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The commentary about Buick's lack of a compact, and therefore its steering customers to its Opel line is both accurate and triggers memories. In 1969, I spent one of my college summers in a Buick dealership as a make-ready mechanic. The country was entering a recession and automobile sales were putrid to begin with and especially so with top-of-the line makes such as Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and the other top names of the Big Three. Opel sales were actually fairly decent, largely because of the low price.

The key people, sales people and mechanics, in the Buick dealership hated the Opel. The sales commissions on an Opel were $15, compared to $25 for the Buick line ($35 for an Electra 225). As for the mechanics' line, the presence of the Opel required they all buy complete sets of metric tools. I well recall one of the line mechanics complaining that he could not imagine measuring his private member in centimeters, even if it did sound bigger.

Understand that in the late 1960s, "furrin" cars were a real mystery. Many mechanics would refuse to do brake jobs on Triumphs and MGs because they had disc brakes, not understanding that disc pad replacement was amazingly simple.

Making an Opel ready for delivery in New Jersey entailed some special tasks not required for Buicks. The principal difference was that New Jersey outlawed in those years "flash to pass" which meant we had to crawl under the steering column, then find and cut the smaller-gauge red wire (Careful -- DO NOT cut the LARGE red wire!)..

Want to know why Buick quit bringing the Opel over from Germany, and instead imported the Isuzu? Because of a variety of political and economic events in the early 1970s, the dollar went to hell relative to the Deutschmark, and, by the mid-70s the Opels cost more than the Buick's entry-level car. Soon enough, the Yen strengthened against the dollar, pricing the Isuzu off of Buick's sales floor as well.
 

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Very nice summary Michael. It is rare to see anyone writing a few paragraphs about Opels and Buick that are completely factual. The only thing I would add is that German labor had also increased, making the cars even more expensive.
Yes, if Buick had continued selling German made Opels in 1976, even cutting frills to the bone, a rubber floor mat Opel would have been about $5,000.

Even the Hemmings ad has a glaring error: "The dual Solex carburetors installed by the factory have been replaced by a single Weber 45 DCOE carburetor,,," The writer has confused the 1.1 liter engine which might have come with dual Solex carbs, with the Solex two barrel single carb on the 1.9.

I have a real soft spot for the 68 to 70 gold rallye cars.
 

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I well recall one of the line mechanics complaining that he could not imagine measuring his private member in centimeters, even if it did sound bigger.
Oh my goodness that has got to be the funniest thing I've ever heard
Thank you
That will have me laughing for days to come
 

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Very nice summary Michael. It is rare to see anyone writing a few paragraphs about Opels and Buick that are completely factual. The only thing I would add is that German labor had also increased, making the cars even more expensive.
Yes, if Buick had continued selling German made Opels in 1976, even cutting frills to the bone, a rubber floor mat Opel would have been about $5,000.

Even the Hemmings ad has a glaring error: "The dual Solex carburetors installed by the factory have been replaced by a single Weber 45 DCOE carburetor,,," The writer has confused the 1.1 liter engine which might have come with dual Solex carbs, with the Solex two barrel single carb on the 1.9.

I have a real soft spot for the 68 to 70 gold rallye cars.
Here is a picture of my first foray into the Buick / Opel world, a new 1969 Riviera, bought as I graduated from college. At the time I thought that it was the most beautiful car on the road. It had a 430 cu.in., 360 hp engine and would run like stink. I wish that I still had it. I didn't buy an Opel until '73 when I bought my GT as my commuter car.

I think that the Riv had a window price of ~$6200 and I got it through my employer at about $4800 if I remember correctly. So, if Opel prices were getting up to $5000 in that later time frame, they would indeed be into Buick price territory.
 

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I love reading the commentary on the politics at a sales level within Buick. My parents in the late 60s had twin Chevy Impala SS cars and loved them. Then my mom's 68 was totaled and we got a sizeable insurance check and she found an inexpensive 3 year old 67 Kadett coupe with a 1.1/4-spd and bought it. She immediately fell in love with the character of the car and ease of getting around and parking and it got about 300% better gas mileage. As a young kid I recall there was almost immediate family drama because my dad started opting to take the Kadett to work out of convenience and leaving my mom with his 63 Impala SS and literally one day she told him " buy an opel of your own! " so he did just that. came home with a 1 year old used low mileage 70 kadett coupe with 1.9/4 spd. So suddenly we were an Opel family and times were good. fast forward a few years and we lost the 67 Kadett after a collision with an escaped farm animal in the road and we were about to move to Germany with the military so my folks traded in the 70 kadett for a brand new 73 Opel Manta Luxus. I remember the drama involved because everyone at the dealer wanted us to buy a Buick instead and my parents insisted on an Opel because of size and mileage and that we were headed to Germany and wanted to fit in there. If i recall they tried to convince my dad to buy a Buick wagon so we could travel...literally just like the scene from the movie Vacation where they tried to get us to buy the Family Truxter. thank heavens they didn't take the bait. LOL
 

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I worked at a Opel dealership and Buick was trying to get the Skyhawk ready for sale.
The Skyhawk was to have the Wankel Rotary motor but GM could not get seal problems solved in time.
When the engine did not work out for the Buick Skyhawk, that was a reason Opel's were brought in.
The Opel was brought in to sell and it did well in GA. I was brought in to the Buick dealership from Datsun where I was trained as field engineer for Datsun. I also had experience and training from NSU and Wankel.
Buick did try with the Buick Skyhawk and installed an odd-fire V6 but they forgot to upgrade brakes.
The first Skyhawks had "plastic" hub caps and the Skyhawk's were recalled because the hubcaps on the front fell off or released themselves at speeds.
The recall was to install larger and new design front pad and metal hubcaps.
I left Datsun and loved working at GM dealerships. The Opel's were very easy to work on.
I was asked to join a local IMSA racing team that was running 3 Opel's, 2 Mantas and 1 GT in the under 2.0 class. I had been working on a Datsun team in SCCA in GA. From this team is where I meet the guy's on the IMSA team.
I have worked on Opel's for awhile now and I also got to work on the Isuzu and I also got to work on the Bitter's when they came into the dealership. I had the opportunity to meet Eric Bitter at one of our sales introductions to customers.
The sticker price was $55,000 at the time for the Bitter.
Just some more info.
John
 
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