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Adam Opel started manufacturing sewing machines in Germany in 1863. He went on to make bicycles, and, in 1899, the first Opel car. In 1909, Opel launched the 'Doktorwagen,' a reliable and affordable car intended for doctors. Opel built its first race car in 1913, which featured an advanced overhead cam, four-cylinder, 16-valve engine. Opel became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American General Motors Corporation in 1929. Since then, its cars have been sold in world markets under various names, including Opel, Vauxhall, Holden, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Cadillac, and Saturn. Over the years, Opel has produced many sporting and performance-oriented cars, and has had significant success in both rallying and touring car competition. The Opel GT two-seat sports car, produced from 1968 to 1973, looked like a miniature Corvette and continues to have an enthusiastic following. In 1996, Opel established a subsidiary, the Opel Performance Center (OPC), to handle all of its European motorsport activities. OPC also develops high-performance versions of current Opel models, including the Astra, Corsa, and Zafira. From 2001 to 2005, Opel sold the Opel Speedster, which was designed and built by Lotus Engineering. Similar to the Lotus Elise, the Speedster provides strong acceleration and excellent handling. In 2006, Opel announced a new version of the Opel GT, a 260 horsepower sports car that shares its chassis with the Saturn Sky Redline and the Pontiac Solstice in North America.

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