V8 Swap? Cheap 1970 Opel Kadett Wagon

We all sit too much, there’s no question about it. They say that sitting is the new smoking, as in that’s what’ll cause a lot of our collective health problems over the next few decades. I do sit a lot but this 1970 Opel Kadett wagon has been sitting for 30 years, that has even me beat. It can be found here on craigslist in Willmington, Deleware. They’re asking a mere $900 for this little charmer. Thanks to Roger for sending in this tip!

This is the only other exterior photo but it sure looks good from the two that the seller has provided. I see some rust on the bottom of the LF fender and I’m guessing that the right side looks similar. There may be other rust here and there and underneath given the east coast location of this car. Some additional photos would be great. The 1970 Kadett was known as a Kadett B and it was just a bit bigger than the first model, the Kadett A was. That’s a trend that we see now with every new generation of vehicle just a little fatter and taller and longer. Give me a small car any day, crash or not, I don’t like giant vehicles for the most part.

This is it for interior photos but it looks fairly good in there other than being incredibly dirty. I also see a crack on the dash which won’t be fun or cheap to fix or replace. I’d want to see the floors and underside on this car and they do say that the floors and rockers have rust. I’m always worried about “hidden” rust, I’ve been burned before and lost money selling a car with painted-over rust and it was about as annoying trying to talk to someone about a Delorean and having them say flux capacitor every five minutes.

I believe this is the 1.1L inline-four which would have had 63 hp, not the bigger 1.9 cam-in-head engine. Anyone? Howard? It looks like it’s missing a couple of things and that gas tank on the fan shroud is probably to keep the 30 years worth of gunk in the gas tank from running through the freshly-rebuilt carb. It runs and drives but needs help with the brakes due to sitting for three decades. $900 seems like a good deal to me when these cars can sell for $15,000-$20,000 in restored condition. Are there any Opel Kadett fans out there?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    A “Dopel” wagon, alright. Scotty delivers yet again. I hate when Scotty asks me something, he’s forgotten more than I know, but, I do know this one. It’s the cam-in-head motor, probably the 1.9. They did make a 1.5 CIH( for export) and a 1.7, but by 1970, most of these had the 1.9. Opels were good cars, certainly better than most imports at the time, before the Asians kicked in, but soon lost it to the Asians, as they gained steam. The 1.9 was a good motor, not the fastest, nor the most economical, and the worst part was that junk Solex carb. On my Opels, I replaced that carb with an Autolite 2 barrel off a Pinto, with much better results and urge the new owner to do the same. What a find, for a grand, if it was near me, I’d go for it. I would NOT take this across the country and shipping would equal the cost of the car. Parts? That’s a good question. I suppose the internet is your best bet there, as most Autozone employees probably never heard of an Opel.

    13
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, Howard! I saw both the 1.1L and 1.9L engines as being available in this car for 1970. This seems like a great buy to me at $900.

    • local_sheriff

      Howard; locating parts shouldn’t be difficult. There are numerous shops in Germany and the Netherlands that spezialize in vintage Opel parts. More and more bits turn up as repops as such Opels are becoming increasingly popular there

  2. Darrun

    I had a wagon that looked exactly like this with the 1.1. It was abandoned at my brothers service station, due to a water pump that wasn’t readily available to someone that was actually traveling in it. A friend and I lifted engine and the transmission out by hand,…many years ago. Engine was quite smaller than the 1.9 and the transmission was tiny.
    1.1
    In 1965, the engine was enlarged for use in the all new Kadett B. Displacement was 1,078 cc (66 cu in) with a bore enlarged to 75 mm (3.0 in) stroke remained at 61 mm (2.4 in). The 11N (normal compression) produced 33 kW (44 hp) and 37 kW (50 hp) after 1971. The 11S produced 40 kW (54 hp); in 1966 a special power version was introduced, the 11SR with 44 kW (59 hp).

    Applications:

    1965-1973 Opel Kadett B
    1967-1970 Opel Olympia A
    1968-1970 Opel GT 1100

  3. Miguel

    There is that rattle trap my neighbor had.

    No thanks

    • Johnmloghry

      I had a 69 wagon 1.1 liter automatic yellow in color. I also had a 67 Kadett coupe 1.1L four speed manual red in color. Great little cars and got 40 mpg. But it’s to far away for me.
      God bless America

  4. Edselbill

    I recall this model specifically because it is the subject of the most damaging car review ever produced by a media publication. Especially at a time when every review was always pretty polite and wasn’t very critical — this review changed automotive journalism. Worth a read….

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/the-opel-kadett-asassination-by-car-and-driver/

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I remember reading that, Edselbill. It’s almost like the clowns at Top Gear loading down a Reliant Robin 3-wheeler to the point where it tipped over constantly and now that ridiculous scene is etched in everyone’s brain and will be until the end of time. You can’t even mention one anymore without someone posting a pic of that thing tipping over, ugh. Thanks for posting that link, it’s very interesting to see how much power C/D had in those days.

    • Little Cars

      An online article from 2012-2016 is hardly a testament to this car in its own time.

      Agree, now in the age of social media, that every review, of every product, becomes overly critical fast. It started about the time of this article.

  5. Ted

    I like these little cars, and the pseudo Moon discs make this. And reviews for the regular everyday cars that most everyday people drove were for the most part written by journos who tried to use the Thesaurus for as much of their column as they could while beating up on cars they felt they were being punished for by having to write said column on them.

  6. Mountainwoodie

    Some things never change :)

  7. Stephen Murray

    Article aside…I had a 1968 Opel Kadett wagon and loved it. I replaced the engine with a 1970 GT 1.9L. I was reliable and simple and made many trips from California to Oklahoma and back. The best part of working on the engine was that the whole body lifted up of the front axle and you could roll the engine around with the transmission on the front wheels-its own engine stand!

  8. Gérard Planche

    Nopelmad!

  9. Graham Line

    I’ll allow a big block swap if you promise to keep the transverse leaf front suspension. That ought to be fun.
    The 1900/Ascona that followed this is so much better a car.

  10. Jeff

    A friend had one – very reliable, but to small for me.
    I have his bigger brother, the Opel Rekord Caravan 1967.
    Daily driver since 10 years, no issues whatsoever.

    • local_sheriff

      Great Caravan there Jeff! It’s in fact not the Kadett’s big brother, rather the bigger big brother as the Ascona filled the gap.
      Believe it or not, by European standards such a Rekord was considered a large family car back in the day.
      Any idea whether those were imported into the US on a regular basis?

      • Miguel

        Sheriff, I believe those cars are available in Mexico.

        I have seen them advertised.

  11. Wayne

    I always liked these. Customers brought them n for service but never had any issues. I hate cars that have stupid things happen like fuel lines that fall off the bottom of the car and start dragging on the pavement. (Rav4s) or power door locks that all fail one week after the other once the warranty is done. (CRVs) or vehicles that decide to crack open the rear differential wide enough while driving down the highway to completely lose all the fluid. (Large Toyota SUVs)
    I was almost rear ended by an Opel Kadett wagon. The driver at the last second swerved to the right and took a rolling header down into the ditch and still landing on it’s wheels. All it did was pop out the windshield complete with the seal still attached. He tossed the unbroken windshield though the now gaping hole onto the right front passenger seat and we all helped to push him out of the ditch and he drove away and going to be on time for work. Tough little car.

  12. Alexander

    My music teacher GAVE me a 1970 Opel Kadett. She had a fender bender and pierced the radiator enough to overheat on the accident scene. She got spooked by that and gave the car to me! My sister had a white wagon like the Barn Find. Both memorable cars, a bit tiny, that held up well given the abuse us kids put them through. Sister really liked her wagon and later I was able to part it out for my coupe in order to make some money on it.

  13. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    That’s the cih eng not the little 1.1L ohv.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the info on the engine, Sheffieldcortinacentre.

  14. TimM

    It’s good to have a history lesson on the Opel wagon!!! Thanks everyone!!! I would definitely want a 350 under that hood!!! I wouldn’t want a1.9 anything!!!

  15. stillrunners

    Is it me or is that motor a little to the right ? Motor mount ? Like these little competitors….buddy has one in his salvage yard…….

  16. KevinLee

    Going to ask the same thing. Motor is aiming off to the right.

    • rustylink

      one of the weak points with Opel’s – the eat motor mounts. Anyone attempting a V8 swap better have a hellva lot of engineering behind them.

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