- Advanced Studio started its creative work at Opel in Rüsselsheim in 1964
- Architecture and concept was modeled after GM studio in Warren, Michigan
- Design icons from Opel GT to Opel Monza Concept
1964 was a year of Olympic Games – the XI Winter Games were opened in Innsbruck, and just a few months later, the Olympic flame burned at the XVIII Summer Games in Tokyo. And Rüsselsheim also extended an invitation to a special celebration. For the first time, guests were able to visit the new Opel Design Studio in building N10. For many of them it was also the last time, because after the grand opening, the futuristic-looking facilities were again closed to the public. From June 1964, forms, colors and functions of the brand’s cars were developed and decided here. “It’s easier to get into Fort Knox than into N10,” said an insider back then.
|The new, ultra-modern Opel Styling facility that opened in 1964 in the N10 building was directly inspired by GM Styling in Detroit. This new set-up propelled Opel to the leading edge of automotive design in Europe.|
|First studies from European car manufacturers|
|Clare M. MacKichan, founder of Opel Styling in Rüsselsheim, sits in the middle of his staff for one of their first meetings in their new building. They made Opel Styling the most advanced and powerful automotive design organization in Europe.|
Advanced Studio was a department in N10, free from daily design work, charged not with working on what should be on the road tomorrow or the day after, but with developing possibilities and opportunities for products that would win over customers years down the road. This was a real challenge. Because as a designer back then said, if you are a step ahead of the mainstream’s taste, you are moving around on the precipice to boredom. Take a brave step further, and you have made yourself inaccessible to most people. Or to put it more bluntly: had someone entered the king’s palace in the 19th century with a tablet PC, that person would have had to reckon with being thrown in jail for subversive behavior. Maybe that is why some automobile studies look boring and uninspired just a few years after their premiere.
|Opel’s design team led by Erhard Schnell (standing right) try out the future Opel GT’s interior at Opel’s brand new Advanced Studio.|
The Opel design studio’s task made it unique in Europe. It quickly turned into a European school for automobile design that had a magical attraction for the best in the industry. The studio’s personnel list from the past reads like a Who’s Who of the automotive design world: Anatole Lapine, Erhard Schnell, George Gallion, Charles M. ‘Chuck’ Jordan, Herbert Killmer, Chris Bangle, Murat Nasr and Hideo Kodama. And more than a few made their way to other manufacturers during their career after other brands had also established their own design studios years later. Many ideas, forms and design statements in automobiles originated in Rüsselsheim and reach back into the 1960s.
|Opel Monza Concept (2013)|