Opel Kadett B replaced its successful predecessor, the Opel Kadett A, in 1965. The successor to the first post-war Kadett was 18 centimeters longer, exceeding four meters in length and was available in three body versions right from market launch: as a two or four-door sedan, of course again as a CarAvan station wagon and as a chic coupé.
Opel Kadett was officially approved as a five-seater. But this applied only to both sedan variants, the coupé models remained four-seaters. The increased length benefitted mainly the interior, whereby the luggage compartment also grew by 12 percent to a volume of 337 liters according to the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry) standard.
The coupé’s fashionable figure was clearly inspired by fastback models such as the Chevrolet Chevelle from the USA: a flat, sloping rear gave the coupé a dynamic form that promised speed. The three ventilation slots in the B-pillar have gone down in the annals of automotive history: today these models, known as “gills coupés”, are especially coveted and fetch top prices.
Matching the overall sportier design, power was also stepped up by 5 hp. The bore of the four-cylinder unit was enlarged by three millimeters and now the 1,078 cm3 unit developed 45 hp. Also available was a higher-compression 1.1-liter S engine with 55 hp. This was joined in 1966 by a twin-carburetor version of the short-stroke engine with 60 hp.
The engine highlight was the 90 hp 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine – introduced in 1967 for the rallye version of the Kadett B – from the Rekord C. This unit was also featured in the Opel Olympia, already well-equipped in its premium variant, which also differentiated itself from the Kadett with visual elements such as grille molding wrapped around its front.
In addition to the classic four-speed transmission, from 1968 the Kadett was also available with a three-speed automatic gearbox, which was still unusual in this class at the time. Initially the three-speed automatic was only available with the 1.7 and 1.9-liter engines; one year later, buyers of the 1.1-liter Kadett with 60 hp were also able to forego the manual transmission.
The Opel Kadett B was an instant success, with more than 105,000 units leaving the plant in the first year. Its success went beyond Germany’s borders, with around 50 percent of annual production being exported.
Opel Kadett B’s career ended in July 1973 after 2.6 million models had been built.