Daily Deliveries Have a 120-Year Tradition at Opel

Daily Deliveries Have a 120-Year Tradition at Opel

29.04.2020: Automotive production since 1899: „System Lutzmann“-based “motor freight car” “Wirtschaftswunder”: Opel fast-delivery vehicles power the German economic miracle Powerful fleet: Opel Combo, Vivaro and Movano make sure shelves are stocked

    Automotive production since 1899: „System Lutzmann“-based “motor freight car”

    “Wirtschaftswunder”: Opel fast-delivery vehicles power the German economic miracle

    Powerful fleet: Opel Combo, Vivaro and Movano make sure shelves are stocked


Supermarkets, grocers, chemists and private homes receive deliveries every day. Artisans make visits to repair and install machines. Opel’s light commercial vehicles are right with them, carrying people, spares or urgently needed goods. The Opel Combo, Opel Vivaro and Opel Movano belong to a long, successful tradition of Opel light commercial vehicles.

Opel’s fast-delivery vehicles in the German “economic miracle”, the raised-roof vans of the 1980s and today’s successful transporters – up to the all-electric Opel Vivaro-e – remain legendary to this day. Opel’s reputation as professional partner for transportation and delivery companies began 121 years ago in Rüsselsheim with the “Patentwagen”.

Part 1: The Pioneering Years: the “Koloss” (giant) from Rüsselsheim

Motor cargo vehicles, company cars, delivery vans – new terms for a new era. With the advent of the automobile at the end of the 19th century, the focus of development was also on the new vehicles’ load capacity and the durability of their engines. All of a sudden, the well-being and muscle power of horses were no longer required for transport. Instead of hay from the feed trade, the automobile pioneers bought petrol in the pharmacy.

After all, the invention of the petrol station was still a long way off when the Opel brothers built the first motor vehicles in Rüsselsheim in 1899. Straight away in its premiere year, the “Opel Patent MotorwagenSystem Lutzmann” formed the basis for “a giant of a motor freight car built by the local company Adam Opel for a large wine business“.

This quote from the local Main-Spitze newspaper on July 2, 1899 is proof of the first Opel delivery van. What was then a “giant” would be a very light commercial vehicle today – compared to the current 40-tonne giants. The first photo of an Opel LCV thus dates from 1901 and shows the Lutzmann as a kind of luggage cart with closed body – 5 hp strong and around 20 km/h fast!

Modern times: carriages become trucks

The cargo pioneers were quickly followed by practical delivery vans: with the “System Darracq” (from 1902), Opel already showed the layout of the front engine, gearbox, propeller shaft and rear-wheel drive that is still used today. On this basis, closed delivery and eye-catching advertising vans were produced until the 1920s – mostly as single units to customer specifications. In 1924, Opel was the first German manufacturer to start assembly line production – modern times that were characterised by the 4 hp models from Rüsselsheim.

Between May 1924 and June 1931, a total of 119,484 units of the legendary “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog) were produced. Perhaps the first truly light commercial vehicle according to modern concepts was then the Opel “Dienstwagen” (company car) in 1931.


The panel van with cargo capacity of 500 kilogrammes became a huge success in its class with a market share of 80 per cent. Opel built 22,000 units of the 23 hp “Dienstwagen”. Another success was the Opel Blitz “Eintonner” from 1934 – either as a platform or panel van. The small Blitz represented the entry-level model variant of Opel’s famous truck.

Part 2: the Opel “Schnelllieferwagen” (Express Delivery Van) era

Germany’s “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle) is the era of the Opel “Schnelllieferwagen” (fast-delivery vehicle). The golden rule for business people is to supply customers as quickly as possible. This is exactly what was made possible by the Opel Olympia as early as 1950 and the Olympia Rekord “Schnelllieferwagen” from 1953. Thanks to their load capacity, reliability and comfortable passenger cabins, the express delivery vans – together with the Opel Blitz of the 1950s – became automotive “hits“ during the years of the economic miracle.

At the same time, the Olympia Rekord established the foundation for the success story of Opel's variable caravan models (Car and Van). For the 1950s, the modern and very elegant lines of the all-steel bodywork were representative, functional and effective advertising all at the same time. The large load capacity was also impressive, including a payload of up to 515 kilogrammes.

In the early 1960s the ideal partner for craftsmen was the Opel Rekord P2. “Fast delivery van in new shape – at your service” was the promise of the Rekord P2, which it kept with large loading space, low operating costs and proverbial reliability. The P2's repertoire included two powerful and extremely robust engines with 1.5 litre displacement and 50 hp, as well as 1.7 litre displacement and 55 hp. An innovative three-speed semi-automatic gearbox called "Olymat" was also available. Between 1960 and 1963, 32,026 of the express delivery vans were built in Rüsselsheim.

The 1966 Opel Rekord C Caravan finally ignited the big estate boom. Externally, the Caravan captivated with its “Coke bottle design” shape below the windows. When it came to comfort, the five-link rear axle ensured very pleasant driving behaviour. The progressive Rekord C was also available as a pure delivery van.

Part 3:the Combo began the “raise the roof” era in the 1980s

In the 1980s, Opel realised that the concept of a car with a high roof but compact exterior dimensions was also ideal for the needs of families and outdoor-fans: the Kadett Combo was born in 1985. This first Combo differed from its van sibling by an approximately 25 cm higher loading space. The partition wall behind the seats was an example of the fact that flexibility was already a top priority with the Kadett Combo: it could be fitted with an optional net or even a door so that the loading length extended to the windscreen.

In 1993, the Combo was introduced as a separate model line. The front of the Combo B was practically identical to the Corsa, complemented by an extended wheelbase and a high, box-shaped load compartment with a volume of more than 3,100 litres.

A true “family Combo” was launched in 2001 with the Combo Tour. This variant of the Combo C came with practical stowage nets, pockets in the doors and features such as integrated cup holders. Based on the Tour, Opel even developed a sporty prototype for racing fans: the Combo “Eau Rouge“, its name a reference to the famous combination of curves on the racetrack in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, was powered by the Corsa GSi engine. While the “Eau Rouge” was an eye-catcher at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, the Combo Tramp, with sump-guard and 20 millimetres higher ground clearance, ensured on and off-road driving fun from 2005.

Starting in 2012, Combo D customers were the first to be able to choose between two vehicle lengths. The Combo was initially available as a five-seater with a short or long wheelbase, in normal and high roof versions, with standard sliding doors and an estate tailgate or double-wing rear doors.

Part 4: everyday heroes: Opel Combo, Vivaro and Movano

The fifth generation of the compact, multifunctional Opel Combo was launched in 2018. The innovative newcomer is available both as a passenger car – Combo Life – and as a light commercial vehicle – Combo Cargo – in many variants. Both are available as standard M (4.40 metres) or XL long versions (4.75 metres). The family van comes as a five or seven-seater with plenty of space for up to 2,693 litres of luggage.

The panel van offers up to 4.4 m3 of cargo space, room for two euro pallets and can carry a payload of up to 1,000 kilogrammes. This extraordinary flexibility is made possible by the completely new architecture on which the Combo Cargo is based and by sophisticated packaging. In addition, the LCV version will also be available as a crew cab and with a roof flap in the future. Thanks to a new development approach, the fifth Combo generation offers an unrivalled wealth of innovative technologies and assistance systems in both the passenger car and LCV versions.

Third generation of successful LCV – Opel Vivaro

Since 2001, the Vivaro has built a strong reputation as a cargo carrier or office on wheels, with around one million units rolling off the assembly line. With sizes tailored to different needs, and numerous innovative technologies, the new Vivaro can perform every job better than ever before.

The Vivaro offers a range tailored to customer needs – a Cargo panel van, a crew cab for up to six occupants, a platform chassis and a Combi people-carrier, plus – for the first time – three instead of two lengths (4.60 metres, 4.95m and 5.30m). With a maximum cargo capacity of 6.6 cubic metres, the new Vivaro has a payload of up to 1,400 kilogrammes – 200kg higher than its predecessor’s. The same applies to towing weights: the maximum trailer load of 2,500kg is half a tonne higher than before. Only the height is modest, with most variants measuring about 1.90m.

 The new Vivaro can therefore access parking in basements or shopping centres with low roofs, which makes loading and unloading easier. As of this year, there will be an all-electric Vivaro-e for emissions-free deliveries in towns. Depending on the battery, ranges of up to 230 and 330 km are possible in the WLTP1 test cycle.

One for all: the Opel Movano can do almost anything

The new Movano panel van is available in four lengths and three heights, with up to 4.5 tonnes maximum gross vehicle weight and 17 cubic metres of cargo volume. A total of 150 different body and conversion variants are offered ex works. Depending on the variant, the Movano can transport up to five euro pallets.

 This means that there is a Movano for almost every need. Numerous driver assistance systems make driving more relaxing and above all safer. Optimum all-round visibility is provided by the Blind Spot Warnings and a “Rear Vision” Camera system.

Then there is the Navi 50 IntelliLink Pro infotainment system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and thus offers excellent connectivity. Wireless charging is also available for compatible phones. The Movano is the big LCV in Opel’s portfolio. Together with the new Vivaro and Combo Cargo, the German brand has the youngest LCV fleet on the market; a fleet that can look back on a 120-year-old tradition.

[1] Range determined according to WLTP test procedure methodology (R (EC) No. 715/2007, R (EU) No. 2017/1151). The actual range can vary under everyday conditions and depends on various factors, in particular on personal driving style, route characteristics, outside temperature, use of heating and air conditioning and thermal preconditioning.


David Hamprecht- photos Opel

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/daily-deliveries-120-year-tradition-opel-vivaro-movano-combo---206472.html

29.04.2020 / MaP

More News

BMW Welt to reopen vehicle collection, sales rooms and showrooms from May 4.
The Bavarian State Government has now eased its regulations and measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, BMW Welt will be reopening its vehicle collection service, sales rooms and showrooms from May 4. Customers can therefore once again collect their new BMW in person at BMW Welt. more >>
New BMW 4 Series Coupe enters final phase of dynamic testing.
Exhaustive pre-production development process for the new edition of the two-door car carried out at race tracks and other test facilities – Final touches now being added on the country more >>
Porsche production to restart in Zuffenhausen and Leipzig
Porsche is manufacturing sports cars againAs from next Monday (4 May), Porsche is restarting production on a site- and task-specific basis. All the required measures have been taken in advance to guarantee the maximum possible safety for em more >>
Seat in Martorell - The wellness centre for cars
    Located in the paint workshops of the SEAT factory in Martorell, this exclusive 'spa' has everything from a thermal circuit to pressure jet booths    Each car is pampered by 1,100 workers and 200 robots for 6 hours    9 immersion pools prep the bodywork and protect it from corrosion  &nb more >>
Dow launches fast curing silicone adhesive for reduced energy usage
... greater assembly efficiency at any production volumeVersatile new silicone adhesive cures at room temperature with early adhesion development and supports prototyping to high-volume ma more >>
Bussgeld Katalog Deutschland - 28.4.2020
Bussgeld Katalog Deutschland - 28.4.2020 download hier       more >>
DuPont™ Sorona® Brand Launches Fabric Certification Program and New Branded Fabric Collections
 To enhance traceability and transparency across the textile industry, the DuPont™ Sorona® brand now offers five certified fabric collections that demonstrate the signature performance attributes across the portfolio. more >>
FCA Restarts Production at Sevel plant with Maximum Attention to Workplace Health and Safety
A variety of health and safety measures have been implemented at the Sevel plant in Atessa, Italy – a joint venture with PSA Group and one of the leading producers of commercial vehicles for the international market – in preparation for today’s return to work of most of the over 6,000 employees. more >>
New features for model year changeover in the Porsche 911 Carrera series
Seven-speed manual transmission and a host of new equipment optionsA seven-speed manual transmission can now be ordered for all 911 Carrera S and 4S models as an alternative to the standard eight-speed PDK transmission at no extra cost in European and related markets. more >>
Create your ID.3: Volkswagen invites designers to take part in competition on Instagram
What will the ID.3 look like in 2050? ID.3: The vehicle is not yet available for sale in Europe. Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design, launches competition today, International Design Day  Design community on Instagram more >>
Interview with smart brand ambassador Lena Meyer-Landrut
smart x Lena: Inspiration and mindfulness in the crisis. Interview with smart brand ambassador Lena Meyer-LandrutThe isolation caused by social distancing during the coronavirus crisis is a more >>
Production at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg begins again today
 First vehicle to be produced is a Golf  Production will start at 10 to 15 percent of capacity, increasing to around 40 percent the following week  100-point plan provides maximum health protection for employees more >>
SKODA AUTO resumes production at its Czech plants
› Vehicle and component production has restarted 39 days after the shutdown on 18 March› Comprehensive set of hygiene and safety measures protect the health of the workforceAt more >>
Lexus Electrified chief engineer exclusive interview
In its continued efforts to deliver innovative and amazing experiences, Lexus has recently unveiled its vision for an upcoming generation of electrified vehicles, under the banner "Lexus Electrified". The "Lexus Electrified" vision targets a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling, control and driver enjoyment - even as mobility within our society continue more >>
Artist capture the spirit of Lexus in original manga artworks
Lexus ES Manga by Timothy KongTimothy Kong’s work blends manga with Japanese anime and western influences from Old Masters. He has produced a fantastic scene in which a Lexus ES sedan is being driven at speed away from a fire-breathing dragon. more >>
UNCTAD annual report 2019
FOREWORDMukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTADFind complete report more >>
Aston Martin acts to support warranty and service customers during Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide
•     Aston Martin new car warranties extended, and service interval requirements relaxed to give peace of mind for customers •     Actions designed to support Aston Martin owners and mitigate potential effects of lockdowns associated with COVID-19 pandemic worldwide more >>
With CUPRA global ambassador Marc ter Stegen -Inspiring the world from home
    Marc ter Stegen joins the CUPRA initiative #Backtothegarage and reveals one of his little-known creative passions from his home    The FC Barcelona goalkeeper demonstrates his cooking skills by making homemade granola    The brand brought together 60,000 fans in a virtual get-together with the German fo more >>
Zwickau vehicle plant resuming production of the VW ID.3 slowly and gradually
Two employees at Volkswagen in Zwickau install the headlight on the ID.3. For the restart of production, a catalogue of measures for health protection was agreed between the company and the works council, which provides for the wearing of mouth-nose protection at workplaces with a more >>
McLaren Automotive renews commitments to vehicle weight reduction
... to further enhane efficiency and performance    McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt reaffirms that winning ‘the weight race’ is a priority for McLaren as it moves towards a new generation of hybrid supercars more >>
UNCTAD to lead United Nations Group on the Information Society
The UN-body draws attention to ICT-related development issues being tackled by the UN, such as the growing digital divide laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic.UNCTAD, which spearheads discussions on e-commerce, the digital economy an more >>
Innodisk Brings True NVMe Performance to Industrial Applications
Innodisk first to bring true NVM Express performance to flash storage devices ready for demanding industrialapplications.Industrial applications have lagged behind in NVMe adoption for too long. The demand for high-performance flash storage devices in more >>
Charging capacity vs. charging speed: What constitutes high charging performance
The real charging duration depends largely on the ideal charging curve        The Audi e-tron** charges with a maximum charging capacity of up to 150 kW over a large portion of the charging procedure        Unique charging curve: short charging duration even beyond 80%     &n more >>
The all-new SKODA OCTAVIA: Intelligent material mix combines maximum strength and low weight
› Maximum safety and high efficiency – 20.6 per cent of the all-new ŠKODA OCTAVIA’s body consists of ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel› Innovative production process – tailor-rolled blank means even the hardest components can benefit from varying sheet thickness more >>
Extended rear window for Skoda SCALA and larger wheels for KAMIQ
› More than half of SCALA customers opt for elegant rear closure› City-SUV KAMIQ is most commonly ordered with 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels› Full-LED taillights very popular among owners of both vehiclesSporty elegan more >>
Additive Manufacturing is Driving a New Automotive Frontier
The advent of additive manufacturing has impacted how products are created across industries like aerospace, medical and consumer products. In the automotive industry, additive manufacturing has the potential to advance and transform both vehicle development process and manufacturing. more >>
Isuzu Extends Service Plans by Two Months
ISUZU Motors South Africa has extended its service and maintenance plans by two months to ensure customers are not negatively impacted by the lockdown which is currently in place.The two-month extension is applicable more >>
Leading smart cities accelerator Urban-X by Mini graduates seventh startup cohort in first-ever online demo day
Seven early-stage startups graduate from accelerator built by automaker MINI and venture fund Urban Us, showcasing technology solutions to combat the climate crisis and to build city resilience URBAN-X, the leading accelerat more >>
SKODA guarantees reliable supply of genuine parts worldwide despite coronavirus restrictions
› ŠKODA Parts Center in Mladá Boleslav is operating in three shifts to reliably supply more than 94 countries with ŠKODA genuine parts even during coronavirus restrictions› Ext more >>
Opel Astra with IntelliLux LED® Matrix Light - Top Vision at All Times
    Compact bestseller is pioneer of innovative light technology    Precise, glare-free, long range: lights automatically adapt to every situation Excellent light not more >>
The Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG to lead the development of sustainable transportation by forming joint venture
...for large-scale production of fuel cells    Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group share the vision of sustainable transport solutions.    Successful commercialization more >>
At the wheel of a Leon without leaving home
    A 360º video shows the interior of the new SEAT Leon       A more spacious, ergonomic passenger compartment with wider front seats an more >>
Malcolm Gladwell and Lexus team up for exclusive podcast series
Malcolm Gladwell, #1 New York Times bestselling author, long-time New Yorker writer, and host of the podcast Revisionist History®, is a self-proclaimed car nut. Which made him the perfect host to collaborate with Lexus for a six-part podcast exploring the depths of Japanese culture reflected in the brand. more >>
Elegant two-tone leather interior from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
Now available for all Porsche 911 modelsTogether with the designers from the Development Centre in Weissach, the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur has created a new interior concept for the Porsche 911. The leather interior fea more >>
Toyota’s European R&D Base Changes its Name
Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced that its European research and development base, TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), has changed its company name to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe GmbH (TGR-E).TMG was initially established as Andersson Motorsport GmbH in K&o more >>
Audi production gradually restarts in Europe
    The Audi plants in Europe will slowly return to normality by the end of the month    Board of Management Member for Production Peter Kössler: “The focus is on a safe working environment”    General Works Council Chairman Peter Mosch: “Numerous measures are being taken to ensure th more >>
Peugeot Concept Cars
For PEUGEOT, a concept car is not a free exercise in style. It is part of a real brand strategy. It is a heightened vision that nourishes and inspires the style and technology of the future. PEUGEOT always develops its concept cars so that they are functional and driveable, in order to offer a complete experience, even when dynamic.  For several yea more >>
Fragile supply chains will complicate car factory re-starts, says GlobalData
As some car manufacturers contemplate strategies for manufacturing plant re-starts over the next four weeks;David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his views:“This will not be an easy process more >>
Porsche presents hip-hop documentary Back 2 Tape
Now available on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Spotify On the trail of rap, graffiti, DJing and breakdancing in Europe: together with music journalist Niko Hüls and the hip-hop magazine Backspin, Porsche presents the video documentary Back 2 Tape. more >>
2001-2023 copyright automobilsport.com