Castro, MantaDany,
and the Veterans


The Treasures of Cuba


 

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“This country’s streets are an open-air museum like none other – and here the works of art on exhibit even move!”

– Henning von Löwis –

 

Who are the people that introduce us to our future dream cars? Sometimes we find out about them through family members, friends, or car dealers, sometimes through movie directors or photographers. For Henning von Löwis that person was Fidel Castro. “I had to go all the way to Cuba to discover Opel for myself,” he says. von Löwis is particularly passionate about one specific upscale mid-sized vehicle – the Rekord P1 built by Opel between 1957 and 1960.

He is so entranced with the model that he even made it the star of a new 2016 calendar. The journalist and author took all of the photos for the calendar with a digital camera, and most of them were set in Cuba’s capital city, Havana. “The Rekord P1 is just so ostentatious somehow. They have these incredible panoramic windshields built in the style of the classic American cruisers,” he says.

According to von Löwis, the factors of time and politics add to the appeal of this particular Opel as well as to other vehicles. “This country’s streets are an open-air museum like none other – and here the works of art on exhibit even move!” The trade embargo that the United States placed on Cuba back in 1962 made it nearly impossible for Cubans to purchase new cars. “That meant that they had to take good care of what they had,” says von Löwis. “They used their improvisational skills to repair and tune these classics and keep them running.”

von Löwis discovered this world back in 1989 while working as a reporter for Deutschlandfunk. He was invited to the island to report on Fidel Castro. It was an exhausting assignment, no less because von Löwis was so keen on watching Castro’s famous speeches, most of which were so long that a colleague described them as, “the earthly equivalent of a brush with eternity.” In spite of that – or perhaps for that very reason – von Löwis developed a special interest in Cuba and the Cubans. “I wanted to commemorate their incredible automotive skills, particularly when it came to the Rekord P1 – so I made this calendar.”


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‘Rekord P1 2016’ calendar available for purchase
Calvendo Verlag
Please contact Martina Böhme at (+49-89) 693378-433, or send an e-mail to martina.boehme@calvendo.com.

 

Contest

If you would like to win a copy, please answer the following question:

Which city served as the backdrop for most of Henning von Löwis’ photographs of the Rekord P1?

Send your answer in the form of an e-mail (Subject: ‘Rekord P1 2016’ calendar) to opel.post@de.opel.com. The deadline is 10 December 2015.

Please find the conditions of participation here (in German).

 


Sepia-Toned Journey Through Time


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„Schon mit 17, das war 1964, wollte ich einen Kapitän ’51 retten, den ich verbotenerweise für 100 Mark gekauft hatte.“

– Eckhart Bartels –

A thin layer of snow coats the ground just like powdered sugar on the top of a cake. In the background we can see a beautiful house with a sign reading ‘Dr. med. A. Bolten,’ and in front of the house waits an Opel 34/65 PS with its top down. Inside sit two adults and three children, all done up in their Sunday best. This sepia-toned photograph, entitled ‘Family Drive in the Winter of 1920’ is Eckhart Bartels’ January image for his new Opel calendar.

February features a picture dating back to 1930 in which a man decked out in a cap, leather jacket, and a pair of fashionable striped socks takes a moment on the way to Berlin to strike a pose in front of his Opel 4/20 PS parked astride a field. March opens with one of Opel’s advertising photos, ‘Trans-Balkan Journey 1935,’ which features two 1936 Olympias on the tough journey to Olympia, Greece.

These photos from the first three months and the nine other images that make up the calendar were taken from the collection of Eckhart Bartels. Bartels, an enthusiastic Opel fan, took on the painstaking work of gathering these photographs from myriad sources, including the Opel media department, private collections, photographers’ personal collections, and flea markets. The calendar is entitled ‘A Journey Through Time: Opel Veterans 2016.’ “We use the term ‘veterans’ – which comes from the military – when speaking about historical vehicles,” explains Bartels. “In Germany, the term started to become more popular in the 1930s – of course that was until we adopted the English word ‘old-timer’ to refer to classic cars.”

Eckhart Bartels prefers the traditional term, and not just when it comes to communication either. In 1969, at the age of 22, he purchased a 1951 Kapitän. “It was difficult to find spare parts for the car, which, exquisite as it was, was no longer in the blossom of youth. So in 1972 I got together with other like-minded Opel fans to form a kind of self-help group.” It was the birth of the ‘Alt-Opel Interessengemeinschaft.’ This club, whose logo graces the 2016 calendar, is dedicated to maintaining Opel vehicles and documenting historical texts and images featuring the brand. It’s worth a mention that Bartel’s original 1951 Kapitän is still fit as a fiddle and ready to hit the road.


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Family ride in winter of 1920 with an Opel 34/65 PS.

 

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1930: On the way to Berlin with an Opel 4/20 PS.

 

Vacation greetings with the Record Coupé.

 


‘Opel Veterans 2016’ calendar available for purchase

HS Grafik + Druck
Please contact Josef Beumers at (+49-24) 529-5080, or send an e-mail to info@staedtekalender.de.

Contest

If you would like to win a copy, please answer the following question:

What year was the ‘Alt-Opel Interessengemeinschaft’ club founded?

Send your answer in the form of an e-mail (Subject: ‘Opel Veterans 2016’ calendar) to opel.post@de.opel.com. The deadline is 10 December 2015.

Please find the conditions of participation here (in German).

 


Passionate Opel Fan in Pfarrkirchen


“Yeah, I’m a little obsessed with Opel.”

– Daniel Holesch –

 

 

 

If you want to know how Daniel Holesch has spent the last 18 years, all you need to do is flip to the October page of his 2016 Opel calendar. Pictured is a Mattig Manta GSi once driven by actor Til Schweiger playing Bertie in the 1991 film ‘Manta, Manta.’ More accurately, the photograph depicts a highly-detailed replica which Holesch, nicknamed ‘MantaDany,’ reconstructed in painstaking detail. Only the engine is different. In the film, the GSi featured a 2-liter, 135-hp engine. “I took the liberty of installing a 3.6-liter engine,” reports the native of Lower Bavaria. The engine now hums to the tune of 236 hp.

Holesch’s homage-on-wheels was photographed by his good friend and neighbor Jürgen Bader. The cult car, pictured in front of a furniture store in Pfarrkirchen, the hometown of the two men, is just one of the 35 Opels he now owns. All of his favorite cars made it into the calendar. Some of these include collector’s models such as the Ascona B 400, an Opel 1.2-liter, a Bitter CD, and a GT, all of which were photographed amongst the natural surroundings in Lower Bavaria.

“Yeah, I’m a little obsessed with Opel,” says Daniel Holesch. He began to take an interest in the brand at the age of 15. His brothers Christian and Jürgen were already collecting Opel vehicles. Daniel Holesch got his hands on an Ascona B and began tinkering on it – and “counting down the days” until his 18th birthday. When that day finally came, he already had his driver’s license in hand and was fully equipped with four Opels.

Today, 33-year-old Holesch works in a paint shop while running a business for vehicles and spare parts that he collects in his free time. “The calendar was a bit of a spontaneous idea back in 2010 because I had a lot of friends and customers asking about it.” MantaDany started out by taking the pictures himself, but as he says: “Sometimes you have to admit when you just aren’t up to the job.” That led him to his collaboration with Jürgen Bader. “It’s a good fit – on an emotional level too,” says Holesch. “The photographer is an Opel fan and was driving a Senator B until just a little while ago.” MantaDany plans to help him look for a new vehicle.


 

 


 

‘MantaDany’s 2016 Calendar’ available for purchase
www.mantadany.de
Please contact Daniel Holesch at (+49-162) 260-3796, or send an e-mail to mantadany@gmx.de.

Contest

If you would like to win a copy, please answer the following question:

What was MantaDany’s first Opel?

Send your answer in the form of an e-mail (Subject: ‘MantaDany’s 2016 Calendar’) to opel.post@de.opel.com. The deadline is 10 December 2015.

Please find the conditions of participation here (in German).


 

Stand November 2015

Texte: Andreas Wollny, Fotos: privat, Henning von Loewis, Sammlung Eckhart Bartels, Jürgen Bader