Saturday, May 24, 2014

The German Captain in Yerevan

Every time, when it comes to retro cars, the technical characteristics are kind of passed into the background, because people are more curious about the history, owners and hard restoration way of a car.
Our today's "hero" is the Opel Kapitän, manufactured in 1938.
The car was brought to Yerevan during The Second Wold War, when Armenian guerrillas transported German war prisoners to the front. After the war, the car stood idle in the garages of National Salvation Committee for several years. In 1953, at a price of 1500 Rubles, the car was acquired by a friend of the present owner's father, who used the car for 30 years. In 1983 he gave his glorious car to his friend's son and since then, the car has been faithfully serving to its new owner.

The Kapitän is a German middle class car. It was produced from 1938 to 1970 at one of the branches of Adam Opel AG, a subsidiary of the General Motors Company. The Kapitän was the best-selling product of the American automotive giant in Europe and the last prewar "representative" of the Opel. In 1938 the car was first introduced for the domestic market. The following Spring, it was shown at The International Geneva Motor Show. In the Autumn of 1940, before the civil automobile industry was suspended, the company managed to sell 25374 cars. The Kapitän was produced in three versions: a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan and cabriolet. The price was ranging from 3575 to 4325 Reichsmarks depending on the body type.
The car had a progressive design for its time; besides it was equipped with independent front suspension and had a monocoque body, which made it one of the best cars of mass production in Europe. The Kapitän was equipped with a straight-six 2L engine with a capacity of 55 HP and 3-speed manual transmission. The headlights had an interesting six-sided structure.


The present logo in the shape of lightning hadn't been created yet,the bonnet was embellished with a rocket-looking logo instead. During the war years, this reliable and unexacting car was appreciated not only by Germans,but also by the officer personnel of the opponent. After the war, thanks to the support of GM, Opel was the first German automobile company who relaunched the mass production of the cars. It was decided to restore the production of the Kapitän, but there was a major obstacle: the command center of the allied countries had banned Germans to manufacture engines with a capacity of more than 1.5 liters ( the engine of this car had a capacity of 2.5L).

And only on October 1948, when the allied countries weakened the control over the conquered territories, the postwar generation of the Kapitän was introduced. The car was practically no different form its predecessor, except for the headlights. The six-shaped structure was replaced by round a round shape. The car was no longer produced in three body versions-the only modification was a 4-door sedan.
In 1950 the car was equipped with a new transmission with a gearstick placed on the steering column. The postwar production of the Kapitän was extended for many years and the car became one of the most respectable models of the company.

As for "our" Kapitän, it has round headlights, although it was produced before the war. Presumably, one of the owners had a difficulty to get the six-shaped ones.
This car was known to Soviet car enthusiasts not only from war movies, but also from the streets of their native cities. Thousands of Kapitäns were brought to Soviet Union as a war trophy, one of which is now beautifying the streets of Yerevan.