The Shell Oil 1973 Test Car 
376 miles per Gallon

0,625 liter/100 Km  1 liter/160 Km

new website 2013:

movie from the Dutch television about the Shell test car interview with the new owner Even Mc Mullen:


 download this movie

This 1959 P1  became a Shell Experimental Car in 1973. It  is unmolested and
appears complete just as it was during Shell Oil Co's test.
  The team individual names who developed and prepared the car are painted
on the rear deck.
  This car was ' forgotten' at the Talledega SuperSpeedway's Motorsports
Hall of Fame, and was purchased from the Track when they liquidated some inventory.
  Thanks to the internet, we uncovered it's true history...which you can
easily verify by googling

   "   1973 Shell Opel 376.59    "

Nederlandse vertaling van deze pagina door Google

volg de discussie op dit forum


  Dutch article about it on  




 1973 letter From Shell



original website: www.376  presents :

This is a SERIOUSLY thought-out project.

Found   !!!    ....  the secret is hidden away no more

watch for this car to appear on highways near you ......

where has it , and it's secrets, been hiding , for 35 years ?

 With 2 speed chain drive.

The 4 cylinder motor is nearly completely insulated, including the entire radiator.

Strange air induction, and the Carburetor has only a 3/4 " bore

Engine is mid engine placement

the car is a CarAvan station wagon that the roof was chopped (lowered) and
then made into a pickup.  It is just as it came off the SaltFlats

click HERE to return to HOMEPAGE of


more info wanted about this car on Ebay (copy on

are there any members of the original team who can give more info about this car?



Hybrids, meet your rival
(copy on

Evan McMullen of Bellevue recently rediscovered the souped-down 1959 Opel T-1 that achieved 376.59 miles per gallon in a 1973 contest. (Photo by Cosmopolitan Motors) (February 20, 2008)



Interview with the new owner

Evan McMullen, owner of Seattle-based Cosmopolitan Motors



auction on november 2008

Current bid: US $50,100.00 

reserve not met

Buy It Now price: US $250,000.00 

59 Opel P1/T1 376 MPG World Record Fuel-Vapor Prototype

495 miles Seattle, Washington

the engine is not isolated anymore

I wonder if it still gets 376 mpg?????





update 10-01-2010

for sale at

1959 Opel P1

The subject of countless interviews for television, radio, film and print, this is the world-famous and world-renowned Opel Experimental prototype which holds the world record to date for a gasoline-powered vehicle of its size and only mild modification from the original stock pushrod engine. This 1959 Opel achieved over 376 miles per gallon in Wood River, Illinois, in 1973!!

Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as well as many publications (several of which accompany this car), it had been hidden from the public at the Talladega Motor Museum where is laid to waste for decades. Still clad in its original livery, it is functioning today and would make any collector, museum, special-interest hobbyist or institution proud.

One of the most significant and milestone vehicles of all time, this petroleum-driven vehicle has held the worlds’ record for more than 35 YEARS.





comment on this sale from



I found some more info with Google:



Some folks at Shell Oil Co. wrote "Fuel Economy of the Gasoline Engine" (ISBN 0-470-99132-1);  it was published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, in 1977.  The Library of Congress (LOC), in September 1990, did not have a copy of this book.  It was missing from the files.  I bought a copy from Maryland Book Exchange around 1980 after a professor informed me that it was used as an engineering text at the University of West Virginia. On page 42 Shell Oil quotes the President of General Motors, he, in 1929, predicted 80 MPG by 1939.  Between pages 221 and 223 Shell writes of their achievements:  49.73 MPG around 1939;  149.95 MPG with a 1947 Studebaker in 1949;  244.35 MPG with a 1959 Fiat 600 in 1968;  376.59 MPG with a 1959 Opel in 1973 (Photographs of the Opel, taken in April/07 are above.) Note the insulation added to the engine, (1,2) heat helps vaporize gasoline.


more about mpg at


,,at a minimum speed of 30 miles/h or 48 km/h"

info from:


suppressed inventions

1973 J1-A,1 CARBURETION, SHELL OIL CO. At the Annual SHELL OIL Companies employees contest, a highly modified 1959 Opel sets the record with 376.59 mpg at Wood River, IL.

more suppressed inventions at


history of testcars

1973 - The annual Shell Oil Company employees contest turns out a world record for high mileage at Wood River, Illinois... A highly modified Opel of 1959 vintage sets the record with 376.59 miles per gallon - World record mileage is now well over 2,000 miles per gallon from very specialized vehicles designed to do one thing - get the most mileage possible...

more about testcars at


The chemically correct air/fuel mixture for total burning of gasoline has been determined to be 15 parts air to one part gasoline or 15/1 by weight. Changing this to a volume ratio yields 8000 parts air to one part gasoline or 8,000/1 by volume. The system of the present invention vaporizes liquid fuel before the fuel enters the engine. Theoretically, a homogenous mixture can yield gas mileage in excess of 300 miles per gallon. The world record for auto gas mileage was sent in October 1973 by a 1959 Opel station wagon with a highly modified engine. The car traveled 376.59 miles on a single gallon of gasoline during a Shell Oil Co. contest at Wood River, Ill.




tip: use in Google the word 1959 Opel T-1 to find more forums about this car

italian article:


Great River Rd, Illinois USA
Grotere kaart weergeven









This site contains only information of  Opel P1 models:  Opel Rekord or Olympia  end 1957 ,1958,1959,1960,1961. with a 1500cc or a 1700 cc engine and the opel 1200 cc model 1962.

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