These record cars from Opel and Peugeot had to convince consumers of diesel

Peugeot is one of the first car manufacturers to supply a diesel engine. As early as 1958, the 403 was available with a diesel engine from Indenor, Peugeot’s own engine factory. In 1960 the Peugeot 404 appears and in 1964 it is available with a 1.9 liter diesel engine from Indenor. At that time there were few diesels on the market, Mercedes-Benz largely had the market to itself. Huge amount of diesel fuel left Meanwhile, something else is happening in France. Under the leadership of President De Gaulle, the country begins to build nuclear power plants. These take over the old power stations, where generators ran on diesel oil. So there is an enormous amount of diesel fuel left over and the car manufacturers can make use of it. Peugeot 404 Coupé is single-seater Diesel is not yet really accepted as a fuel for passenger cars, but Peugeot wants to do something about that. To improve the image of the diesel engine and to show that a diesel is also capable of performing, a Peugeot record car is being built. A 404 coupé is converted into a single-seater; the driver gets a small steel dome over him. In June 1965, seven drivers drove this car on the Monthléry circuit for 5,000 kilometers with a 2,163 cc Indenor four-cylinder diesel engine. The Peugeot achieves an average speed of 159.3 km/h. The Peugeot 404 coupé was converted into a single-seater. A month later, Peugeot returns to Monthléry with the same record-breaking car, but now with a 1,948 cc diesel engine, based on the XD88 engine as supplied in the 404. The car covers the circuit 11,000 kilometers in 72 hours at an average speed of 160 km/h. It seems that with these two trips Peugeot has broken a total of more than 40 records for diesel cars in terms of consumption, top speed, average speed and speed duration. All those records have of course all been forgotten in the meantime, but the car is still there and is in the Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot in Sochaux. The Opel GT is almost no longer recognizable as such. Opel’s record with the car based on the GT We also see a similar action as with Peugeot at Opel. In the early 1970s there is a serious oil crisis and suddenly the fuel consumption of a car becomes very important. Opel wants to market a diesel version of the Rekord. To add luster to that fact, a record-breaking car is being developed. With a c, this time. Just as Peugeot built its record car based on the 404 Coupé, Opel is building a record car based on the GT. 10,000 kilometers in 52 hours As with the Peugeot, the entire roof comes off and there is only a dome for the driver. The 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine delivers 95 hp thanks to the use of a turbo. Six drivers, including former Belgian Formula 1 driver Paul Frère, take turns driving on Opel’s Dudenhofen test track from 1 to 3 June 1972. The streamlined Opel drives 10,000 kilometers in 52 hours. The highest measured speed is 197 km/h, the average speed of the car is 190 km/h and 18 official records are broken. The Diesel GT acts as a trailblazer for the Opel Rekord D (no, not the D for diesel) 2100 D, which will be launched in September 1972.


Source: AutoWeek by www.autoweek.nl.

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