Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]

This here is probably the best engine casting done by Lesney, and certainly for the pre-Superfast era.

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But wait, an Opel with a V8?

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]
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Yes, the Kapitän, Admiral, and Diplomat large Opel sedans were newly available with Chevrolet V8s for 1965. Both Chevrolet and Opel were under the GM umbrella at the time, and the Opel made use of the small-block 283ci (4.6L) and 327ci (5.4L) V8s in their full-size sedan lineup.

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]
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The model here is a Diplomat A - Diplomat was the top-trim large sedan (above the Kapitän and Admiral), and A denoted the first generation using the new naming scheme.

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]
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While all the Opel large sedans were offered with inline sixes as well, the one depicted by Matchbox is the rare V8, since the underhood engine has two cylinder banks.

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]
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The air cleaner and twin valve covers are precisely molded, along with various accessories, in what appears to be chrome plastic. A less common variation has the engine molded in a medium grey.

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]
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Sales were of course low for a V8-powered family sedan in Europe, although the 327ci V8 was carried over to the next generation. Large sedans from non-prestige manufacturers (Opel, Ford) never sold very well in Europe, and both manufacturers ceded the market to Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW, which had more snob appeal.

Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]
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Illustration for article titled LaLD Engine Week: 8-Cylinder - Opel Diplomat A [1:64]

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