What goes into the making of the world’s craziest modified Opel Kadett? Well, bits from a Mk.2 Jaguar, Reliant Scimitar, Corsa, Evo VIII, 200sx, Pug 106, Vw Golf, Vivaro Van, Vauxhall Calibra…
Over the last three years Alex Darcy’s Kadett C with home brewed transmission and C20LET has become something of a hero within the quarter mile community. Alex never intended for the car to end up as extreme as it has, it just evolved through a mix of necessity and trial and error into this mixed up monster.
Alex ran the car in more or less standard fettle for two years and it was only when the water pump failed he began looking around for a replacement engine. Thankfully Alex happened to have a C20LET from a Calibra at the back of his lockup. After a rebuild he fitted low compression Omega pistons, steel con rods, a ported head and XE cams, but he still had to work out how to mount it longitudinally in the rear wheel drive Kadett.
In the end he mated the engine to a Manta 1.8 gearbox using a bell housing conversion plate. He also fitted the exhaust manifold from a rear wheel drive Nissan 200SX with a C20LET flange, welded on and used the rear axle from a Chevette HS to transfer the power to the rear wheels. Effective as this setup was, the car didn’t remain in this state for very long. “There wasn’t anything wrong with the Chevette and Manta setup – but I wanted more,” Alex explained.
There are very few ‘off the shelf’ tuning parts available for the Kadett C in the UK. This meant that Alex had to utilise parts from various manufacturers to come up with a suitable setup. He began by sourcing a five-speed gearbox from an Omega MV6 and Powerlock differential from a Mk.2 Jaguar.
Next came the huge axle from a Reliant Scimitar, a rear beam that has found its way into many drag cars over the years and reckoned to be good for 1000bhp. Despite its rudimentary nature this arrangement has proved devastatingly effective.
The Kadett’s suspension setup is similarly mismatched affair. AVO universal coilovers are used on the front, whilst Spax ones originally designed for a Mk.1 Golf have been fitted at the rear. Even the brake setup borrows heavily from other models, including a servo from a Corsa B, Calibra Turbo calipers (front), Pug 106 GTi discs, Golf Mk.4 calipers (rear) and, weirdest of all, Vivaro van handbrake cables.
Throughout the car’s evolution the original C20LET has proved faultlessly reliable. The turbo has been swapped for a larger Garrett GT3571 with a Nortech tubular manifold modified to run twin 48mm wastegates, whilst fuelling is taken care of by 750cc Siemens injectors and the fuel rail from an Evo VIII.
This car can do sub 12–second quarter mile runs all day long, which is testament to the amount of work and ingenuity that has gone into its build. In its current form the C20LET puts out 430bhp, with a quarter mile best of 11.68–seconds. Those are impressive figures in anyone’s book, but they’re made all the more extraordinary considering the car that’s making them.
C20LET, 1998cc DOHC 16V; low compression Omega pistons; steel con rods; ported head; C20XE camshafts; Nortech exhaust manifold; custom inlet manifold; Mitsubishi Evo VIII fuel rail; Siemens 750cc injectors; Garrett GT3571 turbo; 2x 48mm external wastegates; custom throttle body plenum; FMIC; custom down pipe and 3-inch straight through exhaust; Omega MV6 five-speed gearbox; Jaguar Mk.2 Powerlock differential; Reliant Scimitar rear axle and Panhard rod; custom trailing arms.
Corsa B brake servo adapted to fit; custom front discs with Green Stuff pads and Calibra Turbo calipers; Peugeot 106 GTi rear discs; Mk.4 Golf calipers; Green Stuff pads; Vivaro handbrake cables; AVO universal coilovers front; Spax VW Golf coilovers rear; Brock B1s front 7.5×16 ET35, rear 9×16 ET15; Yokohama S.drive tyres, 175/50X16 front, 205/40X16 back.
Fiesta RS Turbo Recaro seats; standard Kadett rear bench and interior; Sparco steering wheel; AEM Tru-Boost gauge/controller; Racetech tacho oil pressure and water temp gauges; Spa digital speedo; flocked dash.