Tuesday, January 19, 2010
San Francisco Street Sighting - 1970 Opel Kadett
Opel's US lineup consisted of the GT sports car and the Kadett compact. The Kadett was available as a coupe, hatchback or two-door wagon and was powered by a small, sub-2-liter four-cylinder engine.
The Kadett was a very popular car in its home market of Germany. It was marketed as a Beetle competitor, and offered the Beetle's level of simplicity and practicality but lacked the Beetle's rustproofing. This would prove epidemic among Opel's lineup for years as the cars rotted away. Car & Driver magazine hated the Kadett for its utterly basic nature.
This is a 1970 Kadett L wagon. "L" indicated a trim level above base. I actually found this car via Google Maps Street View while browsing for cars in San Francisco to find and shoot. It's a fine example of the breed, with a straight and intact body with relatively litle rust despite its urban surroundings and proximity to the ocean. This little wagon could use a coat of paint to spruce it up a bit. As compact cars go, this one has basic, utilitarian lines that give it a curious resemblance to a pint-size Suburban of the same era while maintaining a European flavor. The wheel-to-body ratio is high, making it look like a vehicle intended for low-speed transportation of goods and people rather than spirited driving. Funny thing is, people used to rally the Kadett coupes, so I guess the center of gravity isn't terribly excessive. But then again, when you're turning left to go right and doing 80mph sideways, anything can happen. That is, if it can even do 80mph...