- Rare and attractive coachwork
- 32 hp, 1.8-liter side-valve inline-six
- Two-tone burgundy and black livery
- Range-topping Regent trim includes rear trunk
- Well-documented and carefully maintained restoration
As General Motors grew rapidly through the 1910s and 1920s, it sought to expand its reach outside of the American market. In 1928, GM purchased a controlling stake in the German firm Adam Opel AG. By 1931, they had full ownership of the company, and within a few short years, Opel was thriving as Europe’s largest and most successful automaker.
The Opel 18 was the first new model introduced following GM’s initial investment. The handsome little car bore more than a passing resemblance to a scaled-down Chevrolet—not surprising, considering the bulk of the design work was done in Detroit. Power came from a 1,790-cubic-centimeter side-valve inline six-cylinder, with a single Solex carburetor and a three-speed gearbox (updated to a four-speed later in production). Despite its modest stated output of 32 horsepower, the lightweight model 18 had sprightly performance and a top speed of 53 miles per hour.
The updated Model 18C arrived for the 1932 model year, with various improvements to the coachwork and minor refinements to the mechanical spec. Top-of-the-range Regent models featured revised styling that incorporated a useful trunk fitted behind the close-coupled body, plus additional upscale trimmings. One of the best-looking models of the series was the 18C Regent Cabriolet, as offered here.
This 1932 Opel comes from long-term ownership in an extensive and diverse collection of rare German vehicles. It boasts a high-quality, well-documented restoration, and is presented in a lovely two-tone burgundy and black livery. This older nut-and-bolt restoration is in excellent order all around, with very attractive paintwork, fit, and detailing; restoration photos also show that the engine was completely rebuilt. Some signs of aging are noted, which are consistent with a car that was driven as intended by the enthusiastic previous owner.
Fittings include Bosch lamps, a radiator stone guard, single side-mount spare, disc wheels, upholstered factory trunk, and a moto-meter—all providing this Opel with a decidedly upscale appearance. The cozy four-place cockpit features burgundy leather-trimmed seats and door panels against black carpeting to complement the exterior color scheme. The leather upholstery is in excellent condition front and rear, displaying some slight creasing on the driver’s seat, but remaining wonderfully inviting. The black-painted dash houses period-correct VDO instruments, original style switchgear for the essential functions, and a charming frosted cut-crystal interior light. The convertible top is upholstered in black German canvas and is highlighted by chrome-plated landau irons. With its broad blind quarters and recessed top well, the styling conjures Convertible Victoria style coachwork, further enhancing the classic appeal.
Rarely seen on our shores, this marvelous Opel is an immensely charming automobile that would be a welcome addition to any collection. It is sure to delight its next keeper with many miles of open-air motoring.