Friday, February 18, 2011

1974 Opel 1900 Station Wagon

Consider this a Manta station wagon. It has the same underpinnings as the Manta, the same engine, the same transmission and even some of the same interior pieces.

This car has some very desirable pieces. It has a Weber carb, which is a mandatory swap on any carburetored Opel. It has air conditioning, which, while not helping the performance at all, is a rare option and one you'll appreciate in the summer. The transmission is a 4 speed manual.

The body is painted Opel's oh-so-seventies orange, but it looks to be rust free. The color can be tough on the eyes, but I'd keep it, just because it's original and perfect on a 1974 car. The awful US mandatory 5 MPH bumpers need to go. You might be able to find a pair of good used pre-1974 bumpers in the US, but most likely you'll need to source a set from Europe. The aftermarket wheels don't look right on this car, but if I remember correctly (I had a couple of Opels in the 1970s), the bolt pattern is the same as a BMW 2002, so any aftermarket wheels available for that car will fit the Opel, too. (I think the offset was the same - or very close - too.)

As I've written before, Opels are good cars. They have no serious flaws (the original carburetors are junk, but that's been addressed on this car) and are reliable if given basic maintenance. (My GT had well over 100K on it when I sold it back in 1982 to help finance my business. To the best of my knowledge - I bought it used sometime in the mid seventies - the engine had never been apart and the clutch was still original. My first Opel - A Kadett wagon, which was also my first car - was t-boned in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant on my high-school girlfriend's birthday. It probably would have kept right on running too, had it not been turned into something shaped similar to the letter "U". - It was one of those surreal moments. The restaurant was fairly big and it was busy that night. A waiter came into the dining area, tapped on a glass to get everyone's attention and then, in a very low, calm, heavily accented voice said "Who owns the red station wagon in the parking lot?" I said that I owned one. He walked over to the table looked at my girlfriend and me, shook his head and said "I'm so sorry, please come outside". I had no idea what was going on until I got to the parking lot and saw my car with a Lincoln firmly planted into the passenger side. It was totaled. On the plus side, we got our dinner for free that night.)

Books could be written about the many ways GM screwed up when it came to marketing Opels in the US. Despite their blunders, Opels sold well for awhile (at one point being the second most popular import, behind Volkswagen) and still have a small, but loyal following here.

Being offered by Opels Unlimited (a place you should get to know if you ever buy any Opel) in Rialto, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.


Max Power said...

But don't you wish you still had that Opel rather than the Moo Goo Gai Pan? :)

Just A Car Geek said...

Ha! Great comment!


Anonymous said...

Hah, my 1st car in red also only mine had an automatic. your right the solex carb was crap.

Anonymous said...

I, too had an Opel hit in a parking lot. I was in High School and at the local arcade on a snowy night and someone came in to tell me his friend had been doing donuts in the parking lot and slammed into my 1971 Manta. The guy who came in was in some of my classes in school and had been riding with the friend who drove away. This guy had demanded he go back and fess up and when he didn't, just bailed on him and walked back to tell me.
The grill was messed up a bit, but what I didn't realize at the time was that the radiator had broken the one center mount at the bottom which allowed it to swing on the two upper mounts and contact the fan. The small smile-shaped arc it cut in the fins began leaking in days and it was off to the radiator shop for a rebuilt one.

Anonymous said...

My first car in high school was an Opel 1900 station wagon. It was a great car until I totaled it.