The little car bowed in American in 1958. It was a boxy thing, underpowered and underwhelming, a reminder that most European cars could not compete on our superhighways. In time, we came to know the line for three distinct models: the Kadett, the Manta and the GT – the third a dead ringer for a baby Corvette.
But the German auto maker produced other cars for other markets, including a line for Europeans who wanted to know what it felt like to drive something big and powerful. In 1964, Opel unveiled the Diplomat, an homage to the chrome behemoths of North America. The Diplomat looked like something from Detroit, with its wide stance and generous chrome. It even offered the 327 V8 – yes, that 327. It was a deal with GM, its parent company.
The last Diplomat rolled off the assembly line in 1977. This model, which appears to be from the early 1970s, is abandoned in a parking lot at an export nursery where our correspondent worked in the spring of 1984.
Boskoop, the Netherlands, 4,400 miles northeast of Atlanta.
(Photos by Junkyard Correspondent Marva Brackett Godin)