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Opel Omega: An honest and delicious world car

Classics? That's about memories. The contractor from the Zoutelande area long before that song was made about that village. It was in the time that Zeeland Flemish contractors or larger Opels or Mercedes drove 200 diesels. Those were cars that were taken seriously enough in Zeeland without being seen as gaudy type.


“Ons Zeeuwen bunt zunig” is often misinterpreted.

As if Zeelanders wouldn't want to spend money. This is - partly due to the somewhat Burgundian streak of the Zeeland Flemish population - a wrong interpretation: Zeelanders are careful with what they have. On the other hand, smaller contractors from Zeeland were also basic go-getters from generations who previously worked very long days in the heavy clay and for whom a lunch of fourteen sandwiches was not uncommon.

So there was at least a towbar under the Opel or Mercedes

And if the work required it, a car like that had to work just as hard as the farmland workers of the past. 'Our' contractor hooked a tandem axle with construction rubble behind his Omega and thought he would leave the hilly building site. Later it was thought that there must have been about four and a half tons of debris on the trailer. To make a long story short: When the combination turned onto the road, the last bolt also broke and the towbar remained with the drawbar and more than four tons of debris, while the unleashed Opel happily jumped forward.

From Zoutelande to Sexbierum

That memory came back when we ended up at the very different end of the Netherlands, in Friesland near Dijkstra in Sexbierum (Frisian: Seisbierrum). In 1275 this place was already mentioned as Sixtis bears, in 1322 as Sixtebeeren, in 1324 in Latin as Beati Sixti Borum, in 1371 as Sexberum, in 1456 as Sixtiberum and in 1505 as Sexbierum. But in the past, the 'Sex' in Sexbierum was the first step towards interest in geography or history for the primary school boys. And there are about 1700 people living there, at least three of whom are infected by the classic virus: Sicco, Pieter and Simon Dijkstra, men who are without a doubt named after their company.

The virtually flawless Omega we saw there had apparently had a much easier life than its Zeeland counterpart. It was a picture of a car. A true time machine. A special feature of such a 'B' Omega is the low air resistance: 0,28 CW. The Opel from Sexbierum therefore only needs a four-cylinder sixteen-valve.

So omegas

Omegas were made between 500 and 3000 in the flavors 'bourgeois' to 'resoundingly dynamic' (special versions of the Omega: EVO 1986, Lotus Omega and the Omega 2003 sport). The first generation was the successor to the Opel Rekord. And in 1987 the Omega was named Car of the Year. That title was taken because of many modern technological developments, which were new to Opel in general, if not to the volume segment of the European car market.

These included electronic engine management, ABS, an on-board computer (displaying parameters such as current fuel consumption or average speed), air conditioning and even the then fashionable LCD instrument panel (available in CD version from 1987 but discontinued in 1991).

More importantly, the Omega came with a self-diagnosis system (which is now a standard feature in modern cars), the output of which can be read by properly equipped authorized service stations.

A world car

Omegas sold worldwide, but then simply lived under different names. In the States the Omega was the Cadillac Catera, in the UK it was called Vauxhall Omega. South America knew the Opel as Chevrolet Omega. In Australia the Opels were sold as 'Holden'.
At the moment it is quite difficult to find beautiful Omegas. Fortunately, even a beautiful Omega does not cost the world yet. And as Opel, such an Omega is the epitome of good deployability and reliability. Just be careful with lugging construction debris on tandem axles.

A Lotus Omega Carlton 3,6 liter. A very expensive and dynamic Omega


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28 Comments

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  1. When I get a drink, another “Omega story” comes to mind.
    In my childhood years in Moerwijk I sometimes helped a neighbor. He had a garage in our street and I regularly helped him with tinkering and getting parts at, what was the name of the store again, on the Calandkade.
    Scimitar out and regularly including an Omega B V6 3.0 (not II) in it, for a new clutch. That job three times in a year or two became too much, what a fight on that granite floor, with that Omega on goats. Whether the owner has bought another car for his debris-filled tandem-axle trailers or whether the towbar has been sold with Omega? No idea.

  2. I still think the Omega II has a “charming” appearance, especially the caravans. For me the start of the more elegant stations. You hardly see them anymore.
    About the Omega I, with which Opel lost many former Record drivers, I can remember that they were not among the best cars in Rüsselheim.
    An acquaintance of my father bought his first Omega I under the guise of The Hague: “Kèk ……… .. So I want to give it a go, that if I sit on the left that I am so sondah too bùige with me regtah handle the regthah deuah ken aupemake”.

    • Thanks Chris, for this great quote from The Hague! Beautiful language; good that a statue of Harry from The Hague has been erected in the heart of the city.
      An old hageneis.

  3. A message from Bastiaan van der Hoek from Canada: The Omega must have been quite a decent Opel, but by the time they were sold here in 97 as “The Car that Zigs”, so much had been rebuilt that it had to go wrong, and it did. By the time of the year 2000
    as a trade-in, they were worth less than rough-book. Most of them were bought by nice elderly people. I thought it was very sad to have to tell them that we did not accept them as a trade, but would immediately go to wholesale, without us making a penny on them.
    As you probably know, they were Americanized first, then the Canadian specs had to be posted, daytime running lights and side markers.
    For North America there was very weak suspension, it almost looked like a Sedan de Ville. You aimed the car south and it was very hard work to keep it straight. Across BC there is currently 1 for sale for $ 800.00. Then there are 750 too many. The Catera is really one of the few cars that has completely disappeared from the street scene /

  4. The economical is always seen as economical. But that's not right. Zunig comes from sensible. So, as written, Zeelanders are hard workers. They did something that makes sense, is useful. They didn't waste time. In fact an efficient bunch. That has nothing to do with stingy or thrifty.

  5. Have three omegas worn, the first was second-hand bought at the dealer 2,4 petrol automatic transmission 9 years with great pleasure.
    Then a 2,0 petrol station wagon that was also a second-hand bought from a dealer, only afterwards it had driven more kilometers than it was on the counter.
    They indicated that they had renewed the timing belt, only the tensioner not so all the loading flaps bent, expensive hobby.
    Third was 2,2 diesel station wagon full options bought at the dealer, a great car with all the trimmings.
    Even a parking heater is great in the morning in a warm car and you don't have to scratch.
    Then I switched to the Vectra because the Omega was no longer made, also wonderfully driven.

  6. We had 2x an Omega A. The first, a regular 1.8, I found a bit underpowered and therefore too unwieldy. After it went total-loss in an accident after barely a good year, it was replaced by a 1.8 with injection, which engine had the necessary punch to make it a pleasantly smooth-moving family car. The spacious trunk with three-part through hatch to the interior was extremely useful for transporting all kinds of things, sometimes in combination with one or two passengers in the back. This car lasted more than 12 years and an unprecedented number of kilometers, without major maintenance costs. In the end it was sold to a Senegalese hotelier with a Belgian wife, who used it for airport transfers to and from their hotel on the Senegalese coast. How long that second life lasted is not known to me.

  7. It is 'oans Zeeuwen bin zuunug' and not a bunt. Zoutelande is located on Walcheren. Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is located south of the Western Scheldt. There you come by boat or through the tunnel.

    Also nice piece about a beautiful car

    regards, Peter (born Walcheren now South Beveland)

  8. never had one but I remember that the Germans are jealous of such an excellent American design because Audi and MB had nothing that didn't even come close… ..

  9. Omega a the best car I've ever owned. maintenance was simple distribution with water pump replaced was a breeze has never left me in the lurch was from 1990 and had to get rid of it in 2019 was then really on with over 400000 km without engine overhaul, unfortunately bodywork was gone

  10. The first Omega was the last Opel with the old CIH engine, a 2,4 four-cylinder or 3.0 six-cylinder and those engines are often seen in old Rekords and Commodores.
    Speaking of which, Omega A finally replaced the Rekord-C (1992-1966) in 1972, which was still built there as Chevrolet Opala.

  11. What the previous reaction claims makes the world-wide difference with the Lotus Omega and the Omega 3000 24V. These are very different cars, mainly because of a different chassis and different geometry, much stronger engines and therefore a completely different handling than the cheap regular Omega A models. I myself have the latest type of 24V from new, have also driven the Lotus Omega and so I know what I am talking about. A few sports cars in a family package.

  12. Have had an Omega twice, both caravan. The first 2 from 1.8 was not that special. Next was a 1987 dual ram V2.6 automatic in CD version and that was a super car full of options. Comfortably spacious and relatively economical. Lots of good memories.

  13. We drove for a while with the Omega B station with a 2.2 or 2.4 4 cylinder.
    Just as much as our 3.0 6 cylinder Maxima sedan and was just ff less comfortable.
    But the whole world was lugging you with the thing.
    Discarded because even the most heart-possessed MOT judge does not dare to approve the case for another year ...
    By the way, the on-board computer made you depressed, which reflected the consumption and you did not want to know ...
    I missed the cruise control of the Maxima most….

  14. In 1996 I bought an Omega Station CD Business version with the BMW 6 cylinder diesel. I have driven more than 200.000 km with pleasure, lots of space, good seats and the smooth handling made it a nice car for the long distances. Then I exchanged the Opel for an Audi A6 Avant with the 2.5 diesel. That turned out to be a bad decision because of the poor road holding, bad seats and high maintenance costs compared to the Opel.

  15. Delicious nostalgia. Have driven 2 omegas, the first about 250000 km and the second 350000 km. Both on LPG. Good memories of it.

  16. Heavily underrated car because of the Opel logo. I drove 2, both 3.0 MV 6. Really fast, seriously good handling, quiet and comfortable. We will say the disadvantage of the doubt, unfortunately.

  17. The Omega A is a very different car from the Omega B, both visually and technically and cannot be compared with each other.

  18. Beautiful car in these photos!
    I used to drive with a phase 1, the 1.8 entry-level vehicle. Elegant on the outside, rather clumsy on the inside. But not an obnoxious car.

    In any case, the on-board computer was nothing new, the Renault 11 Electronic already had that in 1983. Including a fully digital dashboard; yes yes then already!

    • The last Opel with rear-wheel drive (I don't count the Opel GT, descendant of the Saturn).
      I have been allowed to drive this car many times during my time as a test driver at Continental. The gearbox didn't feel good, but I think that was a typical Opel thing at the time. In the lateral aquaplaning test, you had to keep going until the tires lost grip and you went straight ahead. You were only allowed to correct (read, catch the car again) after the test computer gave a beep after one or two seconds. Usually after some steering and throttle I got every car under control again except, you guessed it, the Omega. I often lost it immediately, which resulted in a lot of tire squeaks and once in the round. Furthermore, it was a wonderful travel car.

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