Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5k: Ask Me Ascona Thing: 1975 Opel 1900 Sport Wagon

 Any discussion about wagons sold from Buick dealers in the late '60s early '70s conjures up images of those giant 3 row seat equipped monsters that sucked fuel and gave the rear passengers neck sunburn.  But the A-Body basd Sport Wagon wasn't the only wagon you could find at Buick dealers, there was a little Opel sitting forlornly in the corner of the showroom that should have gotten more attention, let's fix that today with an interview.  Find this 1975 Opel 1900 Sport Wagon offered for $3,000 in Saginaw, MI via greatlakes4x4.  "Friend of the seller" submission from Scott.

DT: Hi Opel 1900, it is great to have you on the show.
Opel 1900: Hey thanks, it is good to be here amongst my peers of cheap and rare automobiles.
DT: Well, we've never had an Opel Sport Wagon on the show before, so we'll get right down to it...what is your deal?
Opel 1900: My deal?...(inaudible).. well, I am based on the Ascona sedan but with a wagon back and 2-doors.  You know, almost 700k examples of the Ascona A (1970-1975) were built for world wide consumption, but few were exported to the USA and not many were the wagon version.

DT: Can you share with our listeners a little more about your specifications and capabilities?
Opel 1900: Sure, I've got a 1.9 liter cam-in-head inline-4 pushing out 90ish horsepower with the aid of Bosch L-jetronic fuel injection.  The transmission is a 3-speed automatic for basic commuting needs.
DT: What about handling -- I've heard you described as the poor man's 2002?
Opel 1900: <blushes> Well the truth is that Bob Lutz was part of the leadership at Opel during my development, so although I've got a simple live axle out back, handling is on the sporty side.

DT: Whoa, that is one nice semi-translucent acrylic nail ya got there!
Opel 1900: Haha yeah (inaudible) you might conclude that my ignition switch is damaged because she's been using those nails instead of a key...amiright?
DT: Quite right.  Any final thoughts for our listeners?
Opel 1900: Honestly if you were in the market for one of those funky Pinto shooting brakes, I'm not a bad alternative for a similar price and bring some European rally street cred to the table.

DT: Thanks to Opel 1900 for being our guest today.  Tune in next week when I interview a public men's room light switch and ask if he prefers when people use their elbow or a damp paper towel. 


  1. A neighbor of mine has a pristine example of this Opel wagon. It's gorgeous and his daily driver, except in the snow.

  2. BTW, you know you're losing it when you start voicing inanimate objects. I should know and you should know I know. Even my keyboard says so.

  3. My first car was a $500 Opel Sport Wagon, painfully slow with the auto

  4. I'm a total OPEL fanboy and K2MC I'm envious of your wise neighbor if he's got a non-FI manual as Ano Nymous is correct the auto version is painfully slow. These can be pretty sharp, but they need more soup to get their nuts moving.

    1. I just can't remember if it's a manual or not. I see it when I jog past or on the street driving around sometimes. I'll have to go find out if I'm ever allowed out of my special padded room.

    2. It's interesting that we continued/continue to get rebadged Opels here in the States even after the nameplate faded away so many years ago. I wonder why they never tried again instead of creating new names? Surely there would have been some Euro cred if they had. Eh, whaddaIknow?

    3. We take it for granted we'll get cars from Canada and Mexico and think nothing of it. Ever look at the data tag on early (current series) Regal? No one seems to notice/care that the first run of those (2010-'11) were built in Germany.

    4. Do the BMW buyers ever note that for a while E46 3-series were coming from South Africa?

  5. The old Asconas were sweet products for their time, but as a '75 it's wearing the big clown-nose bumpers and is it really worth $3K? Not so decided on that, though if this:


    is good for $3500 I suppose the Opel must be...

    1. Send in all the Cortina tips you find as they're definitely on the rise. Wish that was a two door wagon. Two door wagons have always been better at creating a statement, especially in the small ones, including the VW Squareback.

    2. Problem seems to be that when I find a cheap Cortina I buy it. Got a straight Mk1 airflow GT shell with surface rust I paid $200 for and a Mk1 pre-airflow Super (originally a Euro car, model never sold in the US) that's VERY complete but not currently running for $1500.

      I'd love to have a Mk1 wagon and had a shot at a couple at reasonable prices (think I know where half the Mk1 wagons in the US are) but my wife is a trained chef and owns a full toolbox of cutlery, so enough is enough until the current stable all prances.

  6. I bought one of these back in 1975. Fuel injected with a 4 speed. Put some decent tires on it, an Ansa cat back exhaust, and went auto crossing in it. It was a fun little car and could whoop on some of the big fancy cars if you knew how to toss it around.

    I loved that little car until some clown t-boned it. Even then, it lived on in my wife's 1973 sedan (hers was an autotragic so we tossed in the 4 speed, the wider wheels, and a few other goodies). That car was a lot of fun... for $1,300.

  7. I had one of these 74 opel wagons in college. My dad bought it from a little old lady in my hometown in Md. With 35k on the meter, she had babied it for 11 years. Mine was all orange, with black trim. It was a 4 speed manual, with cast rims and a nice thick set of Pirellis. It gave me 3.5 years of incredible use. It cornered well, it always wanted to pull through 2nd gear, it even went well in the snow, IF and when my fat friend would sit on the rear bumper with the hatch open. That or a bag of salt would make it track well in the white stuff. I slept in it often, you could shut the hatch to keep the bugs out, fully stretched out, even with 2 it was comfy. I loved it dearly, and plastered the entire rear metal area with stickers from wherever. I put an alpine head unit in the dash and rewired nice speakers in the doors. Its death came from a drunk driver - he t-boned me and my GF at an intersection, with his light being red for 10 seconds before he barreled through. We walked away unscathed. Visiting the hulk in the wrecking yard the next day, the hillbillies had picked it clean of the alpine and speakers, but said it showed up without those items. huh? I put some serious love into that car, and it loved me right back.


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