Opel is a company founded in 1862 in Rüsselsheim, Germany. Back then, the company's business segment was a little different than today.
They started off with the production of sewing machines. At that time, the logo contained the letters "A" and "O" - the initials of the company's founder, Adam Opel.
In 1866, they expanded and started to produce bicycles. Around 1890, the logo was completely redesigned. The new logo also contained the words "Victoria Blitz" (referring to Lady Victory; they were certain of the triumph of their bicycles). The word "Blitz" (engl. lightning) first appeared back then, but without a depiction.
Another redesign was commissioned in 1909. The new logo was much more spirited and contained only the company name Opel itself. It was placed on the motorcycles that they had started to produce in 1902, and on the first cars which were produced in 1909.
1910: The logo was the shape of an eye, and it was surrounded by laurels, with the text "Opel" in the center. A stylized zeppelin in a ring was the company's logo from 1935, when zeppelins stood for innovation and progress. The zeppelin was also used as a hood ornament. The logo's ring symbolized the bicycle and it's meaning to mankind.
The logo that was used from 1950 was again very simple. It was oval, half white and half yellow. The Opel writing was black and in the middle of the oval symbol.
Origin of the lightning in the Opel logo:
In the sixties and seventies, the lightning became more and more important to the logo. It is used officially since 1964. In the 1964 version, the flash with a ring was used in a yellow rectangle, with the Opel writing below. The whole logo was again delimited by a black rectangle.
In 1987, the logo was simplified. Following the motto "less is more", they recuded the logo to the stylized lightning and the ring, optionally also the writing of "Opel".
Over time, there were only minor modifications: The shape of the lightning was adjusted, and the whole logo was made three dimensional.