1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Gunter
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by Gunter » Thu 24 Feb 2011, 08:33

WOW 993, most amazing stories - us GM guys really appreciate it!!!

The pic you have of the Opel Commodore, might even be my car....in the pic it looks like its a RHD, mine is a LHD.
Bought my car in the early 90's, it had a 4100 engine which i always found strange as the german version originally had a 2800cc engine...
I now have a SBC fitted and use it for the 'odd' track event :D - lovely car, will ask Lino to post a pic of my car.

My first race car was the ex Tony Pond Ascona 400 rally car which was converted to a track car in 1990.
RACECAR spelt backwards spells RACECAR.....

993 Kadett
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by 993 Kadett » Thu 24 Feb 2011, 10:09

Hello to all of you and really good to see that the GM gees is still going. I have decided to stall what I have to do this morning for an hour or so and tell you a teeny bit about the car in the pic then I promise will give you the full beans on Sunday.
Firstly I dont think it is your car Gunter because it is RHD. Now I know that many of you will find the following hard to believe but it is absolutely 100%
Under the bonnet is a 3.9 version of the chev straight six with two twin choke downdraughts, a five speed ZF (dog leg 1st), a decent suspension package & uprated brakes. Power was exactly double that of a std 3800. 0-100 in 6.9 secs, 0-160 in 16.3 Max speed 231.2. S1/4 14.8. The car was on the GM product plan and ready to go as a full on production car. Prototype work had been completed and engineering work had started. Slated for production in late 1974, this was the car that would have given GM the streetcred it so sorely missed at the time. Its one thing to bolt a SBC into a Firenza in a limited production run and it does not matter that the car was a fantastic piece of engineering for its day, GM had very little streetcred compared to the likes of Ford, no full-on production cars on the street that screamed to Ford and the rest "catch me if you can" This was it. A second limited production version of the car was penned running the South American 12 port racing cylinder head and 3 x 52mm sidedraughts. This one would be a lightweight 4.3Litre with 435 bhp in racing form. Unbelievable..... but absolutely true, the General let this magnificent opportunity slip through their fingers, in one word, for a GM petrolhead... it was heartbreaking.....see you Sunday.

Gunter
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Location: Cape Town

Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by Gunter » Thu 24 Feb 2011, 10:22

WOW!! thats interesting...i wonder what ever happened to it??
RACECAR spelt backwards spells RACECAR.....

VMX
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by VMX » Thu 24 Feb 2011, 12:51

Most interesting, and everything makes sense as a longer run of cars option as the car was already structurally compatable for the 4100, even a smallblock actually unlike the Can Am's. If they'd built more Can Am's there would most probably have been lawsuits against GM as they were just too over the top as an off the floor car, short wheelbase 300 hp and biscuit 13 inch wheel's.

By 1974 the world fuel crisis was already in full swing so it would have been a mess. As it almost was with the last new Can Am's that is said to have been sold at a reduced price to get rid of them by dealers.

Gunter it's likely your car was fitted with a 4100 afterwards as here those fuel injected ohc 2800 German motors scared local's as did the 1900 Manta's, Vauxhall slants etc. Easy and cheap way of fixing them was with a 2,5, 4,1 or SB.
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Gunter
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by Gunter » Thu 24 Feb 2011, 16:57

Yep VMX, i always thought that mine got the 4100 because of the freely avaliable engines....it actually went very nice with the 4100 in it - but as your attached pic,i am having even more fun in current trim with its 383 v8! :D
RACECAR spelt backwards spells RACECAR.....

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gordini
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by gordini » Thu 24 Feb 2011, 22:41

I wonder what happened to Johann as he is the forums first hand man on Chevy history...I like the way the story flows and it all make sense to me as i am an toppie that grew up in this era..
In my old age...
i drink a tripple,i see double and i act single..



From Malmesbury

993 Kadett
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Joined: Sun 16 Dec 2007, 13:33

Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by 993 Kadett » Sat 26 Feb 2011, 14:30

Afternoon guys, Got through most of my stuff and able to send again. Just a few Q’s

VMX, you say that we have spoken before and I guess must be getting old so please remind me and anyway we need to get together to talk about Can Ams.

Gunter you note that one of your cars was the Tony Pond 400. Was this one of Geoff’s Chevairs? because I can tell you some history on how the Chevairs started out life. Like to know. That Coupe of yours must be something else. What mods to the 383?

Before getting back to previous writings I figured I owe it to you lads to give you some of my background so as to put some perspective on my scribblings…
Firstly I had no idea that this forum existed until Dec 2008 when in SA for Xmas. I came across the forum quite by chance and remember sending some posts at the time, as interest in Can Ams seemed to be quite high. When I returned to Dubai, I followed the sad happenings that were associated with the car on the forum at the time. Extremely concerned, I very nearly got involved. But with my schedule and the fact that my info on the cars was held in storage in SA, I decided to give it a miss. I am very glad I did, because I tend to tell things as I see them and have no doubt I would have got myself into hot water. Fact is, had a colleague of mine and myself been given just an hour with that car, we would have been able to ID it, that is if it was the original ‘Á1’.
I did however write a letter to one of the motoring mags that had published what was, in my opinion, a very poor article on the Can Ams at the time. I never even got the courtesy of an acknowledgement…..I decided then that the facts on the happenings of the Can Am period were not ready to be told and left it…. until now. Some background:

I started with GMSA as a trainee in 1968. Finished that in 1972 and moved straight to Product Engineering to take on the 1245 GTC project. I ran that project with my team and we were located right beside the work being done on the Can Am. The Can Am was in its final development phase at the time and I had made sure that I kept pace with what was happening from the start of the project….petrolheads do that kind of thing.. The first off-line car became the first engineering prototype (wrong way round but a great story) and after basic checks were completed on that chassis, the car was sent to Wynberg for Geoff to build the first racing car for the 1972 9 hour. I kept tabs on the car throughout 1973. In ’73, the decision to run 3 Cars in the springbok series had been made very late by the GM brass :oops: and I was seconded from engineering at the factory to help with the build of the cars at the Dealer Team in Wynberg. I worked on all the cars during that time and eventually ended up preparing and pitting ‘A1’ along with Mike and Jimmy for the three hour at Killarney. Nols and Giv (+Basil) drove the car.

I also have an association with 'A1' that has nothing to do with anything technical. I think I attained the highest qualification that any GM petrolhead of the time could achieve and that is I proposed to my girlfriend in the pits at Killarney straight after the race & right next to the car….just like all enthusiasts should do….She accepted and asked why it had taken so long……We are still married today!!

So.. is it safe to talk about Can Ams yet? And if so I would like to tell you something about a real champion of the Can Am, one Jonny Pittaway. Best P see you tomorrow on the GTC

993 Kadett
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by 993 Kadett » Sat 26 Feb 2011, 15:19

Of Course, I meant '1A' did'nt I... must be getting to be dyslexic in my old age! P

VMX
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Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by VMX » Sat 26 Feb 2011, 16:22

#1A yes lets not go find reasons besides GM deserving that number as to where it came from ! :lol: :oops: :lol:

The story seemed as if it was told to me as it is such due to the diverse interests in this in which the Can Am and Perana's are confused, their true heritage actually goes back to all this detail you mention rather than the hotrod world they are caught up in today. Neither is wrong, they just different.

No the Chevairs had Blydenstein's Vauxhall slant 4's. I think Gunters had something Opel twincam/16 valve that made plenty power, it screamed alright that I remember well.

Anything around Can Am's will always attract something good and bad unfortunately the bad is good enough to just avoid the topic and discuss the hotrod aspect of these cars as they are seen today. As the real story creates paranoia and the desire to WANT and with that comes all the evils of even being associated with them. Generally the real story and detail is of the least interest the real story is that the Can Am was the ultimate HC build and belongs to the family of smaller Vauxhall's and Opel's alike that preceeded it such as the little Opel this thread is supposed to be about. The primary conversations around Can Am's is about money, numbers-match, warra-warra and nothing from which it came from. Perana's maybe less so but not far off.

Pittaway I'm guessing raced #1A after John Rowe when I saw it here at the time not realising it was the blue/white one originally if I recall it was running on bigger wheel's (15's) was all white with Hunts down the side and was tatty well used by then. If I recall he led that 2 hour race until about the first hour by which time he'd lapped a 530 BMW that was running second then fell out for some reason. Des Ally's car (flag car) was on the trailer something wrong he did'nt race that day. The No.2 car at that stage was in Rhodesia.

Anyway this is probably not of main interest here, but now and then when you run into those like-minded you will not have enough time to get through it all. Until such time I guess we mess around with old scramblers....... :lol: :lol:

993 Kadett
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun 16 Dec 2007, 13:33

Re: 1965 Opel Kadett Racer

Post by 993 Kadett » Sat 26 Feb 2011, 18:29

VMX you are absolutely right we should drag the subjects to their rightful place so will open a new thread tomorrow for the 1245.
The Pittaway you mention is Tony Pittaway, Jonny's son. Jonny is the man who the did the design, build and test of the Can Ams at the factory, without him the job would never have been done. Will open a thread on that one as well. P

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