Time had come to deal with my long-suffering ’68 VW Beetle, and provide it with a much delayed tune up. The pandemic hadn’t been kind to the human body or psyche, and inert machines hadn’t fared well either (not the most common plight in mainstream media, I admit). While my Beetle sputtered and faltered at idle after a year without use, a few of my friends classics had done far worse; one rare AMC sat in a flooded garage for days, with its owner oblivious to its condition during those days of restricted mobility. Comparatively speaking, I had little to complain about.
On my way to the garage, I was dealing with my somewhat-reluctant Beetle at a traffic light, holding the gas open to keep it from dying when in the distance… what do I see? An old Opel? Well, it’s going to be hell to capture that one! In this heavy holiday-shopping traffic? Better use video.
Yes, it was a dowdy Kadett A (on the left, in the above video capture). Probably refurbished to some degree, with its bright aqua lacquer looking very clean and shiny. It appeared pretty straight from the distance, with grille in place, and no major signs of corrosion. Should I pursue it with my sputtering Beetle?
Why not? Traffic was heavy and slow though. Would I even get close before inevitably losing it amidst the many holiday-shoppers swarming around?
After a few blocks of slow going, the couple of vehicles separating us took side streets. And there, for a brief moment, with my light blue Beetle behind it; a parade of two color-coordinated ’60s German cars materialized in San Salvador’s traffic. Sorry, lacking a 30 feet selfie-stick, you’ll just have to imagine the scene.
The Opel looked to be in serviceable order. No extraneous noises, no rough idle that I could tell; moving leisurely with all windows open. The 60 year old car appearing oddly formal and frail against a sea of aggressive looking -yet very tame- Asian cars. Odd to think that our 2-car parade consisted of two former rivals. Odder to think on the fate of both companies in hindsight. Back in ’62, few would have predicted the current outcome.
The encounter didn’t last, and after losing sight of the little Kadett, I sputtered away to deal with my own idiosyncratic German. The Kadett A is still missing a proper CC entry (a Vauxhall Viva, its corporate sibling, is the closest on the archives), but for a brief moment this past holiday season, a window into the late ’60s seemed to materialize, in moving manner no less.