Opel B Kadett from Bert van Helden

Opel B Kadett
ER Classics Desktop 2022

AMK reader Bert van Helden responded to our call via the banner to write under all articles about the classic in which he drives himself. And his classic, that is an Opel B Kadett.

The Opel B Kadett

That was another Opel where it was advisable to replace the water pump every thirty thousand kilometers. For the rest, the Opel B Kadett was simply enormous Opel: simple, extremely reliable and super easy to maintain.

The first post-war Opel Kadett was mainly conceived to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle. He did so convincingly. In three years - from 1962 to 1965 - Opel sold just under 650.000 Kadetts, which was a record. That tasted like more and Opel already managed to come up with a successor in 1965.

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The Opel B Kadett (1965 - 1973)

It became the Opel B Kadett, which was presented at the Frankfurt motor show in September. The car was much more modern than its predecessor. He no longer 'smelled' of the XNUMXs and had grown all around. This especially benefited the interior space. Moreover, from that moment on it was available with four doors and that made them pretty nasty at VW. Fortunately for the Beetle builders, the Opel was considerably more expensive. But you got a more spacious and more modern car for that.

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With an Opel B Kadett you could be the pride of the street. Under the hood, there was a choice of brave four-cylinder pushrod engines that were all equally accessible. They varied in volume from 1078 to 1897 cc (45-90 hp). The latter reached a top of 160 km / h. The Kadett B became an even bigger success than the Kadett A, and the 'B' also remained in production longer. Between 1965 and 1973, more than 2.000.000 were made. And then we're only talking about the sedans.

Sobriety as an asset

The saving versions were really basic. They had no adjustable backrests, no carpet on the floor, a long poker, no power brakes. And a steering wheel like a hoop. With 1100 cc, such an Opel was not really heavily motorized. But that did not prevent people from taking a vacation with them when you needed another day to get to Liège and another day to get out of it. Father, mother, two children, potatoes and a saucepan with meatballs under the front seat. The daughter of an adventurous father told about a trip through the Alps. There they found slopes that were so steep that mother and children had to get out to keep the Opel moving.

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After the third or fourth owner it was usually over for those brave Opels

Then they were struck by rust. Or died drastically from the consequences that quite a few components were interchangeable at Opels. In what was once started as an 1100 a 1900 cc block could be spooned fairly simply. Because you are young and you want something. However? That adjustments to the brakes and suspension included? Oh well ... The officially faster versions of the Kadett performed better there, but of course the wonderfully conventional chassis had its limitations. But still: strong power in combination with rear-wheel drive? That's a party!

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Not for eternity

No matter how good the content was, they were made at the time when nothing was actually done about rust prevention. The places where there is double sheet metal work and the A columns can therefore be hopelessly damaged. Fortunately, the Kadetts still fall under the laws of large numbers: There is still quite a bit of donor material left. And there are still residual batches of NOS, whereby it must be noted that the fit of reproduction plates is often below average.

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The golden-yellow rascal in the photos came to Bert's property five years ago. Before that, a five-year restoration and eight-year sleep and dream time were in the showroom of an Opel dealer in the east of the country. The Opel is maintained in-house. Isn't that such a happy ending? Berts Opel has even received star allures!




Leave a Reply
  1. At that time it was better to mount an imitation water pump than one from Opel. They both broke down anyway.

    It was not a fancy car, the Kadett B, more a purebred workhorse. The standard version even had inner lining that was partly made of cardboard. But you came everywhere with it, although he did not like the mountains. This was due to the strange proportions in the gearbox: a short 1 and 2, a relatively very long 3 and 4. For example, the Kadett in the city gave a sporty feeling, while on the outside it was economical and quiet again. But oh dear if you had to go into the Ardennes, Vosges or Alps, then the smallest 1100N engine with 45 hp and 75 kN was really not enough to come along. The 1100S had 55 hp and the 1200S 60 hp, a big difference.

    The “Bochum” engine with underlying camshaft is indestructible, the gearbox always gets hassle with the synchromesh between 3 and 2. The brass radiator is not the strongest part and keep an eye on the engine mounts and the cuffs of the steering rods.

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