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Opel P1 376-MPG Record-Holder Still For Sale, At $425,000


1959 Opel P1 experimental prototype gas-mileage record-holder

1959 Opel P1 experimental prototype gas-mileage record-holder

Enlarge Photo

Do you rarely hear the words "green car" and "collectible" used in the same sentence?

The owner of the one-and-only 1959 Opel P1 experimental prototype--which set a Guinness World Record of 376 mpg in a 1973 test--hopes that will change.

The car is still for sale, now via James Edition website--which bills itself as "The World's Luxury Marketplace"--with an asking price of $425,000, just as it was when we last covered it back in 2010.

After languishing in the collection of Talledega Super Speedway's Motorsports Hall of Fame in Alabama, the car was offered for sale by Cosmopolitan Motors of Seattle.

Apparently, they were not able to find the right owner on their own website, and it's now being marketed through James Edition.

So what do you get for your $425,000?

The Opel P1 is based on a 1959 Olympia Rekord three-door station wagon (known as a Caravan). In the early 1970s, team from the Shell Oil Company converted it into a single-seater by hacking away the bodywork aft of the front seats, and lowering what was left of the roof and the windshield.

1959 Opel P1 experimental prototype gas-mileage record-holder

1959 Opel P1 experimental prototype gas-mileage record-holder

Enlarge Photo
The 1.5-liter pushrod four-cylinder engine was fitted with a tiny Tillotson lawnmower carburetor and mounted in the rear.

The radiator was eliminated, with cooling provided by simply letting the water boil. The engine itself was wrapped in insulation to keep it operating at the highest possible temperature.

The modified engine drove a pair of rear wheels that were moved close together to eliminate the differential; drive was a simple chain and sprocket. All suspension was also removed.

Cosmopolitan Motors claims the car remains in running condition, but given its lack of suspension and choked engine, it probably wouldn't be much of a joy to drive on the street, as this Shell Opel website notes.

Despite its record-holder status, the Opel P1 hasn't found any buyers willing to pay its $425,000 asking price--even after more than three years.

It's an interesting car, but seemingly not that interesting.

Except, perhaps, to and exceedingly wealthy and eccentric--and desperate--Christmas shopper?

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