The Opel division of General Motors has made considerable inroads into the British market since it started selling here just over four years ago. The Ascona and the Manta have both been well received in Britain and now Vauxhall’s German stablemate has announced a complete update on its bread and butter Rekord model. This model has been tremendously successful in Germany since its introduction in 1966 and 1,420,000 Rekords have been built. The new Rekord range was announced in mid-January but right-hand-drive versions will not be available until May although Motor Sport recently joined a small party who visited the extensive Opel proving grounds near Frankfurt to get the feel of the new Rekord.
Externally the Opel styling department have done an excellent job giving the car more modern lines and while the exterior is lower and more compact than the previous model it has increased interior space and more glass area. Both saloon and coupé versions are offered.
The suspension is fairly conventional and follows the design pattern of the original Rekord but this has been modified considerably to give remarkably good handling. Particular attention has been paid to locating the rear axle utilising a four-link system, upright shock-absorbers and progressive springs also playing a good part in giving the car above-average traction. The front suspension incorporates anti-dive characteristics and the whole suspension system has been designed for use with radial ply tyres. Braking has been enhanced by a pressure sensitive proportioning valve in the rear brake circuit.
In Britain the car will only be offered with the 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine although 1.7-litre units are also available in Germany. This is basically the same, and ultra reliable, engine as before but the 1.9-litre now has hydraulic tappets as already used on Opel six-cylinder engines. The engine gives 107 b.h.p. and this gives the saloon a top speed of around 100 m.p.h. while the coupé version is a little faster. There is sprint version which is really a customising pack including rev. counter, other additional instruments, different steering wheel, wider wheels and some other items and all models are offered in either manual or automatic form. We were particularly impressed by the automatic transmission which is built in GM’s factory in Strasbourg.
Motor Sport is always reluctant to pass full comment on cars until they have been tried over a considerable period of testing. However first impressions of the new Rekord were undeniably favourable. Obviously in its revised guise the Rekord is going to continue to sell well in Germany where GM is increasingly coming under the pressure of Ford and also elsewhere on the Continent where this company has such an excellent reputation for quality and reliability. In Britain the Rekord can also be expected to find a ready market although no prices have yet been announced. As a five-seater family saloon the Opel Rekord II has considerable appeal and its performance and handling will not disappoint the more sporting motorists.—A.R.M.