Cohort Sighting: Chevrolet Opala – Body by Opel; Engine by Chevrolet

Chevrolet Opala

Rivera Notario spotted this elderly Chevrolet Opala in Santiago, Chile, and posted it at the cohort. The Opala was an important step in GM’s Brazilian ops to build a local car, after decades of  assembling NA GM cars and trucks. There was some discussion as to whether that should be small, like the Opel Kadett, or the next size up, the Opel Rekord. The bigger car got the nod, but the Opel engines stayed home, as the Opala is a Chevy II under the hood: either the 153 CID (2.5 L) four or the 230 CID (3.8 L) six. That eventually led to some interesting higher performance developments, especially the six. 

Chevrolet Opala  74-01_jpg

Notario only posted on shot, so I’ll augment a bit. The Opala arrived in 1968; here’s the 1974 lineup, with the sedan and three levels of coupe, including the SS coupe in the back.

Chevrolet opala ss 1974 4100

The SS 4100 coupe sported a warmed-over version of the 250 CID six, rated at 169 hp. Some sources sources suggest it had a four-barrel carb,

Chevrolet Opala 250 S engine

But this picture from wikipedia shows one set up for racing, and with what looks like a Weber two-barrel downdraft carb. It was backed up by a four speed transmission, and very much Brazil’s home-grown muscle car of the era.

chevrolet opala caravan-03

A two-door wagon (“Caravan”) was also on tap, and form the looks of it, available in SS trim. This one appears to by from the mid-late 70s.

One last detail: one might naturally assume that the name “Opala” was an amalgam of Opel and Impala, but it was actually selected by a journalist from thousands of names submitted in a contest. Of course, that might have still been on the mind of the person that submitted the winning bid, or the journalist. But it certainly works well enough.