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Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society caters for veteran cars, vintage cars & classic cars, as well as commercials and motorcycles.

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Probably c1914 Opel 5'14PS Tourer   ] ::

Puzzling enquiry received from Pär Sörliden (Sweden) about a model identification of an Opel at a Car Museum in Sweden from around 1912. Museum says that the car is a 1912 Opel 5/12 PS. Previous owner thought it was a 4/8 PS. Another Swedish vintage car enthusiast thinks it is an 1912 Opel 9/25 PS. Do we have any Opel experts who can say for sure?

The basis of the Enquiry is: 

The car is currently owned by the Sparreholm Car Museum in Sweden.  The plate on the torpedo says the following: Fabrikat No. 25822 Motorstärke PS. 18 Gewicht Kg. 800.  The car was first registered in Sweden on March 13, 1916, with the registration number Z48. It was registered as a four-seater car made by Opel, with a 16 hp 4-cylinder engine, weighing 800 kg. Currently, the information at the museum says that the car is an Opel 5/12 PS 1912 with a 1300 cc-engine with 14 horsepowe. Previous owner thought it was a 4/8 PS. Acording to another Swedish vintage car enthusiast , the car is an Opel 9/25 PS 1912. 


Our Response was:

Thanks for your interesting enquiry. Regretfully we do not have any specific Opel experts so perhaps your best way is to contact somebody at an Opel club in Germany. I do not have any detailed information on Opel pre 1920, so I have to rely on what is available on the internet.

However, - when looking at identifying cars we look for specific pointers on a specific car to identify the model and separate it from similar models of the same era. In my opinion this is an Opel 5'14 which seems to have been made in 1914 as a 1.4L Puppchen, and later as 1.5L at 14.5HP. The photos do not show the front passenger seat so not quite clear which it may be. The 5'12 and 5'14 seems to be the only ones of the era which had a single piece windscreen; all other Opels seem to have had some form of a split windscreen. The mudguard fronts and rounder profile of the mudguards also match. The bonnet has seven slanted louvers. The earlier 5'12 cars were smaller with flat mudguards

Of the other models you mentioned, one, the 4/8 was a two-seater, so is not this car. The other, 9'25, would seem to be a much bigger car at 2332cc 28HP; not a Puppchen, a little doll!! It was a vehicle for the upper middle class. I think the Wikipedia page has the wrong picture shown for the 9'25 which was probably taken from museum shots page. I feel it is possible that a misidentification may have been made at some point in the past and it has been distributed throughout the web. From what I can find, the 9'25 was introduced in 1916 and was made to 1922. It was fitted with a pointed spitzkuhler radiator and had multiple vertical louvers. I have not been able to find any original pictures of the very early 9'25 cars.

I had consulted some of our experts for their opinion and thoughts from our expert in Holland include the following which agrees with some of my thoughts:

…In the case of Opel that would be rather complicated indeed, because the number of models they produced is astonishing. Despite this, according to my Opel book (Opel Fahrzeug Chronik Band 1, 1899-1951 by Eckhart Bartels and Rainer Manthey) a 9/25 model only existed as Sportwagen in the 1913-1914 season, and as car with "Spitzkühler" from 1916 on. A 10/24 did, which was indeed a bigger car. The authority of the book however is slightly undermined by the fact that somewhere a Panhard & Levassor is pictured, taken for an Opel.

Anyway, I guess you're correct. I believe this car is fairly identical to the 1912 5/14 in the Opel museum. By the way, if you read German, you may notice that the nickname Puppchen was used by Opel only in 1914! This model was relatively narrow, explaining the half front seat next to the drivers seat. The original Puppchen, the Wanderer, even didn't have this half seat, making it a real tandem car. Other makes also made tandem cars, like Adler, but you could also choose for the sociable version. Which was in the case of Opel the 5/12 Doktorwagen.

While we are not suggesting this is a definitive identification, circumstantial evidence suggest it is probably a cca 1914'16 Opel 5'14 Tourer.

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