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Friday 21st September 2012


SOTW: OPEL SENATOR

From a time when men were men, tabs were smoked and cassettes were listened to


Ok, confession time. Up until stumbling across this yesterday and it meeting with PH approval, I was unaware that this generation of Opel/Vauxhall Senator even existed. The word Senator conjured images of the second-generation car with two rectangular exhaust tips, a 24v badge and, more often than not, full Police livery. This is the first Senator 'A' I've ever seen, for sale or on the road.

Squishy: the Velcro delights of velour
Squishy: the Velcro delights of velour
So, what to make of it? Well, it clearly hails from a time when categorising cars was far simpler than now, when 'crossover' was what you did between lanes and a luxury car was always a saloon with plentiful room for driver, passengers and their luggage. There's a big (2.5-litre) and a smooth straight six in the front, powering the rear wheels through a conventional automatic 'box. Lovely.

At 4841mm long, the Senator was probably a massive car on British roads in 1984. Today, it's 1cm longer than a Vauxhall Insignia saloon. Moreover, because the general consensus on crash safety in the 80s was not to have much, the Senator is unencumbered by high-tensile steel pillars or safety cells. I mean, look at the size of the glass areas and how narrow the pillars are. This will feel like an open-air theatre to those accustomed to piloting more modern cars, and the (factory-fit option) sunroof will only add to the sense of space and lightness.

As well as that, would you check out those wheels and big, plump tyres, just the thing for wafting your passengers along in total comfort whilst they watch the world go by.

Yo ho me hearties, steer east-sou-east
Yo ho me hearties, steer east-sou-east
Though it seems I'm banging on about the good ol' days, there are certain areas where progress has delivered welcome change. Interiors, for example. That of the Senator is certainly not as appealing as its other features; the centre console is a cliff face, the steering wheel gigantic and the lever for the auto 'box resembles a mallet. And where's the leather?

But it's cruel to look for foibles in such an elusive old barge, especially one that appears in such great condition and is on offer at such a low price. Its 69,000 miles and four owners have certainly been kind to it; with tax and an MOT until next year, it's ready for someone to become the fifth and glide around for a few more. Just be prepared to tell people what it is...

Original advert is reproduced below

Paint code - Ron Burgundy
Paint code - Ron Burgundy
1984 2.5 Opel Senator. Carnelian Red with Black Velour Interior. Just 4 previous owners. 69,000 miles on the clock and old MOTs back to 2003. Current MOT until March 2013 and taxed until the end Jan 2013.Factory Fitted Tilt and Slide Steel Sunroof. Central Locking. 4 x Electric Windows. Original Alloys, good tyres. Blaupunkt Radio Cassette. Nice reliable classic. Might consider swap. WHY? £999

Author: Matt Bird