Within and Beyond

Interesting this: Wikipedia does not note the existence of the three-door estate. It does list a 2-d00r saloon, a 4 door saloon, a coupe and a five door wagon plus the enigmatic two-door van.

Mystery: Opel Rekord D

And a picture search reveals very little like this but does show the 5-door estate, and a two-door saloon in some numbers. Is this a Danish-market special? No, but it was not very widespread.

Bad lighting

A pair of photos of a 1973 1900 can be found here.

Slanted pavement

This is another example of Opel’s habit of offering a lot of bodystyles compared to their peers.

Great plan shape

Ford didn’t offer a 3-door Granada but did have a van based on the Sierra.

There was an Opel Kadett three-door estate and a Ford Escort 3-door estate. I can’t think of very many other likely cars in this format. Evidently, such demand as there was for this type of car was taken up by hatchbacks and five-door estates. The class is now extinct.

On the ashtray front we find a pretty decent one right where it should be, in front of the gear lever. It seems to be of the flip-up lid type. You can just make out the small flange on the leading edge. In the back a rather fancy chrome-plated lower-hinged ashtray is located on the side trim.

In the push for SUVs and CUVs, we have lost many interesting formats. I can certainly see this concept being sold as a kind of lifestyle shooting brake, something a little lower to the ground with all the useful characteristics of a hatch and a more tractable centre of gravity.

I will leave you with this gem, a 1973 Opel Rekord 1900 coupe.

1973 Opel Rekord 1900 coupe: source

Author: richard herriott

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

10 thoughts on “Within and Beyond”

  1. Ford also made the P100, a flat bed truck variant of the Sierra. Peugeot/Opel/Vauxhall don’t even make a three-door variant of the current Astra do they? Is there going to be a coupe?

    1. There’s no sign of an Astra 3-door. The last one looked terrific and still demand remained slack. Ford don’t do a 3-door Focus. The 5-door hatch is where it’s at, as we know. I guess in ye olde days the manufacturers used saloons as the start point. Now it’s five-door formats.

    2. Is there going to be Opel? AN reported PSA’s wish to cost cut. The R&D centre is in Ruesselsheim will close, I am sure. On past form PSA will “colonise” Opel and morale will collapse.

  2. As much as I embrace variety and applaud car makers who offer it, I can see why this particular format was “not very widespread” and is now extinct, and I don’t mourn it. It just makes too little sense. An estate implies practicality and well-being for passengers and their luggage, but the former are somewhat excluded in this set-up. If it’s for a purely commercial variant, it could make sense, but why the rear seats then? For someone who has grown up with French cars (or also Italian ones) it’s always a riddle how German manufacturers (for it was mainly them) could shift a lot of 3-door estates throughout the 50s well into the 80s.
    And no, they weren’t shooting brakes. This is something sporty and elegant, rather a two-seater with an uninterrupted, long side glass directly behind the doors. That’s a completely different story.

  3. On my travels in Nordfriesland and Syddanmark last month, I was reminded of the Danish phenomenon of tax-beating pseudo vans. Nowadays they’re mostly small MPVs and SUVs without back seats, and conspicuous payload stickers. Could the Rekord be part of this fiscal curiousity?

    In the dog-days of Opel’s independent presence in the UK from ’80-’82 the Rekord E was available as a three door panel van. It was sui generis in the market – the last remotely comparable offerings were the Austin A60 van and the Commer Express. Despite the availability of a diesel engine, it wasn’t a great success. I’ve just checked, and find that there was a three door ‘Caravan’ version of the Rekord E, but it never found its way to Britain. Could it have owed its existence to fiscal determinism?

    Opel did indeed have a bizarre propensity for bodystyle proliferation. Did anything outdo the Kadett B?

    Fastback and three volume sedans, gilled and coke-bottle coupes. The wagons aren’t even shown; three and five door, plus a panel van. Oddly the Kadett C missed out on the five door wagon, but the situation was remedied in the following series.

  4. The 3-door station wagon is mainly a German/North European phenomena, as there’s always been a small but curious demand for them in Germany. I have no idea why, but perhaps someone in the know of Teutonic car culture could answer? But there’s always been a small trickle of them in German market countries like Denmark and Sweden.

    In the 50’s and 60’s, Sweden was a market for both of Fords European operations, Ford UK and Ford Germany. From the early 70’s there was less internal competition and Sweden became a Ford Germany market only, even if both operations had been united at that them. We never got any UK specific cars after that time, only the German specific line up.

    1. I remember Cortinas being fairly common in Switzerland, so it was probably a similar situation here.

    2. Isn’t the three door station wagon nothing but a forerunner to the three-door hatch? Or it was a less expensive estate for people who didn’t carry passengers. It’s not less useful than a three-door hatch so I can’t see why its existence is such a puzzle. The real puzzle is its non-existence in a market that until recently had so many niches, some of them much less practical. The typical two-door estate owner probably had another car such as a smallish saloon, I expect. Maybe they were for rural customers who actually had an estate/land and things to lug around more than people.
      I should ask Opel’s archive while it still exists.

    3. I think it was the same situation as in th US with their two door station wagon. It was just a curious time in history when it was a sensible choice, My notion is that this wasn’t a poverty spec choice, there was an active choice from middle class people buying a full size two door station wagon as a practical family vehicle. Opel is the European branch of GM, and the Rekord belonged to the largest size of European family cars, it was a non premium full size car in Europe.


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