In January 2022 the 50th Anniversary of the Opel Rekord D, a model that had a very difficult bar to overcome, since its predecessor produced more than 1.2 million units, an eighth of all the cars that the German firm had produced in its 70 years of car manufacturing. What the market “couldn’t afford to lose a car like the Rekord”, according to a press release from Opelof the time, the Opel Rekord D entered production in December 1971 as its successor.
Although the Rekord D followed the path of its predecessors, it is true that it also took its own direction. For example, unlike Record C, which was clearly influenced by the design language of its North American counterparts, the new Rekord D had European features, with clear and functional lines, smooth surfaces, large glazed surfaces and a low waist line.
The Rekord D, also known as Record II to avoid confusion with the “D” for diesel, it allowed a choice between three types of bodies: a classic two- or four-door saloon, a sports coupe-style and a three- or five-door station wagon. In addition, for commercial use, Opel offered the Rekord van version, a three-door station wagon with paneled rear side windows.
In the mechanical section, four-cylinder gasoline engines with an overhead camshaft (CIH) of the Rekord D, they represented a new development on the already proven units that had more than two million units manufactured at the time of their launch. The engine range was represented by a 1.7-liter engine with 66 horsepower, an S engine that developed 83 horsepower and a 1.9-liter engine that reached 97 horsepower.
On the other hand, highlight that the Rekord D was Opel’s first passenger car with a diesel engine, which from September 1972 became the production version of a world-record engine. The 95-horsepower turbocharged pre-chamber diesel engine had previously been seen in the prototype Opel GT Diesel, a vehicle with an aerodynamically optimized bodywork, which set 18 international and two world records on the German firm’s test circuit in Dudenhofen.
The new engine developed 60 horsepower, with an average consumption of 8.7 l / 100 km and a maximum speed of 135 km/h. It should be noted that the 2100 D record it was easily recognizable with the naked eye due to the bulging of its hood, due to the overhead camshaft and modified cylinder head that made up a set higher than that of gasoline engines.
In terms of security, the Rekord D raised the bar for passive safety including reinforcements on the sides and roof to offer greater protection in the event of side impacts and rollovers. Also, the programmed deformation zones protected passengers against frontal collisions.
Since March 1972 the range was expanded with the Commodore B, a model that stood between the Rekord and the Admiral and Diplomats, of superior category. The Commodore B shared bodywork with the Rekord, although its equipment was more luxurious and was only available with six-cylinder engines. The evolutions of the vehicle were fast: The 115 PS 2.5-liter Commodore S was followed by the 130 PS GS and later the 142 PS 2.8-liter twin carburettor GS. Finally, in September 1972, the Commodore GS/E as top of the range. The model’s 160-horsepower 2.8-liter electronically-injected engine delivered outstanding performance, reaching a top speed of 200 km/h in its coupe version and 195 km/h in its four-door saloon version.
So it comes as no surprise that the Commodore GS / E excelled in competition, both on circuits and in rallies. In 1973, a young Walter Röhrl competed for the first time with an Opel at the Monte Carlo Rally. However, the Commodore and Rekord achieved their greatest achievements away from the circuits and stages. In early September 1976, a Rekord D with a gold-painted saloon body rolled off the production line as the unit one million series, confirming that the market really needed the German model. To commemorate this milestone, a limited edition called “Millonaire” was launched with a 2.0-liter S engine with 100 hp and a “Saloon” finish.
In September 1977, the latest generation of the Rekord was introduced and by then a total of a total of 1,128,196 units of the Rekord D and 140,827 Commodore B units.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.