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Opel Classic Europe boss Wolfgang Scholz: Captain on course

Frank Herzog
Portrait of Opel Classic Europe boss Wolfgang Scholz
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K 6 is the name of Wolfgang Scholz's realm . You stand in front of the narrow roller door and think it is a car wash. A world of its own opens up behind it - and the problem-laden, future-anxious one stays outside. A company with such a glorious past must and will live on.

Opel Classic is the living memory of Opel

The legendary Opel Moonlight roadster from the thirties greets us with a smile. Welcome to Opel Classic. A museum in a hearty workshop atmosphere, anything but polished and kept in a lifestyle, but authentic and almost tangible. The wonderful Super 6-Glass Cabriolet next door behind the velvet red cords gently swings its bonnet wings. The majestic pre-war admiral shows his striking face in gleaming chrome. 3.6 liter six-cylinder, hanging valves, 75 hp, 130 km /h top speed that is suitable for the motorway. In the 1930s, Opel was Germany's largest automaker with the most reliable cars, thanks in part to innovative input from General Motors.

K6 sounds as sober as the coordinates on a city map. That even fits, because the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim is over two square kilometers larger than the Principality of Monaco. Over at the main portal, an investor is planning the future auto plant, a brand-independent old-timer ecumenism based on the model of the Meilenwerk. Wolfgang Scholz wants to present part of the Opel collection in Adam's holy halls.

'Opel Classic Europe is the living memory of Opel with countless exhibits, with sewing machines, bicycles, cars, lightning trucks, marine drives and even an aircraft engine. Opel used to be its own technology cosmos, a great generalist in mobility ', outlines Wolfgang Scholz, tall, slim, 57 years old, the function and philosophy of his department, which he has headed since 2009 as the successor to Heinz Zettl.

'Of course, cars are the main thing, we have 300 of them, spread over four floors. The 70 or so cars that are here are all fully operational and in top condition. Turning the key is enough.' He does not say this without pride and with an obliging smile. A man without airs - humorous and with the apt motherhood that is so typical of his homeland.

From Alfa apprentice to Opel Classic boss

Petrol-Head, a motorcycle enthusiastcomes from Oer-Erkenschwick in the Recklinghausen district, learned the subject of automobiles from scratch as a motor vehicle mechanic at an Alfa Romeo dealer. He also drives his car with skill and passion, after all, he recently won the first Eifel Classic alongside co-driver Hans Werner Wirth in an Opel Manta 400. No wonder, he used to spend his weekends at the Nürburgring a lot, watching races there.

The offer to work as a test assistant at the Kölner Auto Zeitung was for him in 1979 a preliminary step to the longed-for dream job. He quickly advanced to the position of test editor, started a motorcycle travel magazine in 1984 and later switched to the cult motorsport magazine Rallye-Racing.

After a few years as a freelance journalist, mainly for his own four-wheel drive adventure, he started again at full speed. At the Geneva Motor Show in 1998, he received an offer, which could hardly be refused, to participate in the Opel product press in the future. Today he is an Opel man with body and soul, his heart beats not only for the elderly. Scholz is pleased that the successful Insignia and the new Astra have 'found their way back to a very aesthetic design identity. An Opel has been very good for a long time, and now it's beautiful too.' That's how he gets to the point. Scholz likes to be honest and direct.

'It's my job to step out of the shadow of the charismatic Heinz Zettl. He built up Opel Classic over decades. It was his child. He knows every car here - whether P4, Kadett A, Commodore B or Lotus- Omega -, by the first name of its owner. I can't do that, I want to set new accents, maybe more in the direction of motorcycles, my favorite is the Opel Motoclub, or in the direction of racing. Opel was a leader in motorsport for decades - Rallye Kadett, Black Widow, Ascona and Manta 400, Commodore B Coupé, that has almost been forgotten. '

Opel Classic is also completely restoring it

Opposite is a mint green Kadett A-CarAvan on the lifting platform. Opel Classic not only maintains, but also completely restores it. Mechanic Jens Cooper is currently adjusting a self-made repair sheet for the A-pillar. Scholz nods appreciatively: 'Good work.'

After all, he knows how to press out a bearing or install a camshaft. The Kadett-CarAvan was purposely purchased in order to soon show the long tradition of Opel station wagons in the compact class at the premiere of the Opel Astra Sport Tourer. 'Old and new belong together, this is more than just marketing. This creates feeling, emotion and enthusiasm for the Opel brand. GM management knows the importance of this treasure and supports us in doing so.'

Also the Opel presence at importantEvents are important, be it meetings at the Opel villas, Schloss Dyck, Silvretta Classic or the Oldtimer Grand Prix. 'We go on tour throughout the year, we are on site over 100 times a year. Because vintage cars have to drive to move people's hearts.'

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