The first Admiral was introduced early in 1937 at the Berlin Motor Show, although production did not begin until the end of the year, with just eight being produced in 1937. The model was an attempt to challenge luxury cars in the growing 3.5-litre class from Horch, Mercedes-Benz and Maybach.
However, it came with a substantially lower price than the similarly sized and powered cars from these premium manufacturers, which combined with its generously proportioned but technically straightforward chassis to make it a favorite with builders of specialist car bodies. Unlike the slightly smaller unitary bodied Opel Kapitän introduced at the end of 1938, the Admiral used a traditional separate chassis. It turned up with several different bespoke cabriolet and limousine bodies, and also provided the chassis, engine and running gear for various substantial ambulances.
An Opel today is only luxurious if the buyer ticks everything off the extralist. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, the company produced a whole series of models for the most demanding and wealthy customers: the Diplomat was the top of the trio of models (Kapitän, Admiral, Diplomat), also known as the KAD models, and the coupé version, which cost the price of seven Volkswagen Beetles, was the flagship at the top.
Only 347 of these were made, and it’s not just the looks that remind you of America: the V8 version also had Chevrolet’s 5.4-litre, 230bhp engine. We admire it today, but it was not what European car buyers of the time wanted, and the coupe and four-door were no success stories. After the Diplomat A with its driving lamp, which was produced between 1964 and ’68, the Diplomat B with its floor-standing lamp was tried until 1977, leaving Europe with the smaller, more European Senator.
The cars were first introduced in February 1964. The Chevrolet-powered V8 Diplomats rolled off the production line.
The Admiral B was unveiled just in time for the Geneva Motor Show in March 1969, along with the new Kapitan and Diplomat. While production of the Kapitän was discontinued from May 1970, the Admiral and Diplomat remained in production until 1977. They were replaced in 1978 by the smaller Opel Senator.

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