Restoring Opel Kadett GTE





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  1. #1
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    Default Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Started with restoration of my 1984 Opel Kadett GTE - something I always planned, but kept postponing. One thing I can be grateful to Covid19, is the push to start this project.


    Opel, in response to Volkswagen having introduced the Mk1 Golf GTi, brought just under 900 of the GTEs to South Africa. These vehicles were all in white and fitted with 1800 (1796) engines with Bosch fuel injection. The power was claimed to 85kW at 5600rpm and 148Nm at 4800rpm.


    A bit of my history with the car:

    I bought it in Jan 1992 after seeing it one Sunday at Nissan Centre in Main Road, Green Point. Bought it without test driving and on collection day, the car battery was "so dood soos 'n mossie". Dealer fitted a new battery and off I went.

    I phoned the previous (first) owner to chat about the car - according to him the only reason he sold it was because, though Opel upgraded the front brakes, they never did the same with the rear brakes and he had some scary moments because of the lack of braking of the car. I also soon learnt why he said it - this thing is (was) quite fast and using the brakes from the unmentionable speeds would get the brakes smoking and smelling very quickly.

    I recall driving on the West Coast Road one Friday evening and this other car coming up my backside, flashing lights as he came. I did the honourable thing by letting him pass and then getting on his rear bumper. Again, at some unmentionable speed, he realised that either he didn't want to drive at that speed or his car couldn't go faster - I would like to think more the 2nd one as it was - yes you guessed right - a Golf 2 GTi.

    This car was also used to travel between Pretoria and Cape Town after we moved to Pretoria.

    The car fell out of favour when we started buying more fancier cars and over the last few years, it was only used now and again.

    Fast forward to March 2020 and the President's announcement of a lockdown and Voila! no reason not to start the restoration process. So to date I have:

    1. Removed the whole interior that includes the roof lining, seats, carpets, dashboard, etc. The only things remaining are the heater, steering wheel, pedals and wiring.
    2. Removed the rear lights and tow bar.
    3. Currently busy with removing the engine.

    In stripping it thus far, I noted that it has quite a bit of rust on the front passenger floor.

    The intention with the restore is to:

    1. Strip the car completely so whoever I choose to do the bodywork must remove all rust, put plates in (no or very little body filler and/or fibreglass). Vehicle to be resprayed in the original colour

    2. Have the interior restored to its original colour and material. Except for the driver seat which has wear on the bolster, the other seats are still in very good condition.

    3. The engine is still in very good condition, not using any oil or water. However, I'm thinking that whilst it is out, maybe I should get someone to whisper some sweet nothings to it so it could be a bit improved in the power and torque outputs. Easiest way to get higher outputs, could be to put a 2l 16v in there; however, I want to keep the car as original as possible and I don't have the time or inclination to run around getting police clearances, etc.

    4. Whilst busy, I'm thinking of upgrading the rear brakes to discs - the original rear brakes are the same drum system found on the 1300 Kadetts of that era.

    Now I need the forum members' assistance regarding advise who to use for the bodywork and an engineering shop / workshop to whisper the sweet nothings to the engine.

    2007 Disco3 (SWAMBO)
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Some photos of the car and the stripping process thus far.

    The first photo of the car with its original white mags is what it looked like from the factory - the car in the photo is not mine but they all looked the same
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    Last edited by vnitos; 2020/04/01 at 04:15 PM.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Ahhhh.........one of my dream Pocket Rockets when still young.

    Had a CTi Golf 1,8 at that time, sort of a GTi Golf 1 "reincarnation", but ALWAYS eyed the GTE..........especially the "Boss" 200 i that also - well - was the Boss at the time.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    At some stage my sister had a red CTi - but that thing gave her more problems than pleasure. But it was because it was in such poor condition when she bought it - when I saw the car the first time (after she bought it) and checked the spare wheel - the spare wheel was about to fall out - there was no metal it was so rusted through.

    Also, it once broke down in Mossel Bay and I went to fetch it - just before Buffeljagsrivier which is about 10 kms from Swellendam - I just saw smoke coming from the engine bay. When I stopped I noted that one of the fuel lines perished and sprayed petrol on the exhaust - fortunately I was able to stop the fire.

    I digress, that CTi was also quite fast, probably a bit faster than the GTE in the sprint, due to smoother gearchanges whilst the GTE's gear change was a bit notchy and you had to be precise in changing gears to get the most of it.

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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    One day, on my way from Cape Town to Mossel Bay, one of the stompgat Toyota Corolla Twincams decided to take me on. That day it took me about 2h30mins from CT to MB - however, the Corolla at some point gave up.

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    I hope you will be able to find those white rims somewhere.
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Good luck I had a golf GTI in 1984 and it cost me a leg and a half as I was a student then one friend had the GTE and it was great but not quite as well done and polished as the GTI , performance was about the same which was fantastic for that time, I have had much faster cars since then but those always leave a smile on your face
    Last edited by 12richardk; 2020/04/01 at 04:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    That was the British one, or am I mistaken?

    Does that one of yours have the 10 minute clutch replacement plate?
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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Nice cars. My first car was a 1979 Kadett C, not as fast or sporty as your GTE, but back then Opel used to build very decent little cars.
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Jeez I'm getting old! I can't believe the cars we used to drive as students are now being " restored' !

    Spent many a fun kilometer in GTE's, GSI's and Super Bosses!

    In my opinion the GTE was better built than the GSI
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    I was looking at buying my 1st car in 1994 and decided it should be a GTE. I test drove one with my BIL and took too long to decide. Lost the sale. Couldn't find an original one again.

    So I bought a 2.0 GTV instead... sounds about the same...right??
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    I hope you will be able to find those white rims somewhere.
    I actually have the rims - just have to have it spruce up a bit

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  18. #13
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois Theron View Post
    Jeez I'm getting old! I can't believe the cars we used to drive as students are now being " restored' !

    Spent many a fun kilometer in GTE's, GSI's and Super Bosses!

    In my opinion the GTE was better built than the GSI
    And the prices some of those go for - there is currently a GTE on sale for R65k and a Cortina XR6 Interceptor for R300k.

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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    So update op die "stripping" proses:

    Binnekant, is soos voorheen genoem, omtrent kaal en het die laaste paar dae, so tussen video conferences en so aan, die enjin begin uithaal en vandag die enjin uiteindelik uitgekry.

    Paar fotos
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Hoekom carburettor?
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Supposed to be fuel injected..........https://www.carfolio.com/specificati...car/?car=39039
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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    What is the engine no? Is it a 1800?

    Then find a manifold an injectors and put back the FI
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  23. #18
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois Theron View Post
    Hoekom carburettor?
    Had issues with fuel injection system years ago and no one including various of the Opel dealers (Williams Hunt, Reeds Delta, Ferndale Delta, etc.) could figure it out and the then solution was to put a Weber 36DCD on it.

    Intention is to put fuel injection back on during this restoration as i suspect that the problems we had then was due to issues with the computer box which I will also replace
    Last edited by vnitos; 2020/04/04 at 12:33 PM.

    2007 Disco3 (SWAMBO)
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  24. #19
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Quote Originally Posted by Henris View Post
    What is the engine no? Is it a 1800?

    Then find a manifold an injectors and put back the FI

    Yep its an original GTE - see other post about reasons for the carburettor

    2007 Disco3 (SWAMBO)
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    gti-eater (opel gte)

  25. #20
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    Default Re: Restoring Opel Kadett GTE

    Quote Originally Posted by ZuluCowboy View Post
    That was the British one, or am I mistaken?

    Does that one of yours have the 10 minute clutch replacement plate?

    Yes, it is the one with the 10 minute clutch replacement plate

    2007 Disco3 (SWAMBO)
    2004 Merc platkar (SWAMBO) - no more
    gti-eater (opel gte)

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