Rikky von Opel, 1976

Liechtenstein’s only Grand Prix representative, Frederick ‘Rikky’ von Opel, is turning 64 today!

An heir to the Opel automobile empire, von Opel started our in motor racing using the pseudonym ‘Antonio Bronco’, von Opel later reverted to his own name after he achieved success in Formula Ford in 1970.

Von Opel moved into Formula 3 the next year with a Lotus and showed plenty of flair, which translated into winning the 1972 Lombard North Central title in an Ensign.

Together with team founder Mo Nunn, the pair decided to move into Formula 1 in 1973. Not surprisingly given their inexperience, the project achieved little in the way of concrete results, and von Opel was (unfairly, in our opinion) tagged as little more than a rich playboy racer.

Von Opel grabbed the opportunity to driver a works Brabham in 1974, reckoning this would be his opportunity to prove his worth. But after a pair of ninth-placed finishes, two retirements and two failures to qualify, he turned his back on the sport, having tried and failed to make the top-flight grade.

[Image via AutoDiva]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.