Watch This Chevy LT5-Powered Opel Kadett Fly Up a Hill
This thing sure likes to climb hills.
We here at The Drive endorse the use of high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 engines in lightweight hill climb cars that originally came with something less substantial—like a piddly little inline four. We have previously featured a BMW 3-Series with an Indycar engine, an Alfa Romeo 4C with a Formula 3000 engine, and even the famous BMW 134 Judd of Georg Plasa. There is, of course, a new car to add to the roster of nutty, rev-happy V8 hill climb cars: an Opel Kadett C GT/E with a Chevrolet LT5 V8, sourced from the C4 Corvette ZR1, and then converted to a flat-plane crank.
The car was built by Hovemann Car Design, a German race shop, run by Hovemann Holger, the proprietor and driver of the Kadett. As designed, this Kadett has been rechristened the Kadett C V8 GT/R, and is powered, as stated above, by a Chevrolet LT5 engine with a remarkably strange story. Car & Driver chronicled the development of the LT5 between General Motors and then-subsidiary Lotus Engineering, from which the LT5 was spawned after much squabbling over promised power figures and cylinder bore. Hence, an engine with a longer stroke than the pushrod V8 it was derived from, yet a higher rev range.
This Kadett C GT/R was filmed racing at Glasbachrennen 2017, a German hill climb that hosts four different hill climb leagues, including the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, German Hill Climb Championship, KW Hill Climb Cup, and Classic Hill Climb Cup.
If you like hill climb cars, be sure to come back soon because The Drive will be covering this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this Sunday. In the run-up to the race itself, we will be following one team's efforts to get their car out of mothballs and ready to run this year, as well as part of a dyno tuning session.
In the meantime, just savor the Kadett C GT/R, and its heart of 'Murican horsepower.