Best of Show Opel Senator

By Frank Koh

It’s a good thing the Opel Senator never reached American shores. It might have suffered the same fate as the Yugo. What a pity. It was a really, really awesome car, but it was a shame that this car suffered from endless mechanical and electrical problems. This Best of Show (BoS) 1/18 scale resin model of the Opel Senator A2 is a subtle reminder that once upon a time, Opel built luxury grand touring cars.

World-class engineering, yes. However, the Senator was plagued with incurable mechanical and electrical maladies. When Germany embarked on its own version of “Cash for Clunkers”, the Senator was one of the most popular vehicles that met their inglorious end at the jaws of the crusher.

When Adam Opel AG released the Opel Senator in 1978, automotive journalists gave it five-star ratings for grand touring performance, handling, comfort and refinement. The Senator directly competed with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series in the European full-size luxury car market. Like its rivals, the Senator was fast, roomy and opulent. But unlike the flagships from Stuttgart and Munich, the Senator did not grow old gracefully.

In fact, the Senator literally fell to pieces just a decade after it took the grand touring/luxury car market by storm. Furthermore, the car was a depreciation disaster of the highest order. Today, hardly any Opel Senators can be found anywhere in the world, outside of the Opel Museum and the private garages of  Opel enthusiasts.

It is quite surprising that Best of Show (BoS) was able to find an actual car to use as a template for this exquisite 1/18 scale resin model of the 1983-86 Senator A2 sedan. The A2 designation is the unofficial term for the facelift of the first version.  What a waste though. The A2 was really a nice car. The Senator could have been a landmark vehicle for GM Opel  It wouldn’t be shocking to assume that the BoS resin model of the Opel Senator will probably outlive the real car.

Even though the Australian Holden Commodore//Caprice were developed from the German Opel Rekord/Commodore/Senator platform, the Holdens have become cult cars, revered by enthusiasts for their sparkling performance and outright durability. Truth be told, that was one instance when the Australians beat the Germans at their own game.

Now that GM has sold off Opel and they are part of PSA, it would be great if they did return to the US with some landmark cars.  We will see!


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