Tuesday, March 31, 2015

5k: Haifischmaul-Kuelhergrill: 1955 Opel Olympia Rekord CarAVan

The Opel Olympia Rekord was a ponton fender styled family sedan build in Rüsselsheim by GM's German subsidiary Opel.  The little car confused the West German public because it was given annual cosmetic update (similar to a 50s Chevy) while domestic competition (Volkswagen, etc) ran the same model for several years.  Regardless, over a half a million Olympias were built from 1953 to 1957 and you can occasionally find one of this side of the Atlantic.  Find this 1955 Opel Olympia Rekord CarAVan wagon offered here on eBay currently bidding for $5,300 reserve-not-met with 4 days to go, located in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

The Olympia CarAVan  offers an incredibly cute 50s package with a front grill that was said to resemble a shark's mouth (Haifischmaul-Kuelhergrill) and a very "Detroit" looking body.  The seller describes this example as restored and well-maintained -- which is never a bad thing -- and this car was imported by its original overseas stationed Army officer owner.

Power comes from a 1.5 liter inline-4 that was rated at 40 horsepower with stock 6.5:1 compression ratio and a single downdraft carburetor.  With the standard 3-on-the-tree gearbox, you could reach 60mph in about 35 seconds and the 1/4 mile time is unknown because the guy who was supposed to bring the hourglass left it at home.

See a cuter tribute to the American 50s that was built in Europe? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Not gonna drop six grand on one, but it's cute and probably a really nice home for, say, a Saab 2.3 turbo motor.

    1. Given that its set up for a column shift, doesn't weigh much and started with 40hp, I'm thinking either a Hiyabusa with its easy to adapt sequential shift with a very quiet muffler on it. Keep the skinny little tires and just be more fun to drive with some additional oomph.

  2. I have some limited experience with a 55 Olympia Rekord. If I'm remembering correctly, the 55 had a higher compression that boosted hp all the way up to 45. I've never seen the "CarAVan" spelling when written, I always thought it was just "Caravan". That might just be a bit of whimsy on the seller's part. These are excellent cars, for what they are and the engines are literally bomb proof. Interesting license plate.

    1. WTH? There's a dancing robot on my screen. That new or am I seeing things again?

    2. I included the CarAvan spelling because of what I saw on the badge....and it does add some funk factor.

    3. Funk is good!



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