The Opel Olympia became Germany's first mass-produced car in the course of its development with a self-supporting body entirely made of steel sheet. The name comes promotionally successful from the large event in Germany 1936. Promotionally effective, thisis the keyword. Opel's people, to which incidentally belongs also the future head of VW, Heinrich Nordhoff, realize a lot of ideas. So they make a model for the first time with transparent Plexiglas coverings, let fly the new car with the Zeppelin to South America and of course go to check the reliability in the mother country of Olympic Games to Greece.
In effect, the car also represents a specialty, his body is calculated still for the first time for a mass-produced car as the nodes of a bridge construction. That takes much of the anticipated what we now take for granted. There is no longer the 'chassis', where will be attached the whole drive and suspension, before it is provided with (almost) any structure. It is important from now on at the start of construction, for example whether or not there is a roof contributing to the reinforcement. Because this must contribute to the stability of the entire body.
The car will not only be lighter, the passenger compartment is now also performed more stable, what reduces the passive consequences of accidents. Front and rear will become to what we call today 'crash areas'. Opel's engineers speak of'predetermined breaking points' outside of the interior. Even the production is different. Because the frame and build are fixed connected, the drive and the undercarriage after the completion of the body (hydraulic) must be introduced to these from below and mounted. This 'marriage' is still today (2006), albeit barely people are involved directly.
In that time is the company Opel not only the largest producer in Europe, it counts - and probably therefore - to the most innovative. It is interesting to compare this progress with the development in other companies. At production start of the Olympia and the somewhat later Kadett will be designed still a lot vehicles according to the old design, including such well-known as the VW Beetle and the Citroen 2 CV. Both retain this construction until the end of their days. Even after World War II vehicles will be developed with frames, e.g. the Citroen ID/DS series and the Renault 4.