Rare Rallye! 1968 Opel Kadett Rallye

Lodged within the top five of my master car wish list for years, a 1968 Opel Kadett Rallye is the definition of a unicorn for me. We have only seen one here in the history of Barn Finds and that was back in 2017 so it’s been a while. The seller has this car listed here on eBay in Cookeville, Tennessee. This is probably why I don’t have one yet, the current bid price is $15,100 and the reserve isn’t met yet.

I haven’t seen a Kadett Rallye for sale since 2017 when we saw one here on Barn Finds in the classic gold color and I’ve seen thousands and thousands of listings. There really is nothing that I don’t like about this car other than the price, and the reserve hasn’t even been met yet. Who knew they were so valuable?!

The Opel Kadett B was the second version of this German car – after the Kadett A, of course – and Buick imported them for their showrooms. This generation of the Kadett was made from 1965 to 1973 and the Rallye was made from 1968 to 1970. This one is Rallye Orange and they also made Spring Green and Chrome Yellow – all three of those came with a black interior. What I refer to as the “classic gold” Rallye is Aztec Gold and they also offered Copper Bronze. Those two typically came with a buckskin interior but I’ve seen them with black interiors. Enough with the color swatch workshop.

The seller says that this car was restored about 16 years ago and is from the St. Louis area originally. They say that it was traded in as partial payment for restoration work that the owner had them do. They’re a restoration shop and they mention that this car isn’t up to their high restoration standards but it looks fantastic to me. I don’t see really any flaws anywhere inside or out, in the trunk area, or even underneath.

The engine is Opel’s 1.9L cam-in-head inline-four with just over 100 horsepower. Maybe a bit more with an upgraded Weber carb and electronic ignition. They say that it starts right up even after sitting for weeks, idles as it should, and generally runs great.  The seller has a video here on YouTube showing the car and its a beauty. Have any of you owned a Kadett Rallye?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Alright, that’s it, somehow, this here Barnyfinds, has a way of getting into our heads. Not an isolated incident either, more cars have come through here I’ve owned, or had some sort of contact with, it’s almost creepy. Enough of that, I had this exact car. The “Mini-Brute”, it was called, and the ads featured an elephant, for some reason. Memories tend to fade with time, but to see this really made my day ( btw, I realize, it’s 5:30am MT, and a lot could still happen) The Opel Rallye was my 2nd of half a dozen Opels, all good, not great, cars. It was a sporty thing, the 1.9 delivered neither good performance nor good gas mileage, but could be pushed hard, and never failed. Handling was so-so, iffy brakes, and the biggest problem was that crappy Solex carb. I see here, replaced with a Weber, and I’m not sure that was an improvement. I replaced the Solex with an Autolite Pinto carb, with much better results, and they were a dime a dozen. I did several PInto carb upgrades for friends that had Opels.These also sorely needed a 5 speed, but with the 55 mph speed limit at the time,, they were adequate. Unbelievable find, nobody, and I NOBODY kept a used Opel. $15g’s? Well, I’ll tell ya’, for something like this, which I equate to finding a rare painting at a garage sale, you, without question, will have the only one. Thanks to Scotty and BF’s writers for the memories.

    Like 23
    • racer417

      The early ads featured an Opel Kadett losing a tug of war with an elephant.

      Like 2
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    There was a gold one of these that the owner of
    was moving,& just wanted to give it away.I went & looked
    at it.It was rest-free,but not running.I passed on it because,
    as usual,I had too many project cars at the time.
    I had 13 cars,& a two car garage.My neighbors WERE NOT
    impressed for some reason.

    Like 6
  3. Mike

    The motor pic an optical illusion? Looks like the motor is so heavy that it’s sinking in the engine bay.

    Like 3
  4. BlondeUXB Member

    A friend bought a yellow one new.
    Traded it quickly for a Cortina GT…

    Like 1
    • eurovin Member

      Interesting, my first car was a yellow ’67 Rallye, I think I paid $1400 for it 2 years old… The other car in in the running was a ’67 Cortina GT. After driving them both, I went with the Opel & never looked back.

  5. JoeNYWF64

    Lot of money asking today for a car that stickered back in the day for $1785!

    Like 3
    • Fran

      Agreed too much. Hobby?

      Like 2
  6. Racingpro56

    I owned a 1967….probably the car I miss the most these days. My father sold it when I joined the Air Force. When I came home I saw it rotting a way in some guys back yard.

    Like 3
  7. Superdessucke

    The Opels of this era handled frightfully and had terrible brakes per most accounts. $15k seems huge money, but try to find a nicer one if this is your thing. Personally, I’d spend this kind of cash on a mint E36 M3 and stay out of the weeds!

    Like 3
    • Rick

      In my early twenties I owned a ’69 Kadett non-Rallye fastback with the 1.9L and automatic transmission. That was probably the best handling car I ever owned. I’ll admit the brakes could make for some tricky driving in snowy weather but other than that it was a real driver’s car.

      Like 1
      • Superdessucke

        I think it was Car & Driver which famously published a road test of a ’68 Opel wagon with a cover photo of the car in a junkyard, to symbolize what they thought of it. GM’s very negative reaction to that article may have launched the era of fluff “feel good about your purchase” auto journalism we enjoy today.

        Maybe they got a bad one, or maybe the performance model like this was better. I dunno. I’m just going on what I’ve read. I haven’t driven one like you have.

        Like 1
  8. Derek

    I had one that had a Manta 1.9 and 5-spd transplanted into it; wasn’t that old. Was a good car until I rolled it…

    Like 2
  9. JW454

    That right rear quarter panel could have used a lot more sanding along the bottom edge where they slathered all that bondo on it.

    Like 1
  10. Connecticut Mark

    He is not asking this price, it’s bid up to that price and more by now.

    Like 3
  11. Jim

    Wow! This is the kind of car that I would love to have. Such a rarity and in beautiful condition. Loved them when they were new, and even more so now.

    Like 1
  12. Mark Member

    My girlfriend’s father had an Opel Kadette but not a Rallye I was visiting her at school and he asked me if I would like to ride with him back to Fresno. Twenty minutes later the orange oil pressure light came on and I told him he had better pull off the Freeway. Me being a punk kid, the advice was ignored, and not 10 minutes later the engine seized. He liked me more after that. I had a 1970 Opel GT and loved it after a few performance upgrades. This is a blast from the past and brought up some good memories. 15K seems a bit on the high side but so what. Good luck to both.

    Like 1
  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Wow! They have more Opel GT’s at the shop than I have seen in my life.

  14. Hot Rod Lincoln

    We had a Aztec Gold Ralley in 1970. I learned to drive a stick shift in this car and passed my driver’s test with it. I remember going on a Road Ralley with this car and going off road and filling up the fingers of the diaphragm clutch with pebbles ruining the clutch. I bent a wheel sliding on ice hitting a curb. I drove it hard as a 16 year old. My dad traded it in for a ’75 Pinto with a 4 speed.

  15. Rob L Member

    I bought one used when I turned 16 in 1971. On the first clutch, I learned to drive stick. Parts were not easy to find and the engine liked Sunoco 260. After a year I traded it for a new Datsun a year later.

  16. Joe

    I bought a new red/red ’66 Kadett “L”, 1,100cc, 4 spd. Had Biloxi Buick hang A/C under glovebox (my wife was 5′ tall). Took FTD at my first parking lot autocross – New Orleans SCCA. Top spd. was circa 88, and it was there often. Only had to replace 2nd gear synchro once. It was quite agile.

  17. Philip Lepel

    A friend’s brother had one identical to that and we watch one might when it made it do the highest wheelie stand I’d ever seen in person. I had a 64 wagon and a white sedan that lost four gear a few months after buying it but I to have had a soft spot in my heart for Opel. I was amazed to recently learn that before GM sold the division The new Opel GT was made from the Pontiac Solstice,Saturn Skye platform. I wish Opel had been able to keep that.

  18. Leslie Martin Member

    My Uncle had a ’71 Rallye Kadette just like this, but in yellow. When he passed, he left it to my Mom and both me and my sister learned to drive in it. I don’t remember it ever starting without flooding or vapor locking on hot days, but we figured out how to work around that. My Dad finally replaced the leaky Solex carb with a “Holley-Webber” two barrel and it became a lot more reliable. I remember it was actually a lot of fun to drive, but the handling was a bit dodgey. My Mom wanted it gone so it was traded it for a few hundred bucks against her first of several Volvos. If only I had known what it would be worth some day, I would have bought it!

  19. Dave G

    I bought one new in 1969 only because there was a dock strike and Volkswagons had a long unknown lead time. I wasn’t impressed as a young adult with either the performance or mpg and 18 months later sold it and bought a 1964 Buick Special.

  20. Jeff

    I really wonder why you only got the small Opels in the US?
    The Kadett is the Beetle counterpart from Opel, but Opel also made bigger Cars like the Rekord, the Commodore, the Admiral, Kapitän, Diplomat …
    I guess these Models would have fit the Taste and the Roads of the US much better, but why where they never sold in the US?

    Jeff

    • Rick

      Opel Rekords were available at Buick dealerships in the US starting in 1958 and ending around 1962.

      • Jeff

        Allright, thanks for that, I didn’t know.
        But still, the Rekord till 1962 was a small car, they started to get big in the mid-sixties and by the 66 Modelyear.
        Regards
        Jeff

  21. Willowen Member

    Oh, my! I did not know there was a Rallye edition of the Kadett too! My one and only Opel was the only cheap Manta I ever found, and it was a Rallye in exactly these colors, which I decided I could live with. What was a lot harder to justify was the BW automatic … !! I suppose it could have been cured of its worst habits, such as locking up solid if I came to a stop after a few miles in cold weather. Its other problem was endemic: any slippery surface was a constant tightrope balancing act, again probably due to the lousy tires. I could have set things straight with a bit of money, but at this point that commodity was in seriously short supply.

    Now that it’s not really, I’d be happy to contemplate a nice Manta – the prettiest car those folks ever made, IMO – but that wd require a spare garage somewhere, as She who must be obeyed has decreed a 3-car maximum back there, and we’ve met that. However, dreaming is free, so I will keep on doing that.

    Like 2
  22. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    In 75 I purchased a 67 Kadett from a coworker for $75.00. It had no exhaust system under it so I purchased a complete system from Sears and installed it myself. It had the 1.1 liter engine with 5 speed trans. What a great little car it was, while giving 40mpg on fuel it was plenty powerful enough to cruise I-5 from Everett to Seattle, Washington at 70 mph to and fro work each day. It was Red with black interior.
    I had no idea how the value of these cars had risen through the years.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  23. racer417

    This is the car on which I learned to drive a stick. My dad was a Buick dealer back then. Fun cars and great attention-getters in the day. The Car and Driver “junkyard” article was written purely for shock value according to one of the writers who commented in their 50th Anniversary issue (I think). It cost them big in the loss of GM advertising. A mini-review of the Rallye in an issue a few months after the junkyard issue was quite favorable to the Rallye version.

  24. racer417

    GM abandoned the importation of German Opels after 1975. The devalued dollar caused a huge price increase which made them uncompetitive. After that it was “Opel by Isuzu”, a Japanese-built Kadett with an Isuzu engine. The big Opels were never imported because they competed with GM’s domestic lines and weren’t worth the effort to import them in GM’s opinion.

    Like 1
    • Jeff

      Thanks for that information about the big Opels, I didn’t know but it makes sense now. They also had a lot of the styleclues from the american GM-cars, that’s also why novadays many people in Europe think they see an american Car when they spot one of these big old Opels.

  25. Richard Sikes Member

    Memories! My first car was a metallic burnt orange 1970 Kadett Rallye. I was 15 and saved my money and my dad found a nice one that had a seized engine for $800. We transplanted a $300. junkyard engine in our home garage and I was off! First day I drove a car to school, was in Oct. 1975. So much freedom, such a fun car to toss around. Gas mileage was decent. I was first among my friends to get a car and a license, so it was always packed and busy. Many first in that little car! Had an 8 track mounted on the hump. Sadly I was dumb and young and wrecked it after about 10 months. I miss that car! I’m always on the lookout for one on the road all these years later.

  26. AnalogMan

    A lot of people love these cars. 29 comments here and counting! They were solid, fun cars, underrated both at the time and afterwards. It’s nice to see one finally getting the attention it deserves.

    I totally agree with Howard A. I also had about a half dozen Opels back in the 70’s/80’s. Opel was like Honda before Honda became legendary – they were good at many things if not outright great. Well-engineered and solidly built, reliable, more fun to drive than most people realized. They were the poor man’s BMW in an era when the other choices were American boats, uber-expensive German premium brands or gutless VW’s, or fragile, finicky British, Italian, or French contraptions (Japanese cars hadn’t yet established a real presence, and the ones at the time were not yet that great).

    The closest I came to owning a Kadett Rallye was a 1972 1900 2-door sedan (with a stick of course). I bought a gauge cluster out of a junkyard Kadett Rallye and added it to the car (ammeter, oil pressure, clock). Even at 10 years old and over 100k miles it was solid as a brick without a single rattle. With stiffer springs and an exhaust, it did a fair imitation of a 2002.

    Like any car of that era, they were rust prone. Back in my home town in upstate New York there was a Kadett Rallye running around in the early 70’s. At less than 5 years old the owner was constantly troweling layers of concrete-like bondo into the front fenders to keep it on the road.

    If you think the price bidding on this car was crazy, check out what the tech bros and venture capitalists on BaT recently paid – a 1985 Toyota Corolla GTS with 112k miles for $40,000 (forty thousand dollars!), and even more insane, a 1998 Subaru Impreza STi for – wait for it – $312,555. There’s a small number of people out there with way more money than they know what to do with, and at least some of them are throwing it the way of this sweet Opel Kadett Rallye – it’s probably the nicest one left.

    (Though the listing was pulled because of an ‘error’? What’s the story with that?)

  27. Mark Member

    Interesting, it was pulled.as AnalogMan says. Antyone?

    • opelspyder

      Because I sold it…lol. Who sells a car on eBay and lets it run all the way through? I just use it to advertise, knowing I will make a deal off the auction

  28. JoeNYWF64

    Back in the day, you could get a 2 door Opel at a Buick dealer – now you can’t even get a 2 door Buick at one or even a 4 door sedan. & the suvs, etc. avail all look the same! Just shaking my head repeatedly side to side.

  29. Gary Rhodes

    I wouldn’t give 15k for a GT or a Manta let alone a Kadette and I love these things. It is a beauty though. My buddy’s Kadette wagon and sedan were the best in snow, my other buddys Manta was a beast for a small displacement four.

  30. MitchRoss Member

    There was one of these for sale at a dealer on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn back in 1980 and a 19 yo me wanted it badly. Gold with the black hood and stripes. I simply assumed that the Rallye Kadett came standard with the 1.9 engine. I took $500 to the lot and was ready to buy when I opened the hood and there was a 1.1 engine. WTF? Walked away and into a 1968 Cortina GT with no brakes, but who needed them when you could do perfect drifts around corners?

    Like 1

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