Opel Kapitan, Admiral and Diplomat (1964 – 1968) Review

Opel Kapitan, Admiral and Diplomat (1964 – 1968) At A Glance


+American-inspired styling, big choice of engines, supremely well-engineered and refined

-A bit too left-field for your average classic car fan in the UK

Opel's impressive new luxury car of 1964 was a range of three badge-engineered variants of what would colloquially become known as the KAD. The Opel Kapitan, Admiral and Diplomat were referred to as 'The Big Three' by Opel, and were initially offered with the 2.6- and 2.8-litre straight-sixes and a lazy V8 4.6-litre Chevrolet small-block V8. Clearly in classic terms, it's the latter that's the most interesting of the bunch, as it offers an appealing combination of US style and power with German engineering, and a ride/handling balance that was right up there with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

The range was joined by the imposing looking Diplomat Coupé in V8 form only, from 1965 - although it was built in strictly limited numbers. The range was lightly facelifted in September 1967, receiving new side rubbing strips, ZF recirculating ball power assisted steering, and a heated rear window. Despite being so good to drive, the KADs were over-priced and over-sized for European tastes, and they would not prove to be the sales success that Opel had hoped for. Rare now, even at German classic car shows.