Sometimes, the best sports cars are the ones based on pedestrian mechanicals out of a boring old sedan. You get easy access to parts and an engine that was designed to haul around more passengers and body than the sports car ever will, and if you look at some Italians, it’s not always at the expense of a sweet engine. But we’re not looking at Italians today, we’re looking at Germans, and so you’ll have to put up with the underpinnings of the Kadett B, though this is not all bad since that car came with a 1.9 liter engine putting out (by 1973) 83hp and a respectable amount of torque.
From this angle, the color almost looks like that 1970s root beer brown, but it’s more likely a fading red paint job, or perhaps it’s the color that replaced the original red. It’s nice to see the sporty original steel wheels on skinny tires, perfect for sliding around mountain roads. There’s plenty of room in those wheel wells, but larger modern wheels look wrong on this oh-so-sixties design.
The car is said to have had minor rust repair on the floor pan, and still has some bubbling in the rear fenders. The car has been rewired, and the upgraded Weber carburetor was rebuilt. Other repairs include a new battery, shocks, ignition, and tune up. It is said to need paint as well, though the current paint jobis not a complete disaster for a driver. With 130,000 miles, you’ll want to pay careful attention to compression figures, especially if there’s no evidence of engine work.
The interior looks really good, and is said to be original, though the carpets might need cleaning or replacement. Styling is classic sporty GM for the period, and one of the few true drawbacks of using this car as a long-distance tourer is the lack of an opening trunk lid – heaving something heavy like a tool chest into the rear compartment will be challenging at best.
While you can clearly see the new parts, the engine compartment could still use some tidying so you don’t have to put on surgical gloves every time you get under the hood. Variants of the CIH engine were in production until this century, so some parts and upgrades should still be available. Engines from later Kadetts and Mantas have also been used in these, so combined with the European aftermarket scene, you should have plenty of options for more power. If you’ve had real-life experience with one of these, let us know what it’s like in the comments!