The Two GM-Car Household Circa 1968

Opel Kadett  Thomas

The real joy of this gig is the comments left by the readers, as any of the writers here will tell you. And when they leave a great old family photo along with the story behind it, it’s icing on the cake. That Opel Kadett B wagon and Bonneville make such a pair. Thomas left this photo at the Opel Kadett CC along with a comment which helps explain it, and one that is familiar to me.

My Family’s first car in the US was a used 1959 Opel Rekord – I don’t remember that one much but when I was four we got a powder blue Kadett Wagon. My mother –  a Berliner  – loved Opels, and in 1978-79 my Sister inherited the car as her first car and then I got it as a hand me down again in 1981 – when I first got it it had never been driven over 50 MPH so I was a bit of a shock to the poor car – but even back then it got amazing gas mileage.

That is until we took it to a mechanic for a tune up and he had apparently wasn’t good with European makes – he went to adjust the carburetor and some spring loaded valve shot out and we couldn’t find parts anywhere by that time. gas mileage dropped massively and running poorly the car died while crossing on the side of a field on a farm. The family there adopted it as a bit of a fort – clubhouse for a few years as we chose to buy another car when I graduated – I miss the simplicity of the car – of course I remember it fondly by I’m betting the reality of it would be a shock!

A great story of the trials and tribulations of owning an Opel or other European car back in the day. And although Tomas didn’t explain the Bonneville convertible sharing the driveway with the little Kadett, I will try. Germans may be known for their frugal ways, but like most folks, they too were utterly seduced by big American cars, especially convertibles. Germans have always had a soft spot for rag tops, and still do. Unless it’s changed, Germany has the highest percentage of convertible car sales of any major country.

I knew plenty of transplants in Iowa and Baltimore that had similar pairings of cars in the driveway, reflecting this dichotomy. And I don’t have to tell you who drove the big American car and who drove the Opel, VW, Studebaker Lark or Valiant.

Thanks, Thomas, for sharing your story, and hope you don’t mind me sharing it to an even larger audience. That’s what CC is all about.

Kadett B CC here