A fairly long history dating back to 1930 can be found for the Opel Blitz vehicle. You usually don’t know a lot about trucks unless you’re in and around them. I confess to being largely uneducated, but they look fantastic at performances and events.
However, the Opel Blitz is a little unique. I started thinking about them after seeing the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. When Marion is in a basket and there is an explosion in the city while Indy is after her, it appears that they used an old Opel Blitz.
Since they are presumably just chassis with multiple bodies mounted on them, they frequently go unnoticed but are everywhere. These corpses might even be made of wood, which would be historically accurate. Due to the scarcity of metal after World War II, other materials were employed. Exactly that was done when Mercedes-Benz started making the 170V again.
However, what about the Blitz? So, in November 1930, Opel introduced the truck with a 55 horsepower, six-cylinder gasoline engine. However, it wasn’t the first. One of the few manufacturers with roots dating back to before 1900 is Opel. The “System Lutzmann” Patent Motor Car, which was the first car made in Rüsselsheim, Germany, was the model for the first delivery vans.
The first commercial vehicles arrived in 1907. A three-quarter-ton vehicle having pneumatic tires, a prop shaft, and either two or four cylinder engines.
The military designated standard vehicles up to four tonnes during World War One. They were still available until the early 1920s. A brand-new line of commercial vehicles with a one-to-two-ton payload was introduced in 1923.
Going back to 1931, the new variety was called express delivery vehicles. Even though times were tough economically, Opel was still able to offer sophisticated, modern vehicles.
There was a name-the-new-truck contest in the marketing materials that went along with the announcement of the vehicle. It was precise. The phrase must be brief and universally pronounced. Oh, and there can be just five letters in it.
Opel provided a 4/20 hp limousine as the top prize in order to get a significant reaction. From second through fifth place, four Opel Motoclub motorcycles were up for grabs. A total of 1.5 million submissions had been submitted before the contest’s deadline of October 6th, 1930. The winner was revealed by Sales Manager Andersen on November 24, 1930, in Frankfurt, during the Opel Dealer Conference. Although the name Blitz had been used previously on a variety of Opel bicycles dating back to 1889, it was chosen because it felt appropriate. a moniker that “equally embodies the source, force, and performance of our new product.”
Performance played a big role in how the new Blitz was introduced. For the time, it offered a respectable variety of options. Two simple 1.5 to 2 tonne trucks with three different wheelbases and two engines would be the most basic. Both the 3.6 liter six-cylinder and the 2.6 liter four-cylinder engines that were promised for the rapid cargo truck were delivered. The Blitz 6 was the name of the Marquette six-engined variant.
Over the ensuing years, the range underwent continuous improvement. This worked out well. Opel had to construct a new commercial vehicle facility five years after the debut in order to meet demand.
Growth in the East
The company needed to grow with the manufacturing facility at Rüsselsheim, the home of Opel. Opel chose to travel to Brandenburg a der Havel instead of attempting to integrate more where they are. The new factory’s foundation was officially laid on April 7, 1935. This was to be a cutting-edge, 850,000-square-meter factory created exclusively for the production of vehicles. In addition to being a number of other things, it was also Opel’s first assembly line-specific plant.
In Brandenburg, the 25,000th Blitz truck left the assembly line in July 1937. In the same year, Opel refreshed its lineup of passenger car engines. Then, the Opel Admiral’s more contemporary 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine was installed in the three-ton truck. The 75-horsepower engine included a gear-driven camshaft and overhead valves. The top speed, which was now up to 90 km/h, was greater than that of many passenger vehicles.
The Blitz’s engine was also used by the Opel Olympia. The two-ton truck, capable of 80 km/h, had a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, OHV engine with 37 horsepower.
The Blitz’s production was fully halted in 1945, just ten years after the opening of the new factory. The building was badly damaged, and as war reparations, the Soviet Union got all of the industrial buildings and equipment that were still standing.
The Kadette passenger car’s lines experienced a similar fate. The Moskvich was later produced in Moscow in place of the Kadette. Facilities from the Blitz were never rebuilt.
Returning to West Germany’s Rüsselsheim
The Rüsselsheim plant used a truck to restart operations. A Blitz was the first Opel built following World War II. A ceremony to mark the start of production was held on Monday, July 15, 1946. A minor fanfare was made as a 1.5 tonne, 2.5 liter, six-cylinder quick transport truck accelerated off the line. General Keyes, the commander of the Third US Army, cut a yellow ribbon to commemorate the event.
A businessman from Wiesbaden was the first purchaser, paying 6,600 marks for his new truck. It wasn’t the same as the one that was accessible before the war. The gross weight of the platform truck rose by 200 kilograms to 3,400 kg. 1,725 kg were the current payload. Now with 55 horsepower, the Kapitän-based six.
There were 839 Blitz quick transport vehicles constructed by the end of 1946. Total manufacturing reached 37,117 units by the time it was eventually stopped in 1951.
Since August 1944, the 3 tonne truck has been manufactured by Daimler-Benz under a license. At the Mannheim factory, the L 701 as it was known was created. The initial standard cab was quite simple and basic, but by 1948, it had changed back to the original design. Opel, which produced the original cab in Rüsselsheim, provided it.
When the replacement to the L 701 was introduced in 1947, Opel took over production. All of the remaining unsold vehicles and components were also taken. The final 467 units of the now-famous truck were built at Rüsselsheim between then and 1954, with the original name and insignia placed back on the front.
Opel Blitz: The Miracle of the German Economy
The 1.5 tonne truck was replaced by the new 1.75 tonne vehicle, which was well-liked throughout Europe. American style patterns from the 1950s had an influence on the new broader grill and deep-shaped fenders. The truck stood out from the crowd thanks to its 2.5 litre six-cylinder limousine engine. The 1955 model carried a payload of two tonnes, which was greater than its weight when combined with an enhanced load capacity.
The vehicle was converted by a number of specialized body builders into buses, moving vans, delivery trucks, and even fire engines. The two platform lengths of 3,300 to 3,750mm offered a variety of options.
The Rundschnautzer, or roundnose, was manufactured in about 20,000 pieces annually. By the time the model was replaced in 1960, 89,767 cars had already been made.
The truck was given a shorter, downward-sloping bonnet in the 1960s, along with a new 2.6-liter, six-cylinder engine. The new panel van was practical and considered to be fairly stylish. Coachbuilder Voll made the cabin and load structure because the Rüsselsheim plant was at full capacity.
At the 1965 IAA show, Opel debuted a completely revamped Blitz. The front had more horizontal lines, which reflected the era’s evolving automotive aesthetic trends. The lineup now includes a brand-new four-cylinder engine. It has a 1.9-liter gasoline engine with a head camshaft that is chain-driven. The Opel Rekord B was the first vehicle to use this next generation engine in 1965, which had 70 hp.
The 2.1 and 2.4 tonne models received a new straight-six engine in 1966, allowing the truck to reach a top speed of 110 km/h. This truck was one of the most well-liked in Germany at the end of the 1960s. Opel accounts for roughly half of all gasoline trucks up to three tonnes gross vehicle weight.
Diesel engines were first made available in 1969, which was another advancement. Opel produced 47,368 gasoline and 7,374 diesel trucks between 1965 and 1975.
A gasoline vehicle or van wasn’t long ago unthinkable, but more recently, people are starting to reconsider.
Germany’s Blitz production ceased on January 10, 1975. In Brandenburg and Rüsselsheim, 417,211 units had been constructed. After a lengthy existence, the Blitz truck was removed from the catalog. The name, however, remained. In 1973, the Opel Bedford Blitz, a brand-new small commercial vehicle, was released. It was introduced in 1969 to replace the deteriorating CA here in England and was simply known as the Bedford CF.
In the 1970s, Opel grew in all areas, while concentrating mostly on passenger cars. The UK’s Luton factory now houses all commercial manufacturing.
The new range’s engines come from Opel Diesel and Vauxhall. These unified construction vehicles resembled cars far more when it came to building. front suspension with McPherson struts and substantially more car-like handling. It served as the model for numerous camper adaptations and was ubiquitous in Europe. The new Blitz claimed a 20% market share. Up to 10.2 tonnes of gross weight in heavy Bedford trucks bearing the Blitz moniker were also available.
From 1980 through 1987, Opel’s commercial lineup was centered around this redesigned Bedford Blitz and a new 2.3-liter engine.
Finally, after 57 years, the Blitz name was dropped.
Source : Wikipedia | Many thanks to Opel for all the images.