The first Opel "Blitz" trucks, the Deutsch name for "Lightning" were introduced for 1931 Model Year. The name was announced on November 25 1930 at the occasion of a dealers’ convention at Frankfurt-am-Main by the sales director, P. Andersen. Production commenced at the Rüsselsheim Plant, alongside the new Opel cars.
The resemblance to the 1931 Model Chevrolets and Bedfords is remarkable, though it is clear that as with Bedford, the Blitz was intended to succeed the Chevrolet line, though Chevrolets were still being assembled until 1933 in the Berlin Plant by General Motors G.m.b.H.
Vauxhall Motors had benefited from the 1929 AC/LQ 6-cylinder o.h.v. engine, and had adapted it with full pressure-feed lubrication and "Anglicised" it for 1931. Opel simply took over the complete production facility for the 1929-30 Marquette 6-cylinder 3.5 litre engine from Buick. The 1930 Marquette engine was Buicks’ only L-head unit, of 3 1/8 x 4 5/8 inches Bore & Stroke, producing 67 b.h.p. @ 3,000 r.p.m., Rated at 23.44HP, with a capacity of 212.8 cubic inches. The 1931 Blitz engine was 79.38 x 117.48 mm, 3417 c.c., producing 64PS.
The second law to change the motor vehicle tax laws was passed February 28 1935 to make the requirements for off-road capable trucks known. One year later, the Reich Transportation Minister announced the design requirements for regularly marketed trucks with limited off-road capability.
By 1935 the Reich Transport Ministry had laid down requirements for production trucks with off-road capabilities. On April 1 1935, the Directors of Adam Opel AG decided to build a new truck factory in Brandenburg on the Havel, a few hundred yards from the Silo Canal. The Company acquired 850,000 square meters of land on the northwest part of the city of Brandenburg after a new 3-Ton Blitz truck had been designed, the 3,5-36 and –47, to satisfy the requirements. 12 days later, on April 13, 1935, the first sod of earth was turned and over 190 working days, 1,200 men worked day and night to build a dedicated Truck Plant, located between Hohenzollern Strasse and the Silo Canal just mentioned. After only 70 days, the steel frame of the main hall was erected. On October 16, the complete raw structure was complete. A month later, the first 15 Blitz trucks rolled off the assembly line at what was called "Brandenburg" Plant, code "Br.". On January 7, 1936 the new Plant was opened officially by the Reich Transportation Minister, Baron Eltz von Rübenach. Plant Manager was Dr. R.A. Fleischer.
The design of the assembly halls was a masterpiece of rational planning. A gigantic light-bathed assembly hall of 178 x 136 meters contained all the work processes from raw material to finished trucks. Freight barges brought in fuel by canal, and a branch of the Deutsch Reichsbahn enabled materials to be unloaded and stored right in the factory.
There were 13 parallel rows of machines which produced crankshafts and camshafts, cylinder blocks, gearboxes and frames, and front and rear axles. The items were moved on 27 fully automatic transport belts with a total length of five kilometers to the assembly line, from which 50 trucks rolled in every eight-hour shift. The Plant had initially 680 employees, but this more than doubled by the end of 1936, allowing an annual production of about 20,0000 trucks.
The first Opel truck to conform with the Ministry’s requirements was the Opel Blitz "S" for steuerermässig, or "lowered taxes" which qualified for a 33.3% tax reduction, with a yearly tax payable of 252RM instead of 378 RM. This truck had the original 3.5 litre 64 b.h.p. engine, and then in 1937 the new 3.6 litre 75 b.h.p. engine replaced it. In 1937, 1,256 of these trucks were delivered to the Wehrmacht, the first vanguard of military order trucks.
However, US military intelligence stated that the Brandenburg Plant, 200 miles away from the Rüsselsheim Plant was in accordance with government efforst to "move important truck facilities to the less vulnerable sections of Central Europe….in anticipation of war." US Strategic Bombing Survey, Munitions Division, German Motor Vehicles Industry Report 6, 3 November 1945. However, this decision had been placed at the feet of James D. Mooney, for which he was awarded his Medal. However, it was proven in the middle of 1944 that the Plant was indeed reachable by bombers and was repeatedly attacked.
In November 1940, Opel had produced prototypes of US-styled normal-control and forward-control [Cab-over-Engine] trucks with remarkable similarities to GMC and Chevrolet trucks, with 4 x 4 versions. These were for wartime requirements and then peacetime production for export. This proves irrefutably that GM in New York and Detroit were planning for the future and controlling the Board. I
The Brandenburg Plant had a peak wartime production total of 25-30,000 trucks, 30-40% of total German truck production.
On the basis that General Motors Corporation lost the Brandenburg Plant as of November 25 1942, when placed in the control of a Custodian of Enemy Property, the value at the time of the loss was set at [$]:

  1. Land: 311,754.74
  2. Buildings including 12% depreciation: 1,883,544.00
  3. Machinery & Equipment including 10% and 30% depreciation: 2,900,101.75
  4. Inventory: 3,786,014.00
  5. Miscellaneous Property: 63,430.50
  6. TOTAL: $8,944,845.00

According to the claim of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission in 1967, under the War Claims Act 1948. The Rüsselsheim Plant was valued for loss purposes at $19,777,032.05!
By October 1944 General Motors Corporation had invested $52,002,562 in Adam Opel A.G.: US Foreign Economic Administration, Business Holdings in Germany of US firms, October 1944. This compares with Ford’s $8,385,442.

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