January 21, 1862 – Opel is founded

Auto manufacturer Opel got its start producing sewing machines in a cowshed in Russelsheim, Hessen, Germany. Founded on this day in 1862 by Adam Opel, the business finally moved from the cowshed in 1888 after beginning to produce bicycles. Adam’s sons took over the business following their father’s 1895 death. They created a partnership with a locksmith named Friedrich Lutzmann who had been working on automobile designs. The first Opel autos were produced in 1899, without much success, resulting in the partnership dissolving. In 1901 the brothers then signed a licensing agreement with Automobiles Darracq France and produced cars with Opel bodies and Darracq chassis that were powered by a two cylinder engine. At the 1902 Hamburg Motor Show, Opel debuted its first vehicle of its own complete design. The cars would go into production in 1906 and Opel Darracq was discontinued the following year. Opel Patent Motor Wagen circa 1899.1970 Opel GT (red) with a VW Karmann Ghia. Bonus, these are the author’s cars.

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