You have to wonder about GM sometimes. Between the 1940s and 1960s, they were an industrial powerhouse. Deep, deep pockets, technological know-how and widespread popularity. They could have done anything they wanted. So why did they decide to have Buick dealers sell something so anti-Buick as an Opel? An Opel, sold in Buick dealerships, for crying out loud!
As most of our Curbside Commentators know, Vauxhall (UK) and Opel (Germany) were GM’s bread-and-butter European divisions. In the late Fifties, there was a surge of interest in imported cars in the United States. Maybe it was because domestic iron was getting just too big and gaudy, or maybe it had something to do with the 1958 recession and cutting household costs, but at any rate many folks were suddenly buying foreign cars. Even obscure brands, such as Citroen, Hillman and Skoda, saw sales increase. Of course, VW sales went even further through the roof. GM, the land yacht champeen, decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start selling some of their European makes in the States. For whatever reason, Pontiac dealers got the Vauxhall brand and Buick dealers got Opel.
Now, once again, why did they do that? GM had so much cash at the time, why didn’t they invest in free-standing dealerships? How many Bonneville buyers were going to cross-shop a Victor? How many people looking at Electra convertibles were going to decide to buy a Kadett? It’s like GM handicapped their European imports from the get-go. Vauxhall was the first casualty, disappearing from American shores in about 1961. Opel hung on, and with the introduction of the Kadett B (detailed CC here) saw a brief renaissance in the US import market. In 1968, a fastback was added, looking an awful lot like a 3/4 scale Nova.
I spotted our featured CC a couple of days ago, sitting in front of a repair shop. Now, other than a lime green Manta I last saw four or five years ago, I have not seen any Opels around here. They were well-built, but their economical nature meant that most of them were driven into the ground and retired decades ago. So I was very surprised to see this Kadett.
The nice lady behind the counter told me that it was a 1969 model, and that the owner was trying to get it functional. After getting permission to take some photos, I headed outside to check it out. It is in remarkably nice shape, other than the faded red paint and a little rust on the bottom of the front fenders. The vinyl top was in nicer shape than the paint! It’s a local car too. The chrome dealer tag on the back is from Schwind-Boeker, a former Buick-Cadillac dealer in Davenport that closed in the late ’80s. Amazing that this car is still in the area after 43 years.
Due to rising exchange rates (and perhaps partly due to Car and Driver’s gleefully negative article on the Kadett wagon) Opel sales started to slide in the US starting in about 1970. In 1971, the new Opel Ascona was introduced (dubbed the Opel 1900 in the US) and the Kadett became just an Opel.
The Ascona/1900 was a bit bigger and sleeker than the ‘Opel’ and included a new four-door sedan in addition to two-door sedan and wagon models. The ex-Kadett continued as a two-door sedan and two-door wagon; both would disappear after 1972.
The 1900 coupe (which was renamed the Manta in ’73) was especially sharp. In addition to the top-trim Luxus shown above, there was a basic coupe and a Rallye version with blacked-out hood, stripes and fog lamps.
For 1973, the Kadetts were gone, with only the 1900 nee Ascona available to US customers. This was the last year for a full lineup, as inflation and the rise of the German mark were making Opels a much harder sell.
The two-seat Opel GT (CC here) was also in its last year, a victim of declining sales and stricter bumper regulations. There would be no mini-Corvette for 1974.
Some Opels returned for 1974, but the lineup was severely pruned. In addition to the aforementioned GT, all 1900 models were gone, save the 1900 wagon, which was renamed the Manta Sport Wagon. The only other models in the lineup were the Manta coupes, still available in Luxus, Rallye and standard versions.
1975 was the end of the line for German Opels in America. The Manta returned in a single version, as did the Sport Wagon. In an unusual move, the 1900 two-door sedan returned.
All Opels now featured Bosch electronic fuel injection. The 1.9L inline four now produced 81 hp and 96 lb ft of torque. For 1976, the Kadett C would replace the Manta/1900 in the US, but they would be built under license by Isuzu and renamed Opel Isuzu, then Buick Opel for 1977-79.
While not bad cars, they still had to deal with Buick salesmen trying to sell them to their LeSabre and Regal clients, and Opels in any form disappeared from American roads for good after 1979. Ironically, after GM gave up, Isuzu started selling the very same car under their own name as the I Mark, and did much better than the Buick salesmen. How much better would Opel have done in the States if they had dedicated Opel-only dealers, mechanics and salespeople? Could Opel have lasted longer and sold more cars under those circumstances?
Even better, why not rebadge and sell them as small Chevrolets instead of pawning the Vega off on us?
is that an ssr creeping in frame? That is a car/truck that still shocks me gm actually put into production.
That red Kadett is like a little time capsule. I always kind of liked these.
I am not sure I buy the exchange rate argument. By 1975, VW was starting to sell the snot out of the Rabbit over here. Cars like BMW and Mercedes were giving German cars some cache’ in the US. But instead of pushing Opels here as a premium German small car, GM went cheap and co-opted whatever mistique the Opel name had with the Isuzu.
I agree that a dedicated dealer network could have done some good. With all of the crap small cars pushed by GM and Ford in the 70s, Opel could have sold a lot of cars.
Remember though, that by 76-77 VW was already building a plant here in Westmoreland PA to get around the exchange rates.
Opels were not “premium” small cars, they are essentially nicely put together Chevettes, the ones that were being sold here, were never got the nicer Senator and Dipolmat larger cars.
They certainly would have been “premium” cars compared to the Chevettes, Vegas, Pintos, Mavericks and Gremlins that we were getting at the time. You are correct about the VW plant, I had forgotten about that one. I still think that GM could have sold the car based on the “German snobbery” factor that was so successful for VW and, a bit higher up market, BMW’s 2002/320 and that taxicab with the three pointed star on the hood. Audi sold quite a few Foxes over here in that late 70s time period. Reasonably priced “German road cars” have always been an easy sell here since the 70s.
Note: the Opel sold by Buick till ’79 and remarketed as the Isuzu I-Mark was the 3rd generation Kadett, not the Ascona. Kind of ironic that Chevrolet sold a much less well-built 3-door version of that car concurrently: the Chevette. How did GM manage that?
Oops, I meant the Kadett C. Will fix.
Congratulations on finding a Kadett before I ever did, and in the Mid-West, no less. Maybe that’s where they all went to. I can’t remember the last time I saw one; probably in the Bay Area 20 years ago. None to be had here.
I have a 1979 buick opel it runs great and is in great shape, I’m trying to find out how much it might be worth. I can’t seem to find much of anything online. Would you happen to know where I could get this information?
In the US? If it’s a ’79, then it’s not really an Opel, but an Isuzu badged as one.
I have no idea what it’s worth. Try selling it for a certain price and see what happens. I wouldn’t expect much for an Isuzu Opel.
“As most of our Curbside Commentators know, GM has two foreign divisions, Vauxhall (UK) and Opel (Germany).”
Holden (Australia and NZ) is a division of GM as well.
I groaned when I saw that too, it kinda goes down hill at little from there, but then it picks up again when he actually starts writing about the Opels again…….its not bad, but its kinda of the same old “stupid GM” blah blah blah.
Beside those, there are divisions in South Africa and South America. Without doing any research, I believe that they have distinct models, as opposed to being just assembly plants, of which there are many worldwide. Maybe someone knows.
Back then…..sheesh, there were tons of divisions at home and abroad.
GM South Africa
GM do Brasil
Brands outside the US there were really about 4 or 5
Chevrolet(like the ones sold in South Africa and South America, which were many times, Opels, Holdens or some sort of mixture of both)
“But other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
I should have said European divisions, not foreign, that has been corrected. I wasn’t knocking Opel either, just the way they were marketed. That said, my opinion remains my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
There was no place too far for $2 of gas and my old yellow car…
(Sorry my uncle had a yellow Opel in the early 80s.)
I’m not very technically minded, but it seems to me that Opels had an unusual form of valve actuation. While not a true overhead camshaft design, the cam was set very high, and operated the valves through short rockers. Also, on the subject of the Opel GT, our local dealer in Richmond, Dubose Buick, stocked most of them with the 1.1 liter engine, at least initially, instead of the far more desirable 1.9. I cannot imagine why. At any rate, I liked these cars a lot, and might have bought one had I more faith in GMs service and parts support.
Your dealer was apparently a rare exception: the 1.1 liter GT wasn’t common, perhaps because the GT was heavier than the Kadett and didn’t feel very sporting with the little engine. (You could also be outrun by a Spridget, which wasn’t much fun.)
The Opel engine is known as Cam in Head, or CIH. I don’t know what the rationale was, but if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it was intended to provide some of the advantages of an overhead cam (reduced reciprocating mass through elimination of pushrods) while keeping the engine lower and more compact.
Back in those days hydraulic tappets were unheard-of in Europe, so adjusting valve clearances was a problem in OHC engines. In the Jag XK engine you had to measure the clearances, then remove the camshafts and alter the shims between the tappet and valve. With Opels’ engine you could have adjusting crews on the rockers just like a pushrod engine.
You nailed it; as to the reason for that design.
Hmm, hadn’t thought of that. Although by 1972 the CIH had started to get hydraulic lash adjusters, so I suppose it became a moot point.
Always wanted a Manta. Never could find one that didn’t burn copious amounts of oil or had been driven into the ground. sigh
I don’t think there was ever much of a chance for free standing dealerships. GM had decided that every division would have something to sell in every market segment. This is another step in destroying the old Sloan hierarchy.
Didn’t we already go over this a couple of months ago? For my account/experience, go back to that article.
Yes, Buick dealers did sell these. Ackerman Buick in Ferguson, Missouri, for one. A friend bought his new 1969 Kadett kamback there. Lots of fun for the week I enjoyed riding with him in it before I entered the service.
The first picture reminds me of how much like a baby-baby 68 Chevelle the fastback Kadette looks like.
I remember going with my parents to Butlin Buick in Reseda, California (now gone) to have a look at the Opel Kadett. They decided against it, for whatever reason.
You do realize that the current Buicks; LaCrosse, Regal, Verano & Encore are ‘derived’ from Opel developed platforms (Epsilon & Lamda) as are Chevy’s Malibu, Cruze, Volt & Impala (including the 2013 Impala).
And Regal is a total clone of current Opel Insignia, just a grille, badge and nameplate are different. Only we don’t get the HO V6 or 4WD of the Insignia OPC in our Regal GS.
And the Saturn Astra was a rebadged Opel Astra; the Saturn VUE was a rebadged Opel Antara; the Saturn Aura was based on the Opel Vectra; and the Saturn Sky was rebadged as an Opel GT.
Yes I think most of us knew that.
Since my Uncle Tim owned an Opel for most of the late 70s early 80s I’ve teased my dad that I’ll know the Regal is really truly successful if Uncle Tim goes out and buys one.
…and the Cadillac Catera (the Caddy that zigs – ugh!) which was based on a one-generation-old Opel Omega if memory serves me correctly.
Also the Cadillac Cimarron was a second generation Opel Ascona
My first car was a 1973 Opel GT with the 1.9L. Unfortunately, it was an automatic, and the 2-barrel Solex carb would ice up in the winter and vapor-lock in the summer, but man, I loved that car.
When my younger brother got the car, he had swapped in a proper 4-speed manual, put in a hotter cam, slapped on a Weber carb, and added a header. He kept it for many years, but finally sold it several years ago after getting married and having two kids. They decided their “fun” car had to have a backseat, and bought a ’65 Chevelle SS.
I miss the Opel GT.
The author wrote…
“1975 was the end of the line for German Opels in America. The Manta returned in a single version, as did the Sport Wagon. In an unusual move, the 1900 two-door sedan returned. All Opels now featured Bosch electronic fuel injection. The 1.9L inline four now produced 81 hp and 96 lb ft of torque. For 1976, the Ascona B would replace the Manta/1900 in the US, but they would be built under license by Isuzu and renamed Opel Isuzu, then Buick Opel for 1977-79.”
…I’d like to very respectfully correct him: it wasn’t the Ascona B, it was the Kadett C we were sold. The blue sedan posted is the Ascona B, which would eventually be switched to FWD and then cheapened terribly to become the J-car line-up in the US. As for the Kadett, IT would be subsequently sold in uber-cheap form as the Chevette and in perfected form as the Isuzu Impulse (although with a completely new body/interior/drivetrain, I don’t really know how much Opel was left in it).
Wasn’t the Chevette based on a Vauxhall? I’m too lazy to research it…
The T-car began as an Opel project. The Chevette was sold as a Vauxhall (under the Chevette name) starting in 1975, though.
Exactly, the Chevette we got here was substantially redesigned for our market, but you can tell it belonged to Opal/Vauxhall by the window frames which were close, if not identical to the Opal Kadett and the Vauxhall Chevette.
I believe the Kadett and Vauxhall Chevette from this period were nearly identical, if not very similar cars since they both carried the same genes, so to speak and had the same platform to ride on.
Perry, you are correct. The text has been amended.
Any discussion of Opels in the US can’t be complete without presenting an image of what might have been. Why did GM not simply sell locally produced Opels in the US after the Deustche mark began appreciating (which coincided with Malaise in the US and larger, more powerful cars in Germany)? Why were they willing to shell out so much more to Detroitify them? Why didn’t they take more advantage of Isuzu’s Opel-based cars? We got the Chevette, the Japanese this a hot FI twin-cam version:
…GM had enough confidence in Isuzu to let them engineer the follow-up, sold as the Spectrum/i-Mark here (later Stylus, Impulse and Storm), and which diverged from the Opel FWD evolution of the Kadett, which we eventually got as the LeMans. Why not combine the development budget for those two with money spent on marketing captive imports and Detroitifying the FWD Ascona in the US? Why go to all the trouble of NUMMI?
The Spectrum/LeMans/Kadett/Gemini/iMark/Cavalier/Sunbird/Firenza/Cimarron/Skyhawk/Prizm/Nova/Sprint/Metro/Stylus/Storm/Impulse etc could’ve been replaced by very similar but locally built versions of two cars which could have, I dunno, combined the Kadett D (later Kadett E) and Ascona C platforms with Isuzu powertrains and assembly technique. That combination would have saved so much money and stolen so many sales. It also would’ve given the market some awesome cars.
Instead, each market was given compromised versions (except for high end Isuzus and Opels, domestically) of three platforms and multiple engine families. FYI, while we got the Cavalier, Isuzu built the Aska off the same platform and it looks much more modern:
That looks a lot like the Opel Record E. You can even see the diff in the rear. I am not sure this is Cavalier/Ascona based. It could be based on the old rwd Ascona platform but still it looks very much like a Record, also sizewise. Wiki states it is a J platform though. The E on the other hand could be based on the J platform, wiki has no info on that.
Didn’t the Aska have some sort of electric stick shift option? I remember reading about it in an old Road & Track.
The Aska appeared in NZ with Holden Camira badging it was not much of a car with poor road holding abilities compared to the Aussie version the Wikipedia page features my fathers Camira/Aska got with permission from the cohort. Dont be misled into thinking Japanese versions of Opels are superior thr Japanese feature horrible suspension tuning designed for total comfort and the US market at the expense of roadholding for the rest of us who have corners in our roads.
Oh, I completely agree. But picture, if you could, a Pontiac LeMans which was built in the US, with the chassis and body by Opel, but production techniques, and powertrain by Isuzu. Seems entirely plausible.
This was the Chevy Cruz of its day: one platform sold in different countries with different names. I think it was sold by Vauxhall as the Viva, and by GH-Holden as the Torana. For Holden, it filled a niche in their line-up to compete against the small Japanese and European imports, and by manufacturing it in Australia, it could benefit from the very high import tariffs placed on its competitors.
My Dad bought the Torana version in 1971: it was the only Holden he could afford at the time and he wanted a 4 door and didn’t want to buy another VW or buy Japanese (there would be another 20 years before he would do that). He worked 6 .5 days per week in his own business and needing something for those Sunday afternoon drives to the beach or the mountains. This car was perfect for us at the time – it gave us our freedom. It wasn’t large, powerful, or fast, but it was ours and it got us around for a few years. As a small kid I loved the spaceous back seat (I was really young) that had no seat belts, and I sat directly behind the driver. I had my own window I could crank up or down and stare out at the passing scenery uninterrupted by such comforts as a radio or air conditioning. It was great!
Were the Cruze sold with any other names? I think it’s unusual (for GM) that it’s sold as “Chevrolet Cruze” pretty much everywhere. Even in its birth place, South Korea! Not Opel Cruze or Vauxhall Cruze or Daewoo Cruze. The only exception is Australia’s Holden Cruze.
The Viva HB was a completely separate design from the Opel Kadett, but did form the basis of the first Holden Torana. The latter started out as a near clone, save for round headlights and minor trim but evolved into a bigger car, the last with Viva underpinnings being the LJ (1972-4).
A hippy chick friend of our family bought a Kadet in pea green, I think in ’69. Whenever she came to visit I would marvel at the sight of it parked next to our black ’59 Bel Air…. Back then we knew people with VWs, Renaults, Vauhalls, and one uncle even had an MB 190 fintail, but my dad remains determined to this day to stay with American cars.
I remember a long time ago seeing a cartoon – dealer and customer in front of a used car lot. The dealer’s counting money, “…200, 250, 300. Thanks…now get this piece of s— off my lot!” That is how Buick dealers sold Opels, if my experience with my 1971 Opel 1900 sport coupe is any indication.
THe reason GM planted its captive imports at Buick and Pontiac dealers wasnt to sell them to existing landyacht customers the idea was to offer a GM car to peopke who were shopping at the VW or Hillman store nobody shopping for a 4 cylinder economy car is going to buy an aircraft carrier so it made sense to have some thing to sell in that range or the punters would go straight past.
Beat me to it. Yes, the Opel-Buick relationship was a response to pressure from dealers during the late fifties recession for some sort of compact. The senior compacts were in the works, but they weren’t going to be available until 1960, and in the meantime Buick was bleeding (examining their ’58-’59 sales relative to ’55-’57 is instructive here).
And Buick wouldn’t have sold a car comparable to a Kadett until a Vega-based thing (Skyhawk) would they? To me at least it makes sense that the different marques should make different styles of vehicles, and not stray outside of that, and between them cover the market. I do recognise there a flaw with: that is it does not fit well with the dealership structure/distribution.
From what I can gather the Kadett B predates a merger of Opel & Vauxhall cars. Unlike Ford where there are clear points where the cars are shared between Britain & Europe, eg Escort or Mk3 Cortina/Taunus TC.
It appears that the first aspect was the 1972 Victor/Ventora FE series & Opel Rekord D/Commodore B sharing the same floorpan before the Kadett/Chevette T-car went global (ref – http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?3900064-The-Chevette-was-Vauxhall-s-saviour) However many earlier models appear strikingly similar in some body styles but not in others for example earlier Viva/Kadett sedans appear similar but wagons are completely different. Does anyone know of a clear explanation or outline
There are good websites that cover Chrysler (allpar), Rootes/Simca (www.rootes-chrysler.co.uk) and BMC/Austin-Rover but I don’t know of one for GM Europe/Britain – nor for that matter for GM North America where a slight wheelbase change entails a whole new platform (or body) name – alphabet soup!
Funny how time works. Back then Opels were sold in Buick dealers. Now Buicks _are_ Opels!
I lusted after a Kadett B coupe in light green metallic which was parked close to kindergarten. The neighbour’s wife drove an Ascona B ever since I was old enough to notice and she only swapped it for an Omega when I had already left the house. That thing was never washed nor pampered. Sure there was some rust but not much. They never had a problem with it. For real in our street back then there must have been around twenty Opels, one VW Golf, a Ford Escort and a Fiat 127. Holland was Opel centric.
Edit a Omega changed to an Omega
We hopel you’ll drivel the Opel………the Opel, the Opel. We hopel you’ll drivel the Opel, the German economy car.
There was alot of Opel advertising in the late 60’s, with elephants as their mascots.
Also, Buick-Opel provided cars on last 2 seasons of “Get Smart”. Max had an Opel GT in the opening credits, and was used to take “99” to the hospital to have twins. The Cheif drove a ’69 Riviera, too.
Opel had a good image, were popular with older kids in my area, but Buick dealers hated selling them. “Why don’t you buy a bigger car that hugs the road?” Heard of people having trouble getting parts and service.
The parts and service were available, but the prices were kinda nuts, a friend of mine recalls having a 60’s vintage Kadette that he bought for almost nothing in the late 70’s, it needed a flasher, he went to one of the smaller Buick-Opel dealers in town and was quoted $10 for a flasher, when the same part for a domestic GM car was like $3.
It’s too bad today’s high technology laden motorized look alike jelly beans often have the turn signal flasher combined into a $350 Body Control Module instead of being a separate item that would probably sell for $10. That’s progress. 🙁
I remember these back in the day. My first grade teacher had I think a 1970 (or was it a ’71?) Kadett 2 door sedan in that soft yellow they came in. I think I rode in it once to a class outing to NW Trek that spring.
Good friends had a bright blue (think Grabber blue) Manta, I think it was a ’75, might’ve been a ’74 and it had the cool round taillights and rally wheels. Don’t recall them driving it much but it sat in their front yard, along with a white ’75 Rabbit 3 door with a plaid interior.
I’ve always liked these styling wise, that is, the actual Opals, not the I-Mark variant from isuzu that came later.
Yes, Buick sold them and growing up in Buick town, we drove them and we liked them.
Here are the Mini-Brutes at the Chicago Auto Show, complete with optional Elephant:
I’ve never seen one of these in my life. Maybe they were never sold in Canada?
It might just be me but that Kadett looks a whole lot like a 2/3 scale 68-69 Malibu.
I’d like a 1.9 Manta but it’s hard to find one worth restoring- I think they were very rust prone and being cheap cars were not looked after. Not a very quick car but they handled very well- far, far better than the old enemy – the Capri.
As for Buick retailing Opels- I’d guess GM dealers were afraid cheap, reliable German cars would be popular. Keeping the Opel brand on a long leash would keep Chevrolet dealers happy. Ultimately it was protectionism like that which destroyed British car manufacturing.
I just now Realize My Dad Was THAT GUY… he had a 58 Plymouth Wagon That ate itself in 3 years…it was a major POS… Then He Bought a 62 Rambler American Which he Traded for This $2000 in 68 Silver Grey Kadett with Black viynl flooring…Heater n Radio
He gave it To My Sister When He Got An AMC Ambassador as a Co Car… He Had To Pick Those= He said because They All came with AC which The Competion offered (Dodge Coronet) did not.
Here is a Manta I spotted a while back…
Maybe GM knew exactly what they were doing? In 1969 my parents had two kids under 5, and the Opel Kadett was a car, that offered decent fuel consumption, he drove 50 miles each way to and from work, at a price he could afford. In 1975 he traded it in at the same dealership he had bought it, for a 1975 Buick Century Special, AND over the next 35 years, bought 7 more Buicks.
If GM built decent cars, you wouldn’t need 7 of them in 35 years.
Waaaaayyyyy back when a buddy of mine had a ’72 Manta with the 1.9L. He was one of those people that could kill a car just by touching it. Somehow that little Opel made it to around 150k miles in n.e. Ohio before it met its maker sometime in the early ’80s. I’ll never figure out how it made it that long…
I have a 1969 opel kadett ls for sale…… I read a lot of interesting story’s and thought someone might be interested. ….. 562 756 7164
I wondered if the interior of your 1969 Opel is in good condition? Car is located where? Miles? How much are you asking? Automatic or Standard?
I drove a 1969 Opal Kadett that was metallic blue w black interior; often thought how much fun it would be to still own it… I loved my 1st car!! Had lots of fun in it back in 1969-1973!!
1969 opel kadett ls
My Dad had a 1969 Opel Kadett Coupe. He bought it to drive back and forth to work. Then my sister would drive it when she got her license. This was back in ’75-’76. She said it was great. Fill it up on $2 and drive all night. I never got the chance to drive it on the road. By the time I was old enough to drive Dad had retired it. The front end was shot and it was too expensive to repair or he couldn’t get the parts.
Tom, Schwind Boeker only sold Buicks and later GMC, never Cadillacs. Warren L. Langwith was the Davenport Cadillac Dealer and also had Pontiac. Schwind Boeker was originally downtown on Harrison street, and later moved out to a new location on Brady north of Kimberly. Warren L. Langwith was on Ripley and 4th across from the Courthouse. Langwith was not only a dealer for Cadillac, but a distributor for many years. His son in law, Ken Stringer, took over the business and later sold it to Hanley Dawson out of Chicago, and then they moved to the site on Kimberly near I-74 that has changed hands many times. As I remember, the Quad City Buick Dealers started carrying Opels in the late 50s or early 60s. Bob Maloney’s sister, Betty Duyvejonck, lived across the street from where I used to live and across from my aunt and uncles in Rock Island, and they had a new Kadett in the late 60s. I went to school with Walter Klockau’s son, John.
Could it be that GM saw Opel as adding to the Buick line-up and not competing with it? The customers weren’t comparing Buicks with Opels but maybe Opels with Peugeot, Alfas and VWs?
This was another great CC article, by the way with lovely visuals.
Right now Opel has a great range of cars in Europe. If the Buick equivalent is not rated, the Insignia is doing well. You can get a V6 with 4 wheel drive. The Astra is looking nice (as usual: all Astras are well styled cars) and the Zafira MPV is super smooth to drive. Check out the interior options for the Meriva. It might be a minivan but it can be very Brougham if you wish.
THEY USED TO BE BADGED “OPEL BY BUICK” ON THE TRUNK.
I enjoyed reading the comments, you guys really know your Opels. I had one like the one in the attached photo(same color) a 1969 Opel Kadett Rallye when I was in high school in 1972. It was my first car that I bought from a used car lot that my dad reluctantly cosigned for. I think I paid $650. or $750. for it, it was a fun car. I do remember though having to push start it quite often lol, I think it was a carburetor issue. My sister bought a new 1972 Opel Manta when she was in college, that was a nice looking car too I thought. I wish I still had it!
My sister bought a new Opel in 1973. She made good money in the adult film business.