D he feeling of space is terrific . The bulky instrument panel with the three large clocks is far away. If he looks around, the driver thinks he is sitting in a stretch limo. Should he go to the nearest taxi stand to fill the car - so that five people can have fun and not just one?
Opel Admiral B with American attitude and V8
The huge, shiny blue bonnet ends somewhere on the horizon and almost seems to devour the BMW 3.0 Si driving closely ahead. From the driver's perspective of the monza blue Opel Admiral B, the garnet red Bayern-Kurier looks like a compact mid-range car. The angular BMW rear end with its distinctive, matt silver trim dances nervously around the curves. In the past, in the first series of the E3, these were all taillights. The casually dressed cruiser in the Admiral sits on a wide synthetic leather armchair and is lulled by lavishly padded headrests. He's happy with himself and the world, he's not wearing a base cap. Soft music trickles out of the Blaupunkt Coburg, there is no subwoofer.
He has tilted the backrest slightly back and holds the four-spoke safety steering wheel with a firm grip. The power steering wobbles a little around the central position, it is designed indirectly. This suggests a desirable road cruiser feeling, the B-Admiral does not have to deny his American attitude. This is what makes it so special today. All that counts is accelerating and braking with the wide, rubber-fluted metal pedals, everything else is done by the Opel-GM three-speed automatic.
It does it with feline suppleness. The few shifts are drowned out in the sonorous rumble of the powerful in-line six-cylinder, which only indicates the next gear by a lower key and only very rarely shifts hoarse and sometimes a little strenuous downshifts.
Stronger and faster BMW 3.0 Si
In order to stick with the BMW, he has to reluctantly do it - the Admiral gives the stoic glider, the 3.0 Si the spirited thoroughbred. He wants to show what he can do, wants to be aware of his 200 hp, 40 more than with the Admiral. Even when it comes to torque, it is unexpectedly ahead. It is 275 Newton meters, distributed in portions over retrofitted five gears. A Getrag overdrive gearbox from a five-wheeler does its job.
At the time, the 3.0 Si had only fourGang nibbled on the tame versions of the nine-eleven. Zero hundred in seven nine were possible - with better straight-line stability and easier controllable border area. In the past, the fast BMWs also liked to push the rear outwards. In the garnet-red 3.0 Si you want to shift down two gears at once, from fifth to third, to cheer happily. No other in-line six-cylinder engine turns so much and so full of thermodynamic joie de vivre. The music only starts at 4,000 rpm, and at 5,500 you have to force yourself to shift into the next gear, 6,500 would be possible at any time. Don't get too cocky, the material is 34 years old.
You never trust the E3 to have these sports car characteristics. Formally, it looks pretty conservative from the back, almost like a large Ford. BMW chief stylist Wilhelm Hofmeister succeeded in enlarging the new class in a subtle way. Only the aggressively dynamic front section shows the true face, the E3 is the shark among the luxury bodies.
At the front he lives completely and utterly tinny overtaking prestige. Inside, it camouflages itself in an emphatically bourgeois manner with plush fine velor seat covers, exotic wood applications made of cedar veneer and an extravagantly styled clock that could have come from Cartier.
You sit very high, soaking up the street. The large instruments are uniquely beautiful - so rich in contrast, so puristic. But only Alpina was able to fulfill the ardent desire of the ambitious driver for an oil pressure gauge and an oil thermometer. This BMW didn't want to be a Mercedes yet, it has harder springs and a more compact cut in the rear, a driver's car in the best sense of the word. One that can handle much higher cornering speeds than a comfortable Biedermeier swing axle could ever handle. The fact that it is quieter than a 280 SE W 108 at the top remains his silent triumph.
Daimler Sovereign with an elegant and tightly cut suit
Sneaks out of a well camouflaged, wooded country road parking lot suddenly the crouched, broad-gauge Jaguar strikes itself from a flying start. Attempts at the Admiral, the long-stroke six-cylinder only slightly lifts its subtle voice, colorful autumn leaves swirl up. He wants to play in the luxury liner club. Always being addressed by a false name remains his fate. Its owner long ago gave up correcting the forgivable error.
His name is Daimler Sovereign and not Jaguar XJ 6. The distinguished connoisseur immediately sees it in the majestic grille. It's ribbed at the top, like clay that is modeled with the thumb - the feudal pattern is repeated on the back of the trunk lid handle. In addition, a narrow chrome strip on the bonnet indicates the subtle difference. Inside it's just the curved D on theSteering wheel hub. Picnic tables, Connolly leather and the magnificent single seat design in the rear were only available from the Daimler Series III, which then officially came to Germany.
For many, a Series 1 short wheelbase is the most beautiful XJ, perhaps even the most attractive sedan of all. A car according to the golden ratio, the proportions unmatched. Jaguar chief stylist Malcolm Sayer set himself his second monument after the E-Type, Jaguar Patriarch Sir William Lyons himself provided the idea for the big hit. From a functional point of view, beauty has to be paid tribute to. Inside it is very tastefully decorated like an officers' club of the Royal Navy, but cut quite tight. And the seating position is low, with little headroom in the rear. In contrast, the Admiral is a minibus.
Daimler engine with XK 120 genes
On the other hand, the front crew can get into the long, narrow ones Thread in footwells and relax on a mighty center console. In the XJ she sits like in a sports car and very differently from the driver's seat of the BMW 3.0 Si. The horn ring, the cane handbrake and the many toggle switches, even those for the map reading lamp or the obligatory switchover of the two tanks in the rear fenders, finely labeled with 'Fuel left, Fuel right', are both lovably British and wonderfully antiquated. The seven magnificent Smiths instruments - two large and five small, also one for oil printing - are reflected like precious stones in the burl wood veneer.
The original color shimmers depending on the incidence of light, sometimes dark blue, sometimes purple. It's called the sonorous Blue Viola and goes well with the gray leather seats. The Daimler is not a paragon of temperament, but can keep up well in the field that the BMW spirited youngster leads. The basic features of the brilliant double camshaft engine are derived from the Jaguar XK 120, but shy away from speeds of over 4,500 rpm. With around 180 hp from a displacement of 4.2 liters, it is a tame high-performance engine, a lovable paradox that is similar in its properties to the simpler Opel engine.
Its extraordinary pulling power already from the lower engine speed allows it to harmonize wonderfully with the Borg Warner three-speed automatic. A four-speed 'stickshift' with overdrive would at best be in the small, almost short-stroke 2.8-liter variant in the Daimler Sovereign desirable. The Jaguar experience, pardon Daimler, is shaped in the long term by the seating position, the style of the interior, the incredibly quiet engine and the velvety comfort.
The double wishbone front axle and the extremely complexDouble-joint trailing arm rear axles are each mounted on a subframe, which wonderfully isolates the passenger cell from road bumps, transverse joints and bumps. Driving a Jaguar means cocooning, the outside world stays outside - a maximally relaxing chill-out where the only exciting thing is the slowly falling fuel needle. My car is my castle.
Opel Admiral was once the only S-Class alternative
But before we finally lose our grip in the Sovereign Salon, we switch to the Admiral again. He's the shy one in the Trio de Luxe, believes he doesn't really belong. Between the vinyl roof and synthetic leather armchairs we are greeted by the plump melancholy of faded shine. For many years the Rüsselsheim officers at sea were the only alternative to the S-Class.
At least since BMW let the technically brilliant V8 baroque angels die in the old-fashioned pre-war design, the then brand-new Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat A against the star gained massive ground in the upper class. A 250 hp V8 was only available in the 600 for 56,500 marks. Opel offered it with 190 hp in the Kapitän V8 at a bargain price of 14,740 marks. But the quiet, elastic Opel six-cylinder engines were also superior to the rough, exhausted Mercedes engines.
Even in this demanding trio format, the Admiral B shows more than just sheer size. The Admiral 2.8 E is much more than a ready-made mass-produced car, not a record XXL, but a manifesto of the Opel designers. Ford didn't even dare to approach the class.
The inline six with seven bearings and an overhead camshaft is fed by an electronic fuel injection. Unlike before at Opel, the chassis has grown in performance, even if the 5.4-liter V8 with 230 hp is under the hood. With a complex DeDion rear axle and four disc brakes, it is broadly stable and defies courageous cornering - with exceptionally good driving comfort. In the end, the decision is easy. The simple, direct and extremely efficient BMW will please the ambitious driver, the stylish, dignified Jaguar, pardon Daimler, will be chosen by the gourmet among car connoisseurs. And what about the Opel?
The admiral is the coolest, he shows sovereign composure, only an empty tank can stop him. 'All big things are simple,' wrote Opel copywriters back then about the Admiral B series. You were right.