From Peters Picturebook

My Cars From 1978 Until Today


1978 - 79 : Opel Kadett B Limousine
1979 - 81 : Opel Kadett B Coupé-F
1981 - 88 : Opel Ascona 16 A Voyage
1986 - 87 : Opel Ascona 16 A Limousine
1988 - 90 : Opel Senator A1 2.5E
1990 - 97 : Chrysler Saratoga 3.0 LE
1997 - 97 : Opel Kadett E 1.8
1997 - 99 : Chrysler Saratoga 3.0 LE
1999 - ?? : BMW 525i / 24 valve Automatic

1986 : Intermezzo with an AMC Gremlin

And what's next ?

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1978 - 1979
Opel Kadett B Limousine, 1100 cc, 45 hp, 125 km/h

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Kadett #1

Archive Picture Opel Kadett B
But this is the 4-door Version !

That was my first car. I'm sorry but I have no useable picture of it - one or two Transparencies yes, but I haven't got the time to scan them, so I took this picture from an Archive.

My car was a beige 2-door Limousine, built September 1966, so it already had the coil-spring rear axle and the larger rear lights. It had the 1100 cc motor with 45 hp and the old 4-speed floor stick shift and the long shift-lever without this ring under the knob, unlike to the later models, which has to be pulled for accessing the reverse gear.
The license-plate number of that car was DT-LP 24 und I bought it in spring 1978 but got my driving license in September that year. It was a bargain and good occasion. Well - a good opportunity to get the car a little better equipped and making 'enhancements' on it, like Rallystripes, CB and radio with two stereo speakers as well. The end of this car came, when I took a sharp bend on wet and muddy road on rundown tires with too much speed ... a slip-out, driving into free nature, hit something solid ... the frame was bend after that and a repair was impossible and would have cost more than the cars' value. I took out the motor and most of the useable parts and wrecked the remaining rest.
The engine was an old piece of cast-iron from the '65 production - he had then survived the fourth body. The engine code was 11-0123495 and it played a major role in the next car again ...

1979 - 1981
Opel Kadett B-LS Coupé-F, 1100 cc, 50 hp, 135 km/h

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Kadett #2/1

Opel Kadett B-LS Coupé F (Model '69)
Picture taken at a stop on a longer tour somewhere in 1980

My second Kadett. Now as a Coupé. What the -F- stands for ? I don't know exactly, but guess it must be Fastback, because there was another Coupé model which was more rectangular in shape.
This car was copper-brown metallic - very elegant, bought from first hand from a retiree. Phantastic condition. But the old man hasn't ever gone over long distances, the car hasn't come far out of town with his first owner. I found it out very quick, when I was on my way for the first larger tours with it - after the usual installation of Stereo and CB.
This one had the 1100 cc-engine too, but with an other exhaust system it has 50 hp and the short floor mounted stickshift. The engine runs not bad but had an oil-consuption like a battletank: half a liter over 200 kilometers was usual. One day fate caught me. Somewhere between Oldenburg and Vechta I had to park the car with the engine blast. We then installed the old engine from the previous Kadett. With that the car runs excellent until its end.

Kadett #2/2

That's how the Coupé looks from the rear

This end came - again - on a wet road. Someone tried to turn around behind a right bend. I had to rush aside, came off the road, crossed a deep groove the hard way and the car had - again - a totally bended frame. It won't drive straight ahead anymore. A total desaster. That guy who caused the accident went off unknown and so there was no money from any insurance. Bad luck to me.

1981 - 1988
Opel Ascona-A-Voyage 16, 1600 cc, 68 hp, 145 km/h

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Ascona #1/1

Opel Ascona-A 16 Voyage (Model '71)
After the restauration in SR-Look, firery-red with black engine hood

My fire-red toy-mobile. I really loved that car. And it had to pass a lot of stress while I owned it.
Having bought it as a replacement for the second Kadett and because I needed a lot more storage and room. I was fifth owner. The car was equipped with the small CIH-engine 1600 cc and 68 hp. During the time I purchased this car, my fellow Roland and I had already begun, specializing on the restauration of old Opel GT's and my car was ideal a rolling testing platform for the GT motors and gearboxes because of the Opel building-block system.

Ascona #1/2

Here's the rear view
This model was also available in the USA with
wooden-style decorations on the sides and automatic gearbox

I can't say how often we took out engine and gearbox and tested some GT parts in it, but at least we were so good, that the installation of the original engine including gearbox never took longer than one hour - and then I were able to drive away ! The original engine was later modified and recently enhanced with a lot of GT parts - the top speed was around 200 km/h. Not bad for a caravan, right ?
In between I had the car completely restored. That took half a year because I was in a re-education project at that time. During that phase I bought a second Ascona - the limousine of next chapter - which was originally planned to be disassembled and wrecked. Afterwards we decided that it deserved to have a better fate.
After restauration I had sport-wheel, sport-seats, sport-steeringwheel all from the Manta-A-SR, Spoilers, stripes and a black motorhood. Looked really great.
Then I've got that job in Hamburg and after half a year of touring up and down the Autobahn the 1600cc engine was blown again and I - again - had no time to repair it. So I put the car into the garage, were it stayed until Summer '95. Then I sold it to an enthusiast.

1986 - 1987
Opel Ascona-A 16 Limousine, 1600 cc, 68 hp, 148 km/h

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Ascona #2/1 Ascona #2/2

Opel Ascona-A 16 Limousine (Model '74)
Also after restauration.
Upper half signal-(frog)-green, lower half dark-green

The Exceptional Ascona. Should have been disassembled and wrecked, but after a short repairing phase and after a paintjob it looked that fine and was technically that good, that I was able to sell it without problems. Runs like hell but that froggy signal-green of the early seventies was an optical torture. Therefore we painted its lower half in dark-green, separated by a thin silver stripe. Looked much better.

1988 - 1990
Opel Senator A1 2.5E Limousine, 2500 cc, 136 hp, 180 km/h

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Senator #1/1

Opel Senator-A1 2.5E (Intermediate-Model '82)
The Old Faithful

After the Ascona Voyage was parked with an engine-breakdown in the garage a new car had to be sold. Because of my weekly 1000 kilometers average something must be bought that could stand the test of long-distance travelling.
This Opel Senator was found at a local dealer in the last dusty corner: 5.950 DM to cost, 180.000 Kilometers on the counter, new tires, first hand, 2.5 Liter Fuel-injected Line-six, 136 hp, automatic gearbox and a - let's say - economy class interieur. No A/C, no central lock, no electric gimmicks at all. The camshaft was damaged instead.
I found that out after two month because the car runs very poor. Another camshaft (from my private stock) was supplied and installed, coming from a 2.8 Liter carburator-engine. Was a greal deal - the car runs marvellous and relatively economic.

Senator #1/2

Rear View - still without the large CN-decal in rear windows

Within two years I turned up the counter onto 312.000 Kilometers and with the exception of 'minor malfunctions' (like broken lifter, worn out brake disks, gearbox replaced) that could been fixed easy and few expensive, the car was absolutely reliable and a fine, comfortable Touring car. But: rust never sleeps. It has taken lower parts of front doors and the next TÜV (road-worthiness test) was coming soon. The radiator was leaking, water-pump untight and - again - I hadn't had the time to repair it by myself.
Again I had to take a look for another car. The Senator was sold to the guy who replaced the automatic gearbox for me at 280.000. He did the repair. A year ago I saw my old Senator with a HRO-Numberplate again in Hamburg. The large white CompuNet°-Sign in the rear windows told me that it was definitely mine ... Old Faithful !

1990 - 1997
Chrysler Saratoga 3.0 LE, 2972 cc, 141 hp, 182 km/h

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Saratoga #1/1

Chrysler Saratoga 3.0 LE (Model '89)
The only American in the Neighborhood:
wine-red metallic with bright-grey interiour

It should have been another Opel again. But in a strange way I stumbled over a Chrysler. A former girl-friend of my fellow Roland bought a Chrysler ES from a local Chrysler-Jeep dealer. I know that guy recently from another dealer. That ES appealed to me, too. But in Germany the GTS and ES-Series were only available with 4-cylinder engines and if you intend to take the automatic then you have to take the asthmatic 2.5-Liter / 98 hp-engine. That's what I didn't want.

Saratoga #1/2

Then the dealer offered me his presentation-car: 3 Liter, V6, Automatic, run 6.500 Km, lots of Extras, electronic toy-stuff. Well - at a price where it is damned hard to say "No".
At first I was a bit sceptical: an american car under stressy german road- and traffic-conditions ? Will that go fine ? My neighbours were similarly sceptical, too. With some exceptions - to mention on another page - the Chrysler did withstand the test on over 300.000 kilometers.

But: not much longer right now. After we had luckily passed the 300.000 kilometer-mark I had an accident on the thursday before easter '97. A young guy with a Mitsubishi 4x4 drove into the Chrysler and the damage was done. It has to be 'signed off' from traffic and is written off by the insurance.
It is not quite clear if I'm going to repair the Saratoga or give it away. It is standing in the backyard, waiting for the things to come ... and I had to get another temporary replacement car for the meantime very quick:

1997 - 97
Opel Kadett E, 1772 cc, 84 hp, 178 km/h

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Kadett #3/1

Opel Kadett E 1.8 (from 1987)
... and another replacement-car again. Again an Opel

One of my team-mates had bought a new car and wants to trade this Kadett: built 1987, run 140.000 km, 1.8 litres, 84 hp, 5 doors, 5-speed manual shifting, trailer hitch and 15 month german roadworthiness.
Should cost 750 DM. "Can't go wrong anyway" I thought and took it. Of course it has some minor mistakes and in the beginning I had trouble coming around with the manual gearbox. It goes much better now and most of the malfunctions have already been fixed.
Only real mistake: the car corresponds only to 'Euro-Norm' exhaust controls and has no catalyzer ! But runs on unleaded fuel.
Let's look how long we stay together ... !

1997 - 1999
Chrysler Saratoga 3.0 LE, 2972 ccm, 141 PS, 196 km/h

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Saratoga #2/1

Well: there are offers, which are hard to reject. If someone offers a well maintained, good running Saratoga at a very fair price and the Kadett isn't really what a car should be - one should take the occasion.

The new one is silver, built in 1991 and had ran 108.000 kilometers, which is not too much. In addition the price was very reasonable.

This 1991 Chrysler Saratoga finally had the Air Condition (I hadn't missed up to then) and Anti-Lock brake system. That last one was a bit tricky and malfunctioning at the beginning, until I discovered a cracked tonewheel at the left front wheel, which recently slipped of the hub and outside the ABS-sensor range. While this thing was only available with the entire CVJ - and should cost around 1.000 DM - I simply "fixed" the tonewheel with 2-component glue (means: I glued it entirely on the joint). That did it up to now for about 21.000 kilometers.
Little malfuctions -apart from the ABS-Problem- only a steering wheel lock, which engages in a very strange position, a steering column panel, which makes sqeaking noise at extreme cold days, a not-working outside mirror heating (right side still doesn't work, maybe a broken cable, which blows the fuse) and - of course - wet headlamps. But I already knew that problem and got it fixed meanwhile.

The "New One" has a different gear-ratio and is a bit faster than the red one, therefore it is a bit slower in the 0 to 100 km/h acceleration. More about that on another page.

I didn't have many problems with the silver one and was pretty glad with it. Until one fateful Tuesday in September 1999. On my way to Hamburg something broke with a loud noise in the transmission and I managed to limp to the next parking lot just so. After transporting the car back to the workshop it turned out that I would need a new gearbox again, new right driveshaft, and - in respect to the coming roadworthiness tests - a new catalyzer (Again !) and new frontwheel bearings.
The costs were calculated up to about 10.000 DM - more than I payed for the car and far more than it was actually worth.
So I went on strike. Disregard how much I liked the car, but too much is too much and I sold it off.

Time to get something else. I did not know at that point what car I would get next. My Chrysler Dealer had nothing in my price-range at hand, so I cruised the other dealers in my area. Saw a lot cars. They were either outside my price range, total crap or japanese or french cars, which I did not want.

One day my old friend Roland came up with a car on the lot of a Mercedes Benz dealer ......

1999 - ?
BMW 525i / 24 valve, 2494 ccm, 192 PS, 215 km/h

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white BMW 525i

From February on there was this 1991 BMW 525i / 24 valve with the "big" 5-Speed Automatic that no one wanted. Had one previous owner, 89.000 km on the counter and a set of wintertires in the trunk.

The problem with it: no A/C, e-powered windows on the front doors only and - it is white.

white BMW 525i

Said the dealer: "If it were black, grey, red, dark blue or even green - I could have sold it ten times. People come up, look, find it very nice and say they call me. And that was it ..."
The price was pretty interesting. After some calculation he came up with 13.000 DM. He took it for significantly more - and it could be found for a much higher value in the pricelists. He simply want to get rid of it.
So I took the white BMW.

Problems so far: a totally mis-adjusted front axle (the previous owner must have been an ambitious "Curbs-Rambo"), a loose steering and about 1 Inch "idle" in the steering wheel. Resulting in a poor stability and it was practically impossible to drive higher speeds with that. Obviously the car hadn't seen Autobahns very often. And if - only at lower speeds. Then the engine waterpump gave up. Commented the man in the BMW-workshop: "Well - might happen on cars that hadn't been used for longer." - okay - so what ?
Winter came and passed without major problems, thanks to the wintertires. But the new summertires run pretty poor on the steelwheels with plastic covers. I will have to switch to Alu-wheels recently. Roadholding and straightness isn't yet not very satisfying. Guess I'll have to consult a workshop on that too. At higher speeds the car is pretty instable and needs permanent supervision. It is much worser than with the Chryslers (which might be suspected to have problems with that - but didn't) and ten times worser than the Opel Senator, which was a groundbreaking example of directional stability and roadholding.

But the cars runs quite nice. The 5-speed automatic has a switch for economy, sport- and winter operation mode, which helps a lot. The most I miss the middle arm rest ... several instruments - and the marvellous Clarion radio from the Chryslers. The antique BMW Bavaria-radio isn't worth a shit. On the other hand the BMW has a circuitry that uses the rear window defogger as antenna. That's nice in a car-wash.
Speedwise the much more powerful BMW is par with the silver Saratoga. Funny enough. Over 200 km/h the BMW developes strange, nerving noises. Some hissing and whining, which seems to come out of the dashboard ventilation. At least it stops, when I close the vents.

Guess there's something left to do on that car ...

Intermezzo 1986 - The AMC Gremlin
3800 cc, 89 hp, 130 km/h

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Gremlin #1
Damned No ! It's no Honda Civic - it's a GREMLIN !

In the meantimes I had honestly intended driving an american car. A 1977 AMC Gremlin.
Sadly it stayed with the intention, a) there were almost no spare parts available in Germany, b) I hadn't much time to rebuild and repair the car and c) I wonder if I had a lot of fun at all with the car.

The complete story: a girl-friend had bought "a funny little car" from a dealer in Bochum, ugly like the sin and - sorry by that - incomplete. It was former staff-car from US embassy in Bonn, black, 3.8 Liter straight-six, automatic, cheapest version, Seat-bench front and rear, lousy 89 hp, front-grille broken in parts, hood-lifters rusted, Ignition-box and tank missing. After several weeks of half-hearted trying she asked me disencouraged if I didn't want to continue. I wanted. So the Gremlin landed in our barn.

Gremlin #2
That's the 'little black Monster' - a canister tied to the front as tank

On very twisted pathes I managed to get an ignition-box for the car and could get the motor spring back to life again. With a sort of replacement-tank I were able to drive with it as well - but only with the red testing number-plate and not very far off. The Gremlin's engine comes from the old CJ-5 Jeep and is a monsterous lump of iron. The whole car weight about 1300 Kilogramm.
The Gremlin was a car of manifold obstacles. First one: if you pump down the pedal the car runs like hell - as long as you stay in first gear. If the automatic shifts up - well - then the fun is over.
Trying to stop the car, you will learn what obstacle No. 2 is: disk-brakes on front wheels, 1300 Kilograms - and no brake-booster. You won't make up nothing with only one foot. Use both feet and stamp on it. That will cause any result. Seems as if they knew the old Henry-Ford Quote about T-Model brakes: "Brake now, stop later !"

Third obstacle: you are standing still, wanting to park in. Harharhar. What to hell do you think is the steering wheel such big ? Because the car has got 195 tires and no power-steering. Pull powerful - gives you muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gremlin #3
Only genuine with that sort of plastic couch - and the big steering wheel.
Column steering and Simpliest-Interior - they didn't even give a clock

For a period of time we tried to make familiar with that car and giving it a better habit, getting an appropriate tank, installing a brake-booster (from german Ford Granada) and - and - and ... !
It could have been a really good car, but then we had to give up the barn and at home there wasn't enough room to do the neccessary work, so I gave the Gremlin to someone else. If he managed to make a good functional car out of it ... I don't know. Friend and car have vanished without a trace. Really sad for the Gremlin.

What ? Want More ?

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No no, that should be the end. Maybe I bring a couple of nice pictures to you from the 'Great Times of The Barn' or from that Grandpa who stored all his previously owned cars in this garden ... but that will take some more time.

Until then you must have a little patience.

The German Version of that Grandpa-Story you may already see here. If you are interested - have a look.

Tips, Questions, Enhancements, Suggestions ... in those cases you may write me a note.

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© 1998 Peter H. Wendt - pw software production