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Old 07-08-2022, 04:56 PM
Sune Sune is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Dec. 2022
Join Date: Jun 2022
Location: Herning, Denmark
Posts: 20
Default Opel Kadett C Coupé 1974

I thought I would share my progress in restoring the body of my Kadett. It's an ongoing project and is not going to be finished anytime soon, as I have had two kids in the time I have been working on the car. Anyone with little kids know how that goes

Anyway, it's someting I really enjoy and I prioritize to spend some time on this when time permits.

The car is an Opel Kadett C Coupé from 1974 born with a 1.2l push rod engine producing 52 hp. Not much, but the car weighs only 800 kg. Drum brakes on all four corners and no brake booster

I've noticed there's not many Opel projects on this forum Probably because Opel was owned by GM until recently and thus many old Opels were sold under different names outside of Europe. Despite that, many of you will probably look at an Opel Kadett C and recognize the body lines. The Kadett C was developed by Opel but used as GM's T-car which has been sold under many different names around the world. Vauxhall Chevette in UK, Holden Gemini in Australia and Chevrolet Chevette in USA to name a few.

A Kadett C is not a particular rare car in my part of the world (Denmark), but since it was average Joe's car, most of them rotted away and have been scrapped (they are good at rusting). Not many are left these days and many of the ones that still exists are badly repaired and patched together - they have only recently picked up in value, so that explains it to some extend.

1.7 million Kadett C were produced. Of those only 165000 were coupés. The majority of the coupes were fitted with 1.2l engines like mine. Only the coupe body recieved larger displacement engines and were named GT/E. Less than 20000 GT/Es were made and those are highly sought after today. Of those 20000 about 2000 of them were a motorsport variant called the 1000 series - the absolute holy grail of Kadett Cs Anyway, back to my example.

I purchased the car sight unseen as a car "restored" to a fair and usable state. It was, but more on that in a bit. It passed the Danish car inspection and was registered right away. Here's how she looked when I bought her:

I modified it a bit and drove it for a year or so. It was lowered. I made a new exhaust and build a set of wheels (widening a set of Opel steel rims)

I enjoyed it like that but I have always had an itching curiosity for the rotary engine. So, the Kadett was destined to be a mule for me living that dream
The only real option was to find a Mazda 13B engine. Only problem is that rotary engines never cought on in Denmark and are rare as hens teeth. I managed to find a very rotten UK registered RX7 that a guy imported to be a donor for a MG midget project. That project never materialized and I bought it of him.

It doesn't look bad on the picture, but trust me it was. I pulled engine and transmission out and gifted the shell to another guy that wanted to build a track day car.

I could post a lot about the drivetrain swap but since this is a metal shaping forum I don't know if that is really relevant. Let me know and I can do a post on that subject! Here's the engine:

Bridgeported and 50mm Weber DCO carburettor, MX5 gearset in transmission - all the old school bells and whistles I've never touched a rotary engine before, so the result is going to be interesting. I hope for somewhere in the region of 220 hp.

While working on the drivetrain swap I poked a bit at the body in some areas that looked "iffy". I knew the body wasn't in a great condition and it was my plan to restore it - but only after the swap was completed. But my poking around soon revealed that it had been "restored" with bodyfiller

Battery tray:

Opposite side:

So right then and there I decided to strip it down and do the bodywork before going any further with the swap. I made a rotisserie, removed all the undercoating, sanded all external surfaces down to bare metal and sent it off to sand blasting.

Got it back in epoxy primer.

The metal work could begin ...
Sune Oestergaard
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Old 07-08-2022, 08:28 PM
foamcar foamcar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NE Michigan
Posts: 162

Thanks for posting your project. Think that coupe was sold in USA with 1.8 liter engine. A friend of mine had one.
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Old 07-09-2022, 05:12 AM
Gojeep's Avatar
Gojeep Gojeep is offline
MetalShaper of the Month March 2015, March 2020,, June 2022
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Eastern Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,811

Include the engine and mechanical side of it as well as very much welcomed when part of a build over all.
Interesting project for sure.
We got the 2 door version here as a Gemini like mentioned.
aka. Gojeep
Victoria, Australia

Invention is a combination of brains and materials.
The more brains you use, the less materials you need.
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Old 07-12-2022, 03:05 PM
Pehr Pehr is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Öckerö Sweden
Posts: 58
Default Kool

Will follow with interest. Old Kadett coups are kool.
I used to have a RX3 with a swapped 13B for a while.
Please include the mechanical part of this build thread.
Pehr Norström
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Old 07-12-2022, 04:37 PM
Steve Hamilton's Avatar
Steve Hamilton Steve Hamilton is offline
ADMINISTRATOR MetalShaper of the Month Dec. '09 & May '11
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Fond du Lac WI.
Posts: 2,275

Hi Sune
Nice project!
As was stated above, all phases of a complete build are welcomed.
Thanks for posting your project, I look forward to seeing the details and lots of pictures.
Steve Hamilton
Hamilton Classics
Auto Restoration & Metalshaping
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Old 07-12-2022, 07:08 PM
Marc Bourget Marc Bourget is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: North Ca
Posts: 592

Did the body survive sandblasting well?

No "ripples"?
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Old 07-13-2022, 01:41 AM
Fargoman Fargoman is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 58

Also had a swapped 12A in 1969/70 into an early MGB.

Always good to read of engine swaps.
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Old 07-13-2022, 03:35 AM
Jaroslav Jaroslav is offline
MetalShaper of the Month April 2020, September 2021, November 2022
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 2,191

I don't know which way is better. Sand or water.
Sand, if used insensitively, does a lot of damage. I saw one sports car inflated like a balloon after sandblasting. They completely destroyed him.
We wash the body with water. Pressure 2500Ba. Clean sheet metal, no surface damage, no chemical weakening.
But water gets into the cavities and it is necessary to deal with it in time. I prefer water for loose parts. It's perfect.
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On the left is after the paint has been washed off, it has been treated with an anti-corrosion agent.
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All hidden details will be revealed.
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Old 07-13-2022, 04:28 PM
Pehr Pehr is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Öckerö Sweden
Posts: 58

Jaroslav, are you only using high pressure water or does it include any other blasting medium?
Pehr Norström
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Old 07-19-2022, 06:11 AM
Antoine_P Antoine_P is offline
MetalShaper of the Month August 2020, Sept 2022
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Posts: 240

What an interesting project, looking forward to see more!!

Antoine Puygranier
Resurrecting a 60 ghia:

Fixing a 914:
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