Monday, June 7, 2010

1970 Opel Kadett Station Wagon

This is identical to my first car (except mine was a 4 speed manual). Not the sportiest thing ever, but when you're 16, live with your parents and have a steady girlfriend that lives with her parents, having a car that the rear seat folds down is a whole lot more practical than any sports car. (However, had I not had that steady girlfriend and was trying to impress girls with the car I drove, an old Opel wagon would be close to the worst possible choice...)

The Kadett wagon, besides being a good place to do what my girlfriend and I did best, was a pretty practical car. It was well built, got great gas mileage and, having been very popular in the US for awhile, easy to get parts for. The 1.9 liter engine, while no rocket, moved the car at a reasonable pace.

This car is an amazing time capsule. Owned by a man with a long family history of Opel ownership, his dad bought his first Opel in 1968. He writes, "THAT was the beginning of a 40 year love affair with the pre 76 Opels. Since then over 52 of them, any and all models, were fair game to satisfy my families' love affair.(My Dad was North west Ohio's only certified Opel technician)".

52 Opels in 42 years. That's dedication.

The car has just over 62,000 miles on it. It is as close to original as you'll find, right down to the headlights. (The seller writes, "The T-3 headlite bulbs still do a fine job, I was going to change them to halogens but didn't have the heart." I love that.) The heater core is new, as is the slick NOS valve cover. The car has an electric fuel pump and a Weber carb, which is a mandatory conversion on any Opel.

The body is original and in amazing condition for its age. Opels didn't rust as badly as other 1960s / 1970s cars but, like all cars from that time period, rustproofing was somewhat of an afterthought. It has a few dings and some small rust spots, but nothing very serious.

My Opel wound up getting t-boned in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant on my girlfriend's birthday. We were eating dinner at the time, so we didn't see what happened, just the results. Apparently a woman, who had 2 or 3 more Scorpion Bowls than she should have, mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal in her Lincoln and hit my car at about 40 MPH. It pretty much turned the Opel into the letter "U".

I don't have any real desire to own an Opel station wagon again (fortunately I haven't had a girlfriend who lives with her parents in a very, very long time), but it's really cool to see a car like this in this condition.

Located in Columbus Grove, Ohio, click here to see the eBay listing.


Raso said...

1.9L is actually a great engine, in Europe you would see alot more 1.1L because they were more economical.

Anonymous said...

Just bought a 72 wagon with the 1.9 - has the weber conversion. A bit rusty but still starts and runs great for very little money!

Anonymous said...

Had a wagon just like this one in 1975. I put on American Racing Slot mags 8 inch wide on the back and 6 inch wide on the front. I put air shocks on. I also split the exhaust manifold and ran dual exhaust. Really neat little car. Had lots of fun in it.

Unknown said...

Just a question out of curiosity. How safe is this car?

Just A Car Geek said...

Paul - Probably about as safe as any other late sixties / early seventies car. Crumple zone technology was in its infancy and, of course, air bags were unknown.

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

Learned to drive in one of these--1.1L, got 35-40mpg, top speed depended on the wind direction! Not much for heater in it and the fuse box got wet from the rust holes in the LFF and it had lots of electrical gremlins. Drove it from 1976 to 1980 when the 4 spd transmission locked up--end of the trail!