4/12 hp Opel “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), 1924 The 4/12 hp Opel “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), 1924
Advertisement for Opel customer service, 1929.      
1926 Thanks to state-of-the-art production methods and strong demand, the price for the “Tree Frog” sinks from its original 4,500 marks to 2,980 marks, eventually dropping as low as 1,990 marks. This makes automobiles affordable for even broader sections of the public.
The Rüsselsheim racing team scores a total of 75 victories in various motor sport classes.
Assembly-line production of an Opel car in 1926. Southern German race tour, including the 24-hour Taunus race, June 18–28, 1926. Driver: Senior Engineer Bergmann; Navigator: E. Zoogmann. Advertisement for the Opel model range, circa 1927. Motorcycle racing on the Opel Racetrack, 1926.
1928 With a market share of 37.5 percent, Opel is by far the largest German carmaker. In preparation for an alliance with General Motors, the company is converted into a listed stock corporation.
A new flagship model is christened: the Regent Limousine, powered by a 24/110 hp, eight-cylinder engine.
Motorcycle technology reaches a high point, with the introduction of the Motoclub. The avant-garde motorcycle features a pressed-steel frame, a modern teardrop-shaped fuel tank and an air-cushioned saddle.
The RAK rocket-propelled vehicle program begins: RAK 1 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just eight seconds on the Opel Racetrack. One month later, Fritz von Opel reaches a top speed of 238 km/h in the RAK 2 on the AVUS track in Berlin, to become a popular hero. On a closed stretch of railway tracks near Burgwedel, the rocket sled RAK 3 reaches 254 km/h, setting a new world record for speed on rails.
Advertisement from 1926. The Opel Regent Luxus Limousine, featuring an eight-cylinder, in-line engine, 1928. With his Opel Regent eight-cylinder Coupe, Fritz von Opel wins first prize in the Baden-Baden beauty competition, 1928. The Regent’s eight-cylinder engine
Opel Motoclub with 500 cc displacement on the Opel Racetrack, 1928. Opel Motoclub Super Sport with 500 cc displacement, 1928. Kurt C. Volkhart at the wheel of the first rocket car, Opel RAK 1, 1928. Fritz von Opel in RAK 2 on the AVUS track in Berlin, May 23, 1928.
On June 23, 1928, the rocket-propelled rail vehicle RAK 3 is test- driven near Burgwedel. Following the record-setting launch of June 23, 1928, the rocket-propelled rail vehicle RAK 3 is tested again near Burgwedel. After the record run on June 23, 1928  
1929 General Motors acquires 80 percent of shares in the company Adam Opel AG for just under 26 million dollars, becoming majority stockholder. Opel is the first German manufacturer to establish an insurance company. Another first: the “Opel Bank” finances car purchases and arranges payment in installments.
During the same year, Fritz von Opel makes the world’s first manned rocket flight, in his RAK 1 Friedrich rocket aircraft at the former Frankfurt Airport, the Rebstock grounds.
The world’s first rocket flight, on September 30, 1929. Pilot: Fritz von Opel. Replica from 1999 of the rocket-propelled aircraft RAK 1, constructed by Julius Hatry in 1929.