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Crusty Cool Caravan: 1958 Opel Olympia Caravan

033016 Barn Finds- 1958 Opel Olympia Caravan - 1

Our own Josh wrote about a much nicer version of the Opel Rekord in Barn Finds back in September of 2015 here, but, if a person really had a hankerin’ for a project, I found another one. This is a 1958 Opel Olympia Caravan and it’s on craigslist in Casa Grande, Arizona for an asking price of $2,500. I’m taking a wild guess that there’s some negotiating room on that price. Although, they aren’t sounding super accommodating here: “I will not ship this vehicle, purchase will be made face to face in cash.”

033016 Barn Finds- 1958 Opel Olympia Caravan - 2

The seller says that this car is complete and has very little rust, other than the obvious surface rust. Now-a-days, folks just spray clear over that and add another couple of grand onto the price in the name of, dare I say it? (patina!) The Rekord P1 was made from 1957-1960 and had a more “modern” body than the previous generation and also a wraparound windshield.

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You will need to blast every square inch of this thing inside and out if you’re going to go the restoration route. It’s obviously been sitting for quite a while. It sure has cues of 1950s American cars.

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No problems here, let’s move on.. (insert sound of screeching brakes here)  Yes, there are mice and other rodents in Arizona, but that isn’t a rat’s nest on the seat, is it? I’d almost rather see a rat’s nest than a big pile of wires. Who knows what those are for, hopefully they’re not the wiring on this particular car. We all know that the steering wheel can be restored as can everything else here, if you have both the willpower and the budget. This is a 3-speed manual car, there was no automatic transmission available.

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Oddly enough, this is a 1,488cc engine, the same size as Honda used in the 1970s; those copycats! Again, some cleaning and maybe you can actually get this one started and moving under its own power. This car would have had 50 hp and 78 ft-lbs of torque. Not blistering performance by any means for a 2,200 pound car, with another 2,200 pounds of dust and wires and rodents inside. What do you think, can this super cool two-door Opel wagon be saved?


  1. Francisco


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  2. Howard A Member

    I love it. And great pics, it can be done. I’ve always wanted a “mini” station wagon like this. I had later model Kadetts, that were great, yet horribly under-powered motors. I’d re-purpose this with a modern drive-train to be determined at a later date, but, as is, it’s pretty useless. Be a great car to start with, as these were pretty rare in “Buy American USA” where I came from. Opels didn’t really become popular until the Kadett and later Manta’s ( and 1900’s) so we didn’t see a lot of these. Cool find.

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  3. Rick

    Back in the early 60s when I was alittle kid, there was a Buick dealer in Kirkland (the town I grew up in, about 12 mi from Seattle) anyhow Hansen Buick carried Opel so there were quite a few of these around town then, even one of our neighbors had one similar to today’s BF feature car. But by the time Kadetts appeared in the late 60s most of these late 50s Opels were off the road already. Back in those days you were lucky if a car lasted more than 10 years, lots of cars like this one would have gone to the junkyard if the had a bad tranny or engine or front end or whatever even if the rest was super clean. I started hanging out in junkyards when I got my first car in 1971, and he only cars that it seemed anyone saved from the crusher were the 55-57 Chevys, and even then only the 2 drs, saw lots of pristine 4 drs and wagons get scrapped (usually somebody bought the front end sheetmetal first) anyhow point I’m trying to make is these old Opels are non-existent, they’re all long gone and recycled into Toyotas or whatever. I didnt really pay much attention to these back then, but its amazing how much resemblance there is to a ’56 Nomad, would be an awesome street rod if one chose not to restore it to orig.

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  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Spank Me for being a joy kill but…in all reality, how could this vehicle be restored, or even brought back as a resto-mod without a substantial checkbook,time and resources? When was the last time anyone of Us has seen one of these for sale in the U.S., let alone have any part supplier access ? I guess if someone were willing to hack in a bunch mods via a plasma cutter,welder, and plain old ‘Merican Ingenuity, I imagine that “something” could come of it, but aside that….it’s better left to those on the other side of the pond where they were conceived. Looks like a Cuba candidate….now they would make it work !

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  5. Andrew

    I grew up with these cars in Europe and were seen as a small American car for the better off people. It’s too bad this advert can’t be seen in Europe, unless someone searches for it, but this thing should go back to Germany where it will feels more at home. There has to be a German out there, wanting to restore it to former glory. Fond memories of the 1960’s.

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  6. Andrew

    I just noticed now, but I wonder why the front blinkers have a delete white cover where an amber or clear cover should have been, but they mounted lights underneath it. I can’t see the point here. The factory lights looked a lot better and you could see them blinking from the side as well.

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  7. Francisco

    If I were to restore an Opel. It would be an Opel GT, the mini vette. Now that was a beauty.

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  8. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    Had one of these several years ago, that was converted to look like a pickup…

    Interesting car, you can read it about it here on our web site ( about 3/4 way down the page )

    Got GREAT MILEAGE…but would not go uphill…


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  9. MikeH

    I once had a ’53 Rekord [bought it and a ’59 for $25] with the same 1500cc engine and a THREE speed. There was a horrible hole in the gearing–third was too high and second was too low. I also had a ’59 and a ’60 with four speeds, same engines. They were great cars. What a difference an extra gear makes.

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