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Opel Senator (1978 - 1986)

Last updated 22 July 2013

 
4
Another finely engineered good to drive big Opel, fast in 3.0-litre form, based on tried and tested components
Lacking some charisma compared with its rivals, not as well made or rust resistant as it could be
129,644
were produced
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Introduction

The Opel Senator, and its coupe sister, the Monza, were direct replacements for the slow-selling KAD models - and were far more suited to executive buyers' tastes. It was based closely on the Rekord E, although clever restyling of the front- and rear-ends, as well as the move to six-light glasshouse, meant that the Senator was a far more substantial looking car. It was pitched as a rival to cars, such as the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz W123 - and in the UK, the Rover 3500.

The engine range was limited to the larger straight-six cam-in-head units, in 2.8- and 3.0-litre forms, with outputs ranging between 140 and 180bhp. The higher-powered model was a genuinely capable car, with excellent handling, well-controlled ride, and ample performance. Interiors were luxurious and commodious, but trim choices could be on the chintzy side. In the UK, it rivalled the Vauxhall Royale - a badge-engineered Senator with a UK-designed dashboard - and that obviously limited sales. Facelifted with a GM-generic front end in 1982, to become the Senator A2, although few of these were sold in the UK, as the Opel range was dropped in favour of an all-Vauxhall line-up.

 

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