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Opel Kadett B Coupé. On the road with a beloved classic

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In 1965 Opel presented the Kadett B at the IAA in Frankfurt. The car became a success and was built in many versions until 1973. We found such a Kadett at Carrosso in Oldemarkt. A Modell 92 coupé in the standard L-version from 1971, painted in Pampasgrün and equipped with the 1100 N engine. The Opel had been standing still for a while. So it's high time to entrust this Kadett to the environment again.

The Opel looks good and also benefits from the L equipment. That means: chrome trim, aluminum window frames and an interior that was beautifully finished at the time. The condition is original, there are only doubts about the black letters in the grille because they were officially expired in 1971. Now that we are in the vicinity of the engine: everything is neat under the hood and you will find a ballroom of space . And an oil filler cap that is historically one of the few parts of this car that is incorrect.


Beautiful materials, enough luxury

In the coupé you can see why you are in the luxury version. Behind the classic steering wheel with three forward-curved spokes you will find a set of instruments with a water temperature and fuel gauge on the left, a centrally placed speedometer and on the right side a clean-running Kienzle clockwork.

Fine padding

You also see carpet and beautifully finished door panels with a card compartment on the left. In the middle, Opel placed the shorter lever, which is surrounded by a beautiful panel with the Opel logo. And you will find beautiful upholstered furniture, for example. Speaking of upholstery: this also applies to the dashboard, which also has a deep and top-opening box (or rather: box) mounted.

Waking up after a long standstill

The Kadett wakes up after a long standstill and it takes a while for the 1078 cc OHV power source to rotate nicely. At first this happens on the manually operated choke, but even after a while it still has a life of its own. Only after a longer period does the engine run smoothly, and we can also appreciate the Kadett while driving. Despite the once specified 45 DIN-HP of the 1078 cc engine, the Kadett makes quite a spry impression. The Opel pulls (in some relativity) reasonably through to a speed of 100 kilometers per hour, the gear ratios (with a short one and two) help very well with that. The acceleration feels quite lively.

Lively chassis, lively body.

Talk about lively. the interplay of damping and the fairly limited absorption capacity of the mounted suspension (the Kadett already had coil springs at the rear, in addition to a rigid axle and a Panhard rod) also deserves that qualification. The effect of this is a body that is constantly in motion. The light-feeling steering also always requires small straight-ahead corrections. The inherently limited traction is partly to blame for this and it also influences the braking manoeuvres. The Opel has trouble with the concept stable braking stability. Finally: even at a slight bend, the roll tendency is already quite large. The historical findings confirm our view of the typical driving characteristics. Also around 1971, these were not the strongest point of the Opel Kadett-B in combination with the technical basic equipment, although they can certainly be lived with.

Enough advantages, nice furniture, ease of use

But there is enough to praise Opel's historic hit. The engine likes to show what it is doing, but the noise reduction is reasonably okay by 1971 standards. The front seats, which also provide excellent lateral support, are excellent and they also offer a deep and beautiful seat. The freedom of movement on board is sufficient, which also applies to the ease of use. Buttons and levers are well within reach. And via the short lever you shift with fairly short gear and with feeling through the four synchronized gears.

Good constructive basis, but maintenance is required due to longer downtime

In terms of construction, the Opel Kadett-B is logically put together anyway, and thanks to the traditionally very reliable and in fact simple to maintain technology, it offers sufficient basis to enjoy it as a classic driver for a long time. The condition is that the report copy is properly inspected because of the longer standstill and that it receives a good service.

Popular on the go

Anyway: you also please bystanders with the Kadett-B. The number of positive reactions during the impression was considerable. And a photo of an Opel Kadett-B always does well online. That is not without reason, because it evokes beautiful memories and is today an attraction with its classic shapes. The Kadett-B is therefore a welcome guest, certainly also in the outfit in which we drove it.

Statement for historical success

Memories and nostalgic considerations are not the only explanations for this. Anyone who used to buy a Kadett-B knew that he or she did not buy a car with balanced driving behavior. But that consideration was not against the knowledge that you then (also thanks to the large trunk space) practically usable, well screwed together, technically simple and extremely reliable family car in your hands. A car that, moreover, because of a favorable cost, never gave the owner financial headaches. In addition, the entry-level versions certainly had clear purchase prices.

Unpretentious and loved

Add to this the unpretentiousness of the versatile model range and the explanation for historical success is there. Because an Opel Kadett-B had a lot, but no haircut. A luxury version with a different body also contributed to the popularity of this Opel model range. On a beautiful spring day in the vicinity of the Weerribben we noticed what that means today.

Thanks to Carrosso, Oldemarkt 

 

 

11 Comments

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  1. In the 80s and 90s we regularly participated in the well-attended motor crosses in the Belgian and Dutch border region. If possible we (at least I did) crochet with an Opel kadett. At least those were cars you could count on and they kept running no matter how hard you beat them! Once I won the cross with such an Opel, and it was buckled in the middle, the steam flew from the broken radiator, but the exhaust was still like new and you could barely hear the engine running there on the cross! A funny sight, of course. I just want to say, the reliability of such a car was legendary !!

  2. Beautiful car, cherish and drive it!

    In the past also driven with B-Kadett, the advantages mentioned in the text are indeed correct. And the mentioned driving behavior too: slower than a Duck and swabbing like an old, soaked mop. The car that just about invented 'motion sickness'. But yes, as Cor van der Laak said: “Kadett, cornerstone of the family!”.

  3. I see something else strange. The air filter is of the oil bath type and is from an earlier series Kadett. This series should include a flat air filter housing with a paper element and a summer and winter position. The alternator does fit the year of manufacture. Previously there was a DC dynamo.

  4. Oh yes, such a sporty Opel coupe with an N-engine that continues in its 1 and 2 is indeed a nice look back at the time….
    You can indeed recall that this was the ultimate sports car for Jan-the-worker-with-a-family-where-dad-secretly-bought-a-sports-car-to-make-the-flash.
    In France, England and especially Italy they had much more exciting family sports cars for it. Partly for that reason, such a Kadetje is now also fun, even touching.

  5. That oil cap is definitely not original, neither is the grille. But it suits him. If necessary, the original fuel cap also fits as an oil cap, so it is best to get it.

    I still belong to the generation that can dream how the B-Kadett smells, how the engine runs and with what sound the doors slam. An unpretentious workhorse, but at the same time Opel was so smart to have a Kadett for everyone: eight body variants, seven engines, three trim levels and at the end four special action models. There is a world of difference between the Kadett standard with 1100N engine and the Rallye Kadett 1900S, not to mention the Olympias. All engines are virtually indestructible with normal use and maintenance.

    The Kadett was meant to knock the Beetle off his throne and it worked. Deliberately, the designers almost over-corrected all the drawbacks of the Beetle: the Kadett had a colossal trunk, a smooth water-cooled front engine ("where it belongs" according to the brochure), plenty of glass all around and, as one of the very first European cars, even curved around glass, an effective stove, a good comfort for that time with a low noise level. The Kadett was also quite economical: the 1100N ran a neat 1:14. There were also disadvantages: the front fenders were as thin as paper due to the crumple zones and quickly rusted. Due to its small wheels and high structure, the Kadett was also sensitive to side wind and so lightweight that it mattered a lot whether you were in it alone or with five people.

    The Kadett became the best-selling car in Europe in 1968. Only in the mountains he was less strong, due to the already mentioned weird gear ratios with his short 1 and 2 and then very long 3 and 4. That is why it was built in Switzerland (GM Biel) as Opel Ascona 1700S. It was potent enough to conquer the Alps but has never been sold here.

  6. Nice article, beautifully preserved Opel Kdet B.
    Be a subscriber to your magazine and check every one
    month to look forward to. Own a BMW E30 BAUR
    from 1984 in top condition (restored)
    also nice versatile cars

  7. Beautiful car in ditto color. When will you still see it: pure, no-nonsense, simply beautiful.

    The oil filler cap strikes me: it has almost every recent VW
    'Oil must not exceed maximum mark to avoid damage to catalyc converter'
    I never thought this text was funny, until now in this car ...

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