Auction Pick of the Week: 1968 Opel Kadett Deluxe Wagon


Few people that we know have seen a 1968 Opel Kadett Deluxe Wagon in person. The phenomenon begs the question: Are these German wagons so rare in the U.S. that the same vehicles keep getting sold and resold, or is this example just so nice that each new owner can’t resist the urge to flip it? Perhaps it’s both.

Crossing the virtual auction block via Hagerty Marketplace, this restored and award-winning Kadett Deluxe Wagon has changed hands several times since 2018. It’s an unusual automobile, to be sure, and there’s plenty to like about it.

The Opel Kadett, distributed by Buick in the U.S. and sold around the world as Opel’s entry-level car, was designed to compete directly with Volkswagen. Slightly different from its European brethren, the Kadett was offered stateside in a variety of two-door body styles: Sedan, Sport Sedan, LS and Deluxe Sport Coupes (fastbacks), Rallye (fastback), and Deluxe Wagon (with a swing-up tailgate).

Nicknamed the “Mini-Brute” by Buick-Opel marketers—a tongue-in-cheek description if there ever were one—rear-wheel-drive Kadetts were simple, lightweight, and economical. The “brutiest” of the Mini-Brutes was the Deluxe Wagon. Engine choices for 1968 included an overhead-valve 1.1-liter inline-four, the default powerplant, which mustered 55 horsepower; the optional higher-output dual-carb 1.1-liter SR, with 60 hp; the 1.5-liter CIH, 80 hp; and the 1.9-liter Super Kadett, 102 hp. Mated to a four-speed manual powertrain and with a high axle ratio, a Deluxe Wagon with the 1.1-liter engine could score 30 mpg. It also took an agonizingly long 18.4 seconds to go 0-to-60 mph.

Advertising, naturally, accentuated the positives of the Kadett (and also embellished a bit). “Impervious to desert heat, invincible in trackless sands, amazingly dependable from oasis to oasis: The Mini-Brute Buick’s new Opel Kadett Deluxe Wagon. The economy import that provides so much low-cost transportation for the price you’ll wonder why you ever tried any other way.”

Opel also promised that “confidence is part of the standard equipment you get with every ’68 Opel Kadett.”

Painted bright red with a black interior, this ’68 Opel Kadett Deluxe Wagon (chassis/VIN 391383662) was immaculately restored and looks as if it just rolled out of a Buick-Opel dealership—with its MSRP of $2070 (about $18,308 today). The wagon’s 1.1-liter engine has dual Solex 35 PDSI carburetors, and the California seller says its “underhood components were sourced from German suppliers, including Bosch, SWF, and ATE during its refurbishment.”

1968 Opel Kadett Deluxe Wagon interior headliner

The interior features a replacement headliner and carpets, as well as a factory three-spoke steering wheel with an Opel center cap. Instrumentation includes a 100-mph speedometer and tachometer with a 6000-rpm redline. The five-digit odometer reads 85,096 miles.

In addition, the car has a padded dashboard, AM radio and supplemental FM receiver, electric clock, front bucket seats, a rear bench seat that folds down, hinged back windows, original German Sekurit glass, and 56 cubic feet of cargo space (“Enough for an average-sized refrigerator,” Opel advertised)—plus a luggage rack up top.

1968 Opel Kadett Deluxe Wagon chrome roof rack

The Kadett wagon previously spent time in a collection whose owner showed it in events with the Opel Motorsports Club and won numerous awards, including Best in Show, First in Class, and People’s Choice at the Opel Nationals.

With less than one week remaining until the auction ends on Thursday, October 26 at 3:50 p.m. EDT, bidding has reached $5750. Perhaps this is your turn to own it.



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