1973 Opel 1900 Sport Wagon (with aftermarket spoiler)
There was once a time when the German-based division came up with a dull emission catalog. Most cars which made it to the catalog were from the Ascona range or 1900, as famously called in America. Compared to the small Kadett and bigger Rekord, the Ascona’s size was just capable enough and just the right size to make a Beetle look small. The flexibility of the platform meant that almost all of Opel units sold in Buick dealerships were either Ascona-based or related. There were coupes, sedans and a three-door station wagon. Even though the so-called Manta is the sportiest version of the coupe, the wagon would still be considered the most valuable fun among the others. The 1900 Sport Wagon was actually just as enjoyable to ride like the Manta, but had a feel of uncommonness. That’s why only few were sold among this model, unlike the other American-bound Opel cars.
Small wagons are classics, and almost a number of them were not in sporty version such as the Ford Pinto. The Pinto looked cool in its lifestyle-oriented appearance packages. It is stylish and was never thought for a driver’s car. The famous three-door configurations were evident among small wagons during its time. It’s rather a fascinating characteristic of these cars. The options were from shooting brake designs like those of Volvo 1800 ES, the budget-friendly choices from Chevrolet (Vega Kamback) and lastly, Ford’s Pinto. The local trend may have been due to the influence of cheaper development costs, but the small three-door wagons had a sportier appeal compared to their four-door counterparts from Mazda(RX-3) and Nissan(Datsin 510).
The Opel 1900 Sport Wagon made a humble approach towards improving their performance. Having three-door structure, 1900 was alike to the Pinto Cruising Wagon. Both were enjoyable, even though it is not very evident in Opel for different ways. Same with Pinto, The Vega have no real performance version in wagon form.
The Vega is controlled better compared to a number of small cars and may be considered the nearest local mini wagon to the 1900 in sprit. Even then that Vega was styled after the appearance of the sporty Camaro, much of its interior design was a product of imitated look of a number of intermediate cars. The Opel had a German business-like effect with a sporty semi-console. Its clear exterior lines were also present inside with a minimalist control layout, comprising a semi-console. Americans expected such interior type among other more costly European cars from BMW, Audi and Mercedes. The Opel actually had the appeal and vibe of a driver’s car unlike a common Pinto, in which seemed to be designed not carefully.
Most of the features present in this particular car were not evident in some domestic cars; Quad headlights, disc brakes and hydraulic valve lifters just to name a few. Thus, these features were only common and present on bigger cars. The slick shifting four-speed manual transmission contributed to the Sport Wagon’s glamour.
Typically among the small cars of that age, the 1900 Sport Wagon has 13-inch wheels with wheel covers. With estimated 90 hp, the 1.9-liter SOHC 4 cylinder engines were unlike a muscle car. Instead, it had more similarities with other inline rev happy engines from BMW and Audi than Chevy or Buick. During the final year, fuel injection became available but was just too late for this Opel in America. Opel units got more costly when the exchange rate with Germany became very poor. Buick soon settled in designing own small cars.
Buick now depends on Opel for compact cars. Only some can recall the small Opels now which aided help to Buick in overcoming its tough time during the automotive history. The Sport wagon made way for the small fun-to-drive cars during times when a small car was believed evil. A number of cars recently such as Mazda’s Portege5 had gained fame because of pioneers like Opel’s forgotten small wagon from 1970.
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