When a Plan Comes Together

Where would an automotive brand be without its loyal fans? Thankfully, Opel doesn’t have to worry too much about attracting new enthusiasts, as anyone who attends the biggest brand meet-up in Oschersleben will tell you. This year, 50,000 fans made the pilgrimage to the town to spend four days basking in the glorious weather and “celebrate the best automotive brand in the world.”

That’s how Christian Matschulla, who has come to Oschersleben every year since 2007, describes Opel. This year, the young man from Leipzig has made a very special effort – he’s decorated his original 1972 Opel Rekord with hearts so that he can tie the knot at the big meet-up with Jacqueline, his bride-to-be. Both are die-hard Opel fans who want to celebrate the happiest day of their lives at the gathering.

“It’s a matter of honor, after all,” says Christian. Their friends, with the support of the Motorsport Arena, have surprised them by setting up a wedding reception in the tower. And the wedding night will be spent – true to form – in a trailer decorated for the occasion.

When Opel brings two hearts together: Christian Matschulla decorated his 1972 Rekord to celebrate his big day with his fiancée Jacqueline.

True Opel fans choose Oschersleben as the location for their wedding.

 

↑ Video Best of Oschersleben 2019:
#OTEAM Zafira Life goes Opelsleben

 

Hey, where’s my cigar? Volker Strycek, head of the Opel Performance Center, upon his exhilarating arrival in the “O-Team Zafira Life.”

 

Jam-packed brand stand: shower of confetti! Cheering crowds! Crawlies atmosphere!

Two attractions
in the Opel club house

 

 

 

Of course, Opel always has a few surprises up its sleeve for the thousands of fans who gather in its honor. These were showcased at the exuberant brand stand that was designed as an open pavilion, alongside a show stage and several vintage exhibition vehicles. This is where two exclusive new Opel models were unveiled. The first of these was the Zafira Life – the fourth generation of this versatile, spacious van, which celebrated its German premiere. Fans had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the model.

The second surprise was brought by Volker Strycek, head of the Opel Performance Center, from Rüsselsheim to Oschersleben on Friday morning. On the way, he and his team sent messages and hints to the fans about what he had in store for them. The moment of truth came in the afternoon: Strycek navigated the “O-Team Zafira Life” onto the jam-packed brand stand at a snail’s pace. A rain of confetti, cheering fans, and an electric atmosphere made this a truly unique experience.

Place of pilgrimage: The exuberant Opel brand stand is designed as an open pavilion.

There’s no denying that the Zafira Life is built for action, with a lowered chassis, pneumatic suspension (lowerable in the parking position via remote control), and a four-piston brake with 380 millimetre discs in front.

 

Laidback pose: actor Tim Wilde in the show car.

The “O-Team Zafira Life” is a clear nod to the heroes of a certain iconic series from the 1980s, as the four tough-guy characters used to drive a van just like this on their many escapades. The “O” naturally stands for Opel, and the thick wheels, stylish spoiler, garish neon yellow stripe, and deep, rumbling engine allow the “O-Team Zafira Life” to make quite the entrance. “Sensational,” shouts one fan at the top of his voice, while Volker Strycek says a few words about the show car and its mission.

Fans now know that the action model of the Zafira Life was developed by the experts at Opel Special Vehicles, and that a fully equipped six-seater with a medium wheel base served as its basis. But what about what’s under the hood? A two-liter diesel engine with about 180 hp and 400 Newton meters of torque that rumbles like a V8 gas model thanks to an integrated sound module powers the van.

The “O-Team Zafira Life” is not just a show car or a fake model – all technical changes have been signed off on and approved by the TÜV.

 

And best of all, the “O-Team Zafira Life” is not just a show car or a fake model – all technical changes have been signed off on and approved by the TÜV. This means that it’s possible that we will soon see more “O-Team” vans racing around Germany’s roads. What’s certain is that the boss of the TV series troop would light up a fat cigar for the occasion and say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Volker Strycek also wasn’t the only celebrity who talked shop with the fans. The legendary Joachim “Jockel” Winkelhock and the famous actor and Opel fan Tim Wilde were also present, alongside head of Opel Germany Ulrich Selzer and director of Opel Motorsport Jörg Schrott.

On the track: The Opel Astra TCR does laps as a racing taxi.

 

At the wheel: Opel brand ambassador Jockel Winkelhock.

What else was on offer for fans of the Opel brand?

As it turns out, a whole lot! Under this year’s motto, “Opelsleben XXIV – Back to the Roots,” there was much drift action to be seen and 1/8-mile sprints on the racing track. On top of that, racing taxis – some of which were driven by Jockel Winkelhock – did a few laps. However, fans were also given the opportunity to take a spin behind the wheel and test the current GSi family on the track.

In the driver’s paddock, everything from vintage cars to super-tuned models amazed visitors with features that most people could only dream of. In any case, there was something for everyone. Each day ended with a big party where a new Miss Opel was elected.

After four joyous days, it doesn’t take a lot to realize that the gathering in Oschersleben is most definitely one of the most wonderful, large-scale declarations of love from Opel fans to their brand.

Opelsleben XXIV: When a T-Rex is washing your Opel, then you’ve either ended up in the wrong movie or at the world’s biggest fan gathering.

Wrom, wrom: The 1/8‑mile-sprint is a fixed part of the program.

Bling, bling: Who has the most beautiful Opel of all?

 

“This sensational fan meeting reflects our brand values in an authentic, friendly and inspiring way.”

Ulrich Selzer, Head of Opel Deutschland

 

The O-Team (from left): Opel brand ambassador Jockel Winkelhock, actor Tim Wilde, Tobias Gubitz, Director Brand Strategy and Marketing Communication, Ulrich Selzer, Head of Opel Deutschland, and Marcus Lott, Vice President for Program and Strategy.

 


May 2019

Text: Dani Heyne, Photos: Opel