Design Rationalism: 1986 Opel Omega

Here’s the German middle market take on design rationalism. 

1988 Opel Omega: the base model with no rear armrest or headrestraints. Probably the 2.0 litre four cylinder. These are best understood as shapes inspired by industrial product design and not car design.
1988 Opel Omega: the base model with no rear armrest or head-restraints. Probably the 2.0 litre four-cylinder. These are best understood as shapes inspired by industrial product design and not car design.

The main intention with this seems to have been to spell out its aerodynamic credentials. Hence the flush glazing, door handles and partly covered rear wheel arch. Commentators here note that it was not different enough from cheaper Opels such as the Astra. This is partly an effect of the shallow pressing and lack of relief but if you look closely you’ll notice the door frames are nicely finished in anodised metal.

Opel would also have said that the Omega replaced the middle-market Rekord which was a Spartan car too; the Senator B handled the higher end of the price spectrum and looked more distinguished. I would agree, the rear lamps are simply cheap looking.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “Design Rationalism: 1986 Opel Omega”

  1. ‘I would agree, the rear lamps are simple cheap looking.’

    Me talk pretty one day? *

    (*If you haven’t read the book I recommend it for a quick laugh)

  2. We make the point in various articles on this site that ‘car design’ is not the same as ‘product design’. But this does remind us that it wasn’t always so. This car only stood out at the time for being decent looking, in a very competent and honest sort of way, and there were various other cars designed in a similar vein.

    Since then, car design has almost completely abandoned such rationality. It would probably please many car designers to hear me compare most of their work as being closer to sculpture. Except that ‘art’ and ‘sculture’ are not terms of approval on their own and I must elaborate that I mean particularly bad sculpture

  3. Most of the Opel Rekords and – in my eyes – tje last Opel Vectra and the Insignia have more or less a touch of american design. The Senator B has that touch too, as well as the second Omega. This Omega has not any touch of special design components.
    They should have made a Estate version of the Senator – i am sure he would have found a lot of more buyers than the Commodore Voyage a few years ago.

  4. I always admired the flush glazing of this era of Vauxhalls / Opels; much preferable to the horrors grown in glasshouses these days. I suspect the thickness of the pillars in modern cars makes flush glazing difficult to implement, although like most things it is more likely a matter of cost.

  5. The American look had something to do with Wayne Cherry’s tenure at Opel. The style migrated *back* to the US with Cherry who turned out to be less succesful as GM’s chief stylist from 1992 to 2004.

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