Service history -- Opel Kadett GTE (FWW 712T)

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Plenty of miles left in an old stager

One of the last 2-litre Kadett GTEs to enter the UK, FWW 712T was built to Group 1 regulations by Dealer Opel Team at Tong Park for Yorkshireman John Gill.

Its debut rally was the 1979 Manx International, then five RAC Rallies followed in the 1980s; Gill finished three times and twice got the car home inside the top 30. Axle failure caused one retirement, an accident the other.

But it wasn’t just used on special stage rallies: Gill road-rallied the car extensively with a great deal of success when that branch of the sport was at its most competitive.

When John moved on to an Opel Manta GTE, the Kadett was put aside for his son Bryan. In 1986 the eager 17-year-old began rallying the Kadett but his father insisted that it run with a 1200cc engine.

Road and then stage rallies in the North East and in Scotland were tackled as Bryan cut his teeth in FWW. Later, fitted once again with a 2-litre engine, it was leading the 1988 Cartel Trophy Rally when the motor blew in the final Dalby forest stage.

The 160bhp car was then put away for 14 years before being rebuilt in late 2002 and used in the Barbados Rally. When the Roger Albert Clark Rally came along the Kadett was ideally suited to contest it, 20 years after its last RAC Rally.

“The car is exactly the same as it was for Group 1.” said Bryan. “We’ll never sell it.” Future plans include another assault on the Roger Albert Clark Rally in 2005 and one or two outings in the HRCR Classic Stage Rally Challenge. A return to the Barbados Rally is also planned.