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Earlier this week, Søren wrote about a rare coupé which could be purchased at very sensible money. He focused on an Oldsmobile Starfire. But what if you’re more inclined to stick to a European product? – or a product known for better quality than the Starfire? Fear not, as there are indeed options out there for you too…

Maintaining the recent theme of featuring classics which stand out in some way without necessarily costing an arm and both legs, this week’s ViaRETRO Prime Find was unearthed during one of my regular trawls through carandclassic.com. My bias towards 60’s and 70’s cars means I usually start my (entirely hypothetical, since I have no room for another car at the moment) search in that section of the website. This invariably throws up all the usual suspects from MGB’s over TR’s to various hot Escorts, but every now and then something more unusual appears… like this very pretty – and rare, certainly in the UK – Opel Kadett B Coupé.

Over the years I’ve generally been somewhat indifferent towards GM Europe’s offerings, but there have been a number of exceptions – mostly the coupé variants. I’ve always loved the Manta A, my favourite Opel (an itch I’ve yet to scratch) and am a fan of the coupé versions of both the Commodore A and B, Rekord P2 and C, and Opel GT – all cars I would happily have in my garage.

The saloons on which all these coupés are based have generally been both worthy and capable, but also unexciting. The coupé versions, however, seem to have that soupçon of extra style and elegance which makes each of these models that bit more enticing and desirable.

The Opel Kadett B (1965-1973).

The Kadett B range was introduced in July 1965, following the very successful Kadett A model, of which almost 650,000 were built at Opel’s Bochum factory in only three years. The B remained in production for 8 years, with almost 2,700,000 built, making it one of Opel’s most successful models. It also provided the basis for the Opel GT, and over the years some of the engines were shared with the Manta, Ascona and GT.

A number of engines were made available for the Kadett B, the main ones being of 1.1 and 1.2-litre capacity, endowing it with moderate performance even for the day – a maximum speed of 125 km/h being achievable with the base 1.1-litre. But the car was also offered with a 1.7 and even a 1.9 litre, 90hp engine, the latter most popular in the “sporty” Kadett Rallye Coupé, complete with go-faster stripes and all.

But the Kadett was of course a car for the masses, and over its lifetime, the vast majority of Kadett B’s were sold with a variant of the 1.1-litre engine – 2,300,000 in fact, with 143,000 1.9’s and only 95,000 1.2’s.

These were the early stages of Opel and Vauxhall’s platform sharing, which by 1985 led to all Vauxhall’s being essentially Gryphon-badged Opel’s. The Kadett A looks very similar to the Vauxhall Viva HA, though it’s successor, the Viva HB, is quite different to the Kadett B. Interestingly though, the Kadett B was over its eight year lifespan effectively offered with three different types of coupé bodies. The first introduced in 1965 had a distinctly upswept rear side window and three slats on the wide C-pillar, reminiscent of the gills on a fish, hence its nickname “Kiemencoupé” which translates to Gill-Coupé. While the Kiemencoupé remained in production until 1970, two other variants were introduced in 1967. There was the Fastback which despite its sloping rear wasn’t really viewed as a real coupé by Opel, which perhaps also explains why it was available in both two-door and four-door versions. But then there was the new Coupé F, which was indeed a real and proper coupé. It had a slightly altered roofline and larger rear side windows than its Kiemencoupé cousin, which in turn also gave it a slimmer C-pillar. Both the Fastback and the Coupé F remained in production until the demise of the Kadett B in 1973.

The Opel Kadett B “Kiemencoupé” (1965-1970).

The Opel Kadett B Fastback (1967-1973).

The Opel Kadett B Coupé F (1967-1973).

“Our” car is the Coupé F variant and comes with the 1.2-litre engine, so it’s a relatively rare animal. Offered as a private sale by its owner in Oxfordshire, it’s a 1972 registered car that goes by the name of “Duke” (no explanation given). The car has had only three owners including the seller, who has built up a file on the car during his ownership. Prior to him purchasing the Kadett, it was restored by an (unnamed) specialist, with a record of that restoration also accompanying the car. Other than that, however, very little is known of its earlier history. No mileage is quoted.

It’s been the seller’s daily driver for some years, but it seems that circumstances dictate that it’s time for “Duke” to lead a quieter life, hence the sale. There are a handful of (not particularly good quality) photos with the ad – I’m sure more will be provided for interested parties – but it does look terrific in those photos, with an eye-catching and very period-appropriate bronze finish. It sits on equally-period, though non-standard, Rostyle wheels. And best of all, it can all be yours for the fairly restrained sum of £ 6,000, which currently equates to approximately Euro 6,700.
Here are a couple of pictures borrowed from the advert:

While the information available in the advert itself is relatively scant, if you’re in the market for a small, little-seen 1970’s coupé, the car looks sufficiently intriguing to warrant further digging. It certainly stands out; howmanyleft.com doesn’t break the model numbers down to this detail, but currently only one 1972 Kadett – probably this very one – is shown as on the road. Is that exclusive enough for you?
If so, you’ll need the link to the advert: 1972 Opel Kadett B 1.2 Coupé

 

With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek@viaretro.co.uk

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3 Responses

  1. YrHmblHst
    aahh…synchronicity er sumpin ; I was just looking at Opels last night and just made a comment on the prior post concerning them.
    We got these over here, tho not with the small engine. Always preferred the Manta or the 1900 [Ascona] to these personally; but thought the little ‘Rallye’ coupes were kinda neat. Whilst regaling my wife with the coolness of an Ascona in hemmings, I thought of these and looked up some ads for them; my fondness for this model may be attributed to the US advertising for these nearly always incorporating an elephant… the ‘nickname’ given this model over here was ‘mini Brute’ , and there were elephants everywhere in the cars promotion. I like elephants…

    [oh…and note that, in reference to an earlier post, the whitewall tyres simply do not look right on these cars…]

    Reply
  2. Tony Wawryk
    the Manta A was the car I wanted for my first car back in the late ’70’s, but couldn’t find one that I could afford. I’ve always loved the sleek styling, and would be happy with either 1600 or 1900 versions, though preferably the latter. Good ones are starting to fetch decent money in Europe (EUR 15 – 20k+) and I’ll probably end up waiting too long as I don’t want to sell my 02 yet and I don’t have room for a second car…
    Reply

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