Vauxhall Senator (1978-1987)

Opel Senator front

Opel Senator - Class for the ordinary class

For invalid car people, drop the name 'Opel Senator' and there will be a reaction along the lines of 'oh yes, my guilty pleasure'. It cuts through your soul like a lightning bolt, even if you have nothing to do with the brand. For years the limousine from Rüsselsheim seems to have been forgotten. But now the interest in the A generation is starting to increase. This requires further consideration. 

Text & photography: Aart van der Haagen, archive

In the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties, Opels were the darlings of the Dutch public. But the success of the archetypal civilian cars began to turn against the brand in the new century. Suddenly the general public no longer wanted to be associated with the popular image and sought other volume brands. The gray mediocre looked away from the mirror that Opel held out to him, so to speak. 

That also reflected on the classics, with the exception of guns like a 1900 GT, an Ascona and Manta 400. Moreover, the revised tax system for old-timers was particularly inconvenient for a large, heavy sedan like the Opel Senator, which screams for LPG with its greedy fuel consumption. At least, in the view of the frugal Dutchman. 

Positive flight 

Remarkably, interest in this limousine - and its coupé brother Monza - has taken off in recent years, which is reflected in a significant increase in value. Car enthusiasts can apparently no longer suppress their secret longing for the elegant, stately model with sumptuous velor upholstery. The icing on the cake for the Opel Senator is a sovereign six-cylinder in-line engine with an indestructible design. 

In the open

With such an exclusive sedan from Rüsselsheim, you acquire a classic as stylish as it is robust, which performs decently or even spicy. It also has particularly good driving characteristics, offers a generous degree of comfort and - in most cases - spoils the ears with the pure sounds of a six-cylinder in-line engine. In terms of interior space, the Opel Senator does not run away from a Rekord E, but it is a good place in the cabin with its comfortable seats and luggage always finds a place in the 500-liter trunk. 

Maybe also interesting: Opel Kadett GT / E. Rare and peppery coupe

Technically, the Opel Senator will not soon come up with nasty surprises, unless the previous owner has neglected it, which can generally be seen in cosmetic matters. But rust is considered a major enemy of the Senator and really not only with the early types from the seventies. Still, the car is hardly worse off on that front than many competitors. Now that interest in this German limousine is growing and prices are rising, it is time to bring the guilty pleasure into the open and to strike. After all, regret always comes too late. 

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