Kleinen Roten Wagen: 1969 Opel Kadett L Wagon

083116 Barn Finds - 1969 Opel Kadett - 1

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This little red wagon is a 1969 Opel Kadett L Wagon and it’s located in Sterling Heights, Michigan. It’s listed on eBay with an unmet starting bid of $1,200, but there is no reserve so bid to buy on this cool little two-door wagon. There are six days left on the auction, so that’s like $200 a day.. or somethin’.. in case anyone is keeping score..

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This is a Kadett B, as most of you probably know, and Opel offered eight body styles, although not all of them were available in the US. This is the top of the heap for me, the “Car-A-Van” three-door wagon. Normally I’d say that $1,200 seems like a heck of a deal for this car, but I’ll try to not do that.. again.. out loud. Of course it isn’t perfect but for $1,200 it’s a great starting point. You’ll have to do some welding on this car, but other than the two front rocker panel/fender areas it looks fairly solid. Ok, the rear portion needs some work, too. But, $1,200 is a heck of a deal!! Here’s what it could look like again.

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As per a lot of online sale ads the photos aren’t super great or detailed, or numerous, unfortunately. There are no photos of the interior at all other than two close-up shots of the dash. But, from what those two photos show it looks nice with just a little cracking and maybe some wide gaps from shrinkage, possibly. Here’s what the interior could look like, from a photo courtesy of Hemmings.

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The seller has this one listed as having 26,200 miles, which theoretically could be the case in looking at the 1.1L inline-four cylinder engine and the surrounding, clean engine compartment. This is the single-carb engine and they also offered an 1100 SR version with twin-carbs which threw down around 55 hp to the pavement. I would want to find a twin-carb setup and keep the original in storage for those trips to Pebble Beach. Hey, a guy can dream. A restored Opel Kadett Car-A-Van can go for $20,000+ so there’s a lot of room left on this one if you can do some light welding and a few other odds and ends. I would want to restore this one back to like-new condition, but that’s just me. Would any of you restore this Kadett or would you just keep things working and drive it as is?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. geezerglide85

    I bought a ’74 version of this car in the mid 80’s (bright green) for $400. but with an automatic. Had no idea how many miles were on it 130,000 or maybe 230,000? I was teaching my wife to drive at the time and our stick shift Omni was a problem. She got her license on it then learned how to drive the Omni. After that it became my car for next few years until the tin worms ate almost everything underneath. Great little car, super dependable, but not a lot of power. One issue was the battery on the later ones was on the left side of the firewall, the fuse box was inside right under it. Caused some major electrical problems. Other than that a really well built car.

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  2. JW454

    An acquaintance in the late seventies had the 2 door sedan version of this car with 100K + miles on it. When it got to poorly, he would add a can of STP in it while the engine was running. You could actually hear the RPMs increase as it was being poured in. I’m not sure what the SPT was actually doing to help the engine internals but, it did run better for a few weeks.
    I’ve always thought these wagons and the sporty two door versions of this design were nice looking cars.

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  3. Michael V.

    This is the car that Car and Driver magazine wrote a scathing take-down of back in 1968.

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    • Jefray

      They wrote that article because they could…. Its been largely discredited as a hack job since then.

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  4. angliagt

    I passed on an identical one of these a few years ago for $500.
    It was a one owner car,with a perfect interior,but was an “around town” car,
    as not much power with the 1.1 engine.
    What really killed me was that my redneck neighbor ended up with
    it,& his buddy smashed it with his jacked-up Ford F250 4wd.
    I’m sure they thought that was really fun.

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  5. Howard A. Howard AMember

    I had an Opel (several, in fact) just like this, only a ’67. It was a BASIC car. Doors about 1″ thick. Same drive train. It had the distinction of the best hole shot car I ever had. ( until 2nd gear, that is) It had very little power after that, and wasn’t much fun on the highway, which may explain the low mileage. Now, my next car, a ’68 Opel Kadett Rallye 1.9, was a totally different car. Much nicer ( but still needed a 5 speed) Then a couple of Mantra’s, and I think a 1900 was in there too somewhere. All great cars. Great to see someone hung on to this all those years, but probably not a lot of interest. I knew a guy that had one of these that was made into a gasser. THAT was a bit much.

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  6. brakeservo

    Only one word applies . . . and it ain’t “cute.” It’s RUST!

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  7. Tom Driscoll

    Quirky to say the least! It’s not far from me if there is serious interest.

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  8. Puhnto

    We had a baseball team in the 60s. The coach had one of these and we’d put the whole team in it, plus two! Folded the rear seats down and stacked in like sardines, fanny, feet, fanny, feet, and three up front (instead of the standard two.) Great times.

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  9. LD

    Drove one every day in ’70 all around Tulsa every day picking up & delivering film, stopped at every drug & camera store. Fun ride BITD. LD71 :D

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