As a German living in Germany, I join in the question “Where did they all go?”. Even in Germany you won`t find many Opel Kadetts “A-D”, the D-Kadett was built until 1984, being regularly driven anymore. Even at classic car shows that my wife and me attend with our cars you are sure to see at least about 30 vintage Porsche 911 or Mercedes SL for every Opel Kadett oder rear-wheel-drive (built until 1980) Ford Escort.
The Carnection thing was only part of Behlmann’s problems. The fact that no one was buying full-size conversion vans anymore surely couldn’t have helped. Behlmann was by far the biggest dealer in the country for those things. The ’90s SUV craze was a little slower to take hold in STL because Behlmann’s volume allowed them to sell big conversion vans for not much more than a loaded up SUV. Those vans were EVERYWHERE!
In 1909, the Opel 4/8 hp pioneered the introduction of affordable mobility. It was modern with solid technology, easy to operate and manoeuvrable, enabling ambitious car owners to drive it themselves instead of relying on a chauffeur – considerably reducing the overall cost of ownership. And the quality of materials and workmanship created confidence. The first officially designated “small car” in automotive history was considered fully suitable for everyday use. The vehicle ideal for “doctors, veterinarians and lawyers” according to the adverts was available at prices from 4,000 to 5,000 Marks, while models from other manufacturers cost around 20,000 Marks. Thus the means of transport for the upper class became a vehicle for the middle class - thanks to the “Doctor's car”.
By the 1970s, Opel had emerged as the stronger of GM's two European brands; Vauxhall was the third-best selling brand in Great Britain after the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland) but made only a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside of each other's respective home markets, but mirroring Ford's decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall had loosely collaborated before, but serious efforts to merge the two companies' operations and product families into one did not start until the 1970s - which had Vauxhall's complete product line replaced by vehicles built on Opel-based platforms - the only exception to the rule being the Bedford CF panel van, the only solely Vauxhall design which was marketed as an Opel on the Continent. By the turn of the 1980s, the two brands were in effect, one and the same.
My Familys first car in the US was a used 1959 Opel Rekord – I dont remember that one much but when I was 4 we got a powder blue Kadett Wagon – My mother a Berliner loved Opels – 1978-79 my Sister inherited the car as her first car and then I got it as a hand me down again in 1981 – when I first got it it had never been driven over 50 MPH so I was a bit of a shock to the poor car – but even back then it got amazing gas mileage. That is until we took it to a mechanic for a tune up and he had apparently wasn’t good with european makes – he went to adjust the carburetor and some spring loaded valve shot out and we couldnt find parts anywhere by that time. gas mileage dropped massively and running poorly the car died while crossing on the side of a field on a farm. The family there adopted it as a bit of a fort – clubhouse for a few years as we chose to buy another car when I graduated – I miss the simplicity of the car – of course I remember it fondly by I’m betting the reality of it would be a shock!
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