Reckless business or just clever
In 1928, Opel was at that time the largest German vehicle manufacturer and the "Opel Regent" was presented as a luxury car in a class of its own. Just 25 cars were made and sold, bought back and destroyed - because General Motors wanted to. Incredible!!
Wilhelm von Opel presented the luxury car at the Berlin motor show in 1928, but without the bodywork, only the chassis. The price was 14,000 Reichsmarks plus another five to six thousand to pay for the body and interior. This made the "Regent" about ten times more expensive than the Opel "Laubfrosch." A coupé version of the "Regent" in Baden-Baden won a 'beauty competition' in 1928. It is no surprise that the original colours, cobalt blue and beige, were considered very unusual and extravagant at that the time.
The "Opel Regent" had a six-liter engine that provided 110 horsepower and accelerated more than two tons of vehicle to 100 km/h. For extra power a sixth "overdrive" was offered, which enabled 130 km/h to be achieved. The engine itself was a sensation, as it was the only eight-cylinder ever developed by Opel. The coachwork probably came from the Kruck-Werke GmbH (1920 - 1929) from Frankfurt.
In 1929, Wilhelm and Friedrich Opel sold 80% of their company to the American automobile manufacturer General Motors. The purchase price was $33.352 million, more than half a billion euros today.
As agreed in the purchase agreement, General Motors demanded - in aunique piece of automotive history - to buy back all the "Opel Regents" sold and scrap them immediately. The existing tools, parts, brochures and plans also had to be destroyed. GM feared the competition for their upper class Cadillacs and Buicks, which were clearly more expensive.
Just imagine: what if an Opel Regent had survived …?