January 21, 1862 – Opel is founded

At the time of Opel’s founding on this day in 1862 by Adam Opel, the business manufactured sewing machines in a cow shed. The business remained there until 1888, when bicycles became a part of their production catalog. After Adam’s passing in 1895, his sons took over the business. They soon created a partnership with a locksmith named Friedrich Lutzmann who had been working on automobile designs. Their relationship led to the development of the first Opel vehicles in 1899. 

above: Opel Patent Motor Wagen circa 1899. Top: Opel GT (red) with a 1974 VW Karmann Ghia

The cars were a hardsell to local consumers, resulting in the partnership dissolving. In 1901 the brothers signed a licensing agreement with Automobiles Darracq France to produce cars with Opel bodies on a Darracq chassis fitted with a two cylinder engine. While fruitful, the brothers yearned to create their own automobile.

Love the Opel GT? Represent!

At the 1902 Hamburg Motor Show, Opel debuted its first vehicle of its own complete design. By 1907 the Opel Darracq agreement dissolved and Opel became an independent automaker.

General Motors purchased Opel in 1929. It remained a part of GM until 2017 when Groupe PSA purchased it. Group PSA operated numerous other automakers, including Citroen, Peugeot, DS and Vauxhall. On January 16, 2021, Groupe PSA completed a 50/50 merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, forming a new company called Stellantis, of which Opel is now a subsidiary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The best way to support This Day in Automotive History is to become a monthly subscriber on Facebook.

Subscriber benefits include:

  • Most importantly, you’re supporting great content about Automotive History
  • Early access to content on Facebook
  • Discounts on our store
  • Special live videos

If you learned something today, please buy me a beer!

No payment method connected. Contact seller.


This Day in Automotive History - the book!

This Day In Automotive History

By Brian Corey

This book tells fascinating tales, bringing individual days to life with short stories, photographs and illustrations.

This Day in Automotive History

This Day in Automotive History is a transportation history, car history and general automotive history website dedicated to providing informative and entertaining content.

We encourage you to share our page and connect with us on Facebook or sign up for our automotive history newsletter. If you’d like your car featured, reach out to us!


Connect with us on Facebook or sign up for our automotive history newsletter to keep in touch.

Love automotive history? Support this site!


Sign up for our automotive history newsletter to keep in touch.