Opel Senator

The Opel Senator was a model of the car maker Opel, which was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1977 as a successor to the expired models admiral and diplomat. The delivery took place in April 1978.

By June 1993, the Senator was the top model in the Opel program. He had a record of E ( Senator A) and Omega A ( Senator B ) derived body. A successor to the Senator B was not developed due to the low sales figures.

Parallel to Senator A was presented and delivered on this based coupe Opel Monza with a large tailgate. From Senator B there was no coupe version more.

The Opel Senator A also served as the base for the products manufactured by the beginning of 1981 until the end of 1989 sports cars Bitter SC.

  • 3.1 engines
  • 3.2 End of production


From 1950 to 1964 Opel sold with the captain models most six-cylinder vehicles in Germany.

This changed in the spring of 1964 with the publication of the first KAD series ( Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat ), which made only sell 89 277 times until the fall of 1968, while the previous model ( Kapitän P 2.6 ) again to 140,000 could sell. The first KAD series was not only much larger than the previous captain, in the cantilevered U.S. design and format, and up to 5.4 -liter V8 engines produced in the U.S. met the taste of the German public is no longer in the extent as the former captain models yet to economic miracle times.

The beginning of 1969 presented " KAD " -B series mentioned was indeed 4.8 cm shorter, 1.5 cm flat and 5 cm narrower than their predecessors and had thanks to a De Dion rear axle for greatly improved ride comfort, but these improvements were the downward trend in the sales figures not stop; mainly Mercedes Benz, BMW and increasingly dominated with their models from the mid-1960s in Germany the upper class. In the summer of 1977, the series was taken off the market after only 61 619 copies sold.

The ongoing until the early 1970s development work on a successor series for Admiral and Diplomat were not last set due to the first oil crisis in 1973/1974 and the consequent changes in customer needs. Finally, Opel had realized that it had become impossible for a mass manufacturer to be successful in the luxury segment.

Consequently, the models introduced in the spring of 1978 Senator and Monza were initially planned to replace the six-cylinder Commodore B, which had been until the summer of 1977 offered by the beginning of 1972 as a sedan and coupe. However, first internal audience tests were different than expected, because the people polled for the vehicles higher than anticipated by Opel model strategists, with the result that both models were first compared in the first tests, the engine press with luxury vehicles:

The Auto Zeitung compared the Senator in 1978 with the Mercedes 280 SE (W 116) and the BMW compared with 730 ( E 23 ), the Monza was the then about $ 10,000 more expensive BMW 630 CS (E 24). Both Opel models cut this off well, the senator even won the comparison test because it was more comfortable, more dynamic and less expensive to buy.

Opel released after the tests the press a brochure for the seller of the Opel dealer network, in which, under the title Monza - was found in the comparison: "As the Senator Targets the Monza with its outstanding features and qualities to the middle and upper segment the big car class, set the tone in the previously Mercedes and BMW. " focus of the publication is, the benefits of Monza confront the strengths and weaknesses of Mercedes 280 C/280 CE, BMW 630 CS & 633 CSi, Porsche 924, and Rover SD1 3500 was.

Technical and optical base of Senator A and Monza A - and featured in the fall of 1978 Commodore C - however, was the Rekord E: all models used the same body base body with an elongated for the installation of in-line six cylinder front which called Opel " sniffing snout" because the lights game no longer traditionally stood upright in the wind, but aerodynamically tilted backwards and the bumper was stretched out instead in the profile. The senator had a differently shaped side view, any externally visible at the third side window, and a representative rear end, with almost black acting taillights. Instead of the out by four trailing links and a Panhard rod rear rigid axle with the models record and Commodore had Senator and Monza also a technically more complex trailing link axle.

Senator A1 ( 1978-1982 )

Opel Senator (1978-1982)

The Senator A1 (and also the Monza A1) was built from February 1978 to November 1982.

The customer had the choice of three engines. The Senator 2.8 S known from the Admiral / Diplomat and revised 2.8 liter engine with 103 kW ( 140 hp ) was fitted with the three liter engine made ​​110 kW (150 hp) at Senator 3.0S. Both were equipped with a Solex twin carburetor ). The new Opel flagship model formed the Senator 3.0 E with three -liter displacement and an output of 132 kW ( 180 hp ), which had an electronic Bosch L- Jetronic fuel injection.

Senator and Monza gave it as a base versions are decorated in red, green, beige, blue or black, which in contrast to the record / Commodore almost all the details have been carefully considered color scheme. The instrument panel corresponded to that of the record / Commodore, only oriented this here also at the top of the color of the rest of the interior. The used seat covers two different ( velor ) substances, which are also used in Ascona / Manta -B. In addition there was steel wheels like the Commodore.

The "C" facilities offered imitation wood strips on the dashboard (in the basic Senator only on the dashboard, but not in the base Monza ) and on the door panels and a suede equipment, which consisted of the same seat covers that were also used in record / Commodore Berlina. Tachometer and two additional cockpit instruments were as standard with 14-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels in silver (standard already in the base Monza ) and narrow trim at the lateral edges which color on outside and / or inside color were matched. The C package was rounded off with a standard tool kit.

Optionally, there was Senator and Monza in the base and the " C" equipment in addition the "S" package that had a black instead of chrome grille, additional cockpit instruments, a firmer suspension tuning and an "S" emblem on the front fenders and a tool kit included.

The top equipment line "CD" there was only standard in five metallic colors ( white gold, opal green, aquamarine, Astro Silver, Achatrot ). She was not compatible with the " S" package, outside of black window surrounds and contrasting black alloy wheels and a laterally on the front fenders (from August 1979) and in the middle of the steering wheel -mounted "CD" emblem (until August 1979) to recognize.

In addition, it contained many of the accessories available equipment such as automatic transmission, central locking, electric windows, cruise control, Scheinwerfer-Wisch-/waschanlage, heated seats, stereo and air conditioning as standard, and was only available with the 3.0-liter fuel injection engine. The sofas were completely (instead of only on the seating surfaces ) spans with suede and quilted consuming again.

Order to clearly position the "CD " version upwards, Opel refrained to offer a trailer hitch for these vehicles. The optional leather upholstery was dark brown available only in color.

Both Senator and Monza were celebrated in their appearance from the auto press as a serious new beginning for Opel in the upper middle class.

The few criticisms mainly related to the similarity of body and interior between Senator / Monza and the record E. The criticism was justified, after Opel had the dashboard and other interior details completely taken over by cheaper Rekord E and only " upgraded " with wooden imitations visually. These cost-saving measures yielded clearly expressed that Senator and Monza were originally designed in typical Commodore tradition only as powerful and more luxurious record variants.

The 3.0 E engine helped Senator and Monza to superior performance over the competition, but ran into higher speed ranges relatively rough, especially compared to the time in terms of the refinement as exemplary applicable BMW inline six- cylinders, and suffered at full throttle driving under thermal problems, which were only stopped by using an engine oil cooler and other measures in the series A2.

Although Senator and Monza were crowd pullers at the IAA 1977, slumped after an initially successful launch in April 1978, the sales figures due to the second oil crisis in the fall of 1979 drastically. This affected almost all vehicles in Germany with large-volume engines; many drivers of vehicles with high fuel consumption, mostly unsuccessfully tried to sell them at reasonable prices to switch to more fuel efficient vehicles. The resulting changes in customer needs were also reflected in the advertising campaigns for Senator and Monza, where was now instead of the previous slogan " Form and Function" focusing on the theme " Economy / Energy Efficiency".

In May 1981, a small, especially the interior facelift in question was made ​​to revitalize the declining buyer interest. Since the unstable mirrors the A1 models docked at higher speeds the front windows, larger and square mirrors were now mounted; similar levels were already surfaced on the first prototype. Outwardly, the revised series was recognized by a narrow black plastic enclosure of the front lower spoiler edge. The interior, which was actually intended for the major revision (A2 ) towards the end of 1982 with a new "Cockpit " and door panels, has been incorporated to the customers a stronger demarcation to record and presented in September 1978 Commodore C ( record with Senator front ) allow. The cockpit was massive, out with large control buttons and a slightly angled orientation to the driver. The wood effect disappeared completely from the "C" - and "CD" equipment. The senator "CD" now got a narrow strip of wood as a real top end of the redesigned door panel.

On request, a trip computer with digital clock was now available. As well as design and ergonomics of the interior had improved, but was with regard to the processing and the materials used to be a distance from the competing models from Mercedes and BMW.

The no longer contemporary 2.8 liter petrol engine was replaced by a more fuel-efficient 2.5 liter injection engine with 100 kW ( 136 hp ), the senator made ​​2.5E beginners Senator. This engine was also introduced at the Commodore (in this case, however, with 96 kW/130 hp), the date it was only with the 2.5 S (85 kW/115 hp) at the same time. The 3.0 S with carburetor engine was initially retained, but in July 1982, taken before the major facelift from the program.

These designated as an intermediate model "A1 " series was offered only one and a half years from May 1981 until the appearance of the A2 series, but the sales figures could not impart new impetus.

Despite all its advantages, the biggest obstacle to commercial success was the lack of upper -class prestige of Senator and Monza.

Because of the sometimes technical and especially optical relationship with the " bread & butter car " failed Opel Rekord E marketing department to give mainly the senator an independent image and to prevent the unwanted perception of the Senator as a luxury record. The Monza as " sister model" of the Senator suffered through the " damage to reputation " of the Senator in the public perception necessarily the same fate, though his concept of the publication date was unrivaled.

For many traditional Opel customers, but also potential brand changer neither against the record E at 22 cm elongated body with more chrome, drivetrain and suspension comfort even closely calculated new prices of 23,380 DM for the entry level Senator 2.8 S to 37 325 DM for the senator were 3.0 e " CD" (September 1978) persuasive arguments for buying a vehicle of the upper middle class, which ultimately had no prestige.

Also Opel's internal model policy prevented greater sales figures, especially for the Senator 2.8 S ( 103 kW/140 hp ) in that this additional competition from their own ranks in the form of the powerful and relatively economical record 2.0 E (110 hp) and by the 6 cylinder Commodore 2.5 S (115 PS ), had both of which were bought for about 17,000 DM and thus to have about 6,000 DM cheaper.

The combination of prestige deficiency, the second oil crisis in 1979 as well as quality problems ( one from the magazine Auto Motor und Sport in issue 21/1980 carried out 80,000 km endurance test with a Senator 3.0 E ended with a disastrous for Opel result due to multiple major engine damage) meant that even in the first years of production, the sales figures strongly came under pressure ( a Senator or Monza was either not at all or only to sell with high discounts during the second oil crisis ), and especially as a used car both Senator and Monza suffered a dramatic loss of value, and already in the hands of second owners were as cheap bargain little cared for and will wear out quickly.


As part of the classic car boom prompting prices since the late 1990s, especially for those built by mid- 1981 A1 models again slowly, partly because the stock of 129 644 times and 43 812 times built built Senator Monza has now been decimated.

Senator A2 ( 1982-1986)

Opel saw the beginning of the 1980s increasingly exposed to more competition in the large mid-size sedan segment. While to date, Mercedes and BMW were the declared main competitors, came now even the Audi 100 and various other models as competitors added.

In a recent large comparative test of the magazine Auto Motor und Sport ( No. 11 and 12, June 2, 1982), the Senator A1 the Mercedes had after four years of construction, 280 E, make the BMW 528i and the new Volvo 760 GLE and only managed to rank 3 at the final evaluation ( 1st place: Mercedes 537 points, 2nd place: BMW 534 points, 3rd place: Opel 525 points, 4th place: Volvo 499 points ).

Have been criticized mainly the only average quality of workmanship of the body and partly uncultivated 3.0 operating electric motor. While BMW and Mercedes, the senator could confidently win the chapter " comfort ", but had the winner in the " handling ", in which he had set new standards when it appeared in 1978, defeated.

Conclusion of the test: "The Great Opel has gotten a bit older, it lacks obvious to targeted facelift. Aside from his exemplary ride comfort he has no outstanding qualities. Its main disadvantages: only average processing and a little more sophisticated engine ".

So after a facelift in November 1982, the Senator and Monza A2 A2 were presented, which were available from March 1983.

Beginning of the 1980s, were the topics "energy saving" and consequently, " Aerodynamics " in the foreground in the technical development of new car models.

Senator and Monza were with a drag coefficient of 0.45 only average, which was forced to Opel, adjust only four years old structures to the changed market conditions fundamentally.

In order to reduce the air resistance by about 10%, substantial changes in the vehicle body have been required. The front of the vehicle was changed and saw who later revamped record -E2 - front now even more similar. The Ronal alloy wheels were replaced with wheels in " ball of wool " design. The tail was slightly raised. Between the tail lights one of the look of the tail lights custom hood is attached US-style. The mark found its place since then between two overriders at the bottom of the formerly chrome and now completely made of plastic bumpers. The interior has been largely taken over by the so-called A1- intermediate model, including new decor and upholstery designs. The 3.0 E engine was an oil cooler, a redesigned crankshaft to increase its durability under high stress and improved Bosch LE- Jetronic fuel injection.

From the spring of 1983 as entry-level engine of 2.0-liter four -cylinder injection engine (81 kW/110 hp) from the record I was offered that sells a little later with 85 kW/115 hp and from the autumn of 1984 by the torque increased 2.2 i ( 85 kW/115 hp) was replaced. In addition, for the Senator in spring 1983, the 2.3 liter turbo diesel from the Rekord E was available, these were both with manual and automatic transmission.

From the end of 1983 there were in addition an optional anti -lock braking system at the Senator, that was standard in the "CD".

The 2.5 E with 100 kW ( 136 hp ) was also still offered in Senator and Monza. However, he was mid-1984, followed by the 2.5 i, because this is now offered more torque and provided 103 kW ( 140 hp).

As of November 1984 there was a technical feature the turbocharged 2.3 liter comprex diesel (70 kW/95 hp) as an option. The Senator comprex diesel gave it exclusively with a five-speed manual transmission. He is also available as manufacturer is not Opel, but Irmscher on the nameplate. The comprex - pressure wave supercharger was developed by the BBC. The senator was seen in all diesel variants from afar because of the higher motor on a bump on the hood.

Then a new 3.0-liter engine was introduced with regulated catalytic converter ( 3,0 i with 156 hp ) In September 1985,. With this engine, the new four -speed automatic transmission was introduced with sports mode. Although the 3.0 I has about 10 nm to less torque, but this is a wide speed range, the rear wheels from.

As before, the Senator in the following trim levels offer was:

  • Senator (basic model )
  • Senator C
  • Senator CD

At Monza still lacked the CD option, these were in fact offered in a sporty variant called GSE (only with 3.0 liter injection engine ). This appeared in the fall of 1983 top version of the Monza was offered for the first time, optionally, a digital speedometer, which was available with its debut in Senator CD. Later, it was this type speedometers as standard in a slightly modified form in the Opel Kadett E GSi.

From Monza A2 144 convertibles were built under the designation Keinath K C5 of the company Keinath in Reutlingen. 22 copies of the Keinath convertibles were converted to the Bitter SC Convertible.


The engine range corresponded to that of Monza. However, this was not offered with diesel engines.

  • 2.0 E: Four-cylinder petrol engine with 1979 cc and 85 kW/115 hp ( 03.1983-10.1984 )
  • 2.2 i: in-line four -cylinder petrol engine with 2197 cc and 85 kW/115 hp ( 11.1984-06.1986 )
  • 2.5 E: Straight six- cylinder petrol engine with 2490 cc displacement and 100 kW/136 hp ( 05.1981-06.1984 )
  • 2.5 i: Straight six- cylinder petrol engine with 2490 cc displacement and 103 kW/140 hp ( 06.1984-06.1986 )
  • 2.8 S: Straight six- cylinder petrol engine with 2784 cc displacement and 103 kW/140 hp ( 02.1978-04.1981 )
  • 3.0 S: Straight six- cylinder petrol engine with 2969 cc displacement and 110 kW/150 hp ( 04.1978-07.1982 )
  • 3.0 E: Straight six- cylinder petrol engine with 2969 cc displacement and 132 kW/180 hp ( 02.1978-06.1986 )
  • 3.0 i: Straight six- cylinder petrol engine with 2969 cc displacement and 115 kW/156 hp ( 09.1985-06.1986 )
  • 2.3 TD: In-line four cylinder diesel engine with 2260 cc and 63 kW/86 hp ( 03.1983-06.1986 )
  • 2.3 comprex D: Four-cylinder diesel engine with 2260 cc and 70 kW/95 hp ( 11.1984-06.1986 )

There was, however, upon request of Mantzel or Irmscher engines among others with 3.6 liter displacement and 200 hp.

End of production

The last Senator A / Monza A were produced in June 1986. In order to bridge the time until the appearance of Senator B, the sale of Senator A to June 1987 went on.

The sales figures for the A2 series were significantly worse than for the A1 models despite all updating measures. The image of both series has been watered down by the orientation " down " through the use of four-cylinder engines continue and even harder to understand for customers. Could the A1 models still in the public eye - at least initially - as the legitimate successor of Opel's last top -class KAD series apply, this Nimbus had fallen into the 80s completely forgotten.

While Opel Senator and Monza A1 1978-1982 still managed to sell almost 80,000 or 28,000 copies, it brought the models of the A2 series between 1982 and 1986 only to about 60,000 or 15,000 units.

Senator B (1987-1993)

Opel Senator (1987-1993)

In spring 1987, in parallel with the Omega A developed successor Senator B was introduced, which was from August 1987 the merchants.

Initially known from the previous model, 3.0-liter six-cylinder injection engine without catalytic converter with 130 kW (177 hp) and the well-known also from the previous 3.0-liter injection engine with regulated catalytic converter and 115 kW ( 156 hp ) were available. Later then - nachgeschoben a more powerful 3.0 - liter version with regulated catalytic converter (130 kW) - parallel to the Omega.

At the IAA 1987 was also a two-door convertible in the company Keinath, which was never produced in series.

For export beyond even the also derived from the previous 2.5 - liter injection engine 103 kW ( 140 hp ) was available. In some countries, the Senator B was also offered with the 2.3-liter turbodiesel from the Omega.

In October 1989, the six-cylinder 3.0-liter 24 - valve engine with variable intake system was introduced (Dual Ram ), the 150 kW ( 204 hp) represented the most powerful production engine in Senator B. Only the 4.0-liter 24 -valve by Irmscher with 200 kW ( 272 hp ) had more power.

In the fall of 1990, the engines were taken without catalyst and the 3.0 - liter engine with 115 kW from the program. Instead, now put the six-cylinder used in the Omega with 2.6 liter displacement and dual- Ram (110 kW/150 hp) represents the entry-level engine for the Senator

In June 1993, the Senator B after only six years of construction and nearly 70,000 copies sold was definitively withdrawn from the program.

The Senator B was offered in the following versions:

  • Senator ( base model until model year 1993)
  • Senator Business ( base model from model year 1993)
  • Senator CD

The Senator B suffered the same fate as the 1978 featured Senator and Monza A. When he was reviled by the buyer audience because of its external resemblance to the cheaper Omega. In addition, Opel had to realize that with the Captain, Admiral and Diplomat- types of the 1960s already relatively unsuccessful marketing concept "As much as possible car for your money " with the senator finally failed. Since the image problems for the foreseeable future appeared unsolvable, it was decided at Opel to build no more successor for the Senator, and instead expand the Omega as a top model.

The rear lights of the Senator B were used by Bristol Cars produced for the 1993-2011 sports cars Bristol Blenheim.

Export models

In Britain, the Senator A was sold as the Vauxhall Royale with right-hand drive, the Monza there had the name Royale Coupe. Only the Senator B was also offered in the UK under that name.

In Australia, the Senator was offered with a retouched body with 3.8- liter V6 engine of Buick and with 5.0 -liter V8 engines from Holden. The models were called Commodore and Statesman. In cooperation with Toyota in the Australian market there was the Holden Commodore also under the brand name Toyota Lexcen, but only with a 3.8 -liter V6 engine.


  • Prices / Equipment, Issue September 1978
  • Car catalog, edition 1985/86 ( specifications )
  • Eberhard Kittler: German cars since 1990, Volume 6 engine book publishing house, Stuttgart 2001.