DTW is known to be a champion of Opel’s magnificent Senator “A”. This post scrutinises the ashtray in the rear passenger door of an 1984 Opel Senator 2.5E. Read on to see if the Opel Senator’s ashtray design was class competitive.
Opel used a top hinged ashtray in this context, setting it in the armrest. This seems to me not to be a very good position. You can’t lean on the armrest while the ashtray is open. So, one can hold the cigar in the other hand and risk dropping it as you move your hand over your legs to the door.
Alternatively, you keep the cigar in the hand near the door and lean on the centre armrest. In that case you need to make an uncomfortable movement to bring your hand near to where your elbow needs to be. You risk dropping ash on the seat just below. The ashtray is not illuminated and remember, the car may be in motion.
If the ashtray has to be mounted on the door it must be positioned further forward so you can easily reach forward with the ash rather than try to curl your hand to where your elbow is naturally resting. The other place for a rear passenged ashtray is at the end of the centre console, between the front seats. In the Senator’s case there is no ashtray in this location.
In mitigation, the driver’s ashtray which I forgot to photograph is a large bottom hinged, pull-out affair on the fascia. And in counter-mitigation, Opel expected this car to be one for senior managers and even diplomats and statesmen. You could imagine leaders of the German regions not being too happy about being chauffeured in the Senator if it meant
fussing around with their cigars and cigarettes in transit. The Mercedes W-123 had a rather large ashtray down under the armrest, near the base of the door. If ash fell it fell onto the floor. The first series Renault 30 also positioned the ashtray in a similar way.
Peugeot went with a large ashtray above the armrest. This seems about as good as the Mercedes if not optimum. I notice Mercedes, Renault and Peugeot used bottom-hinged systems which is a function of the limited space in the door which must also hold the window mechanisms and small things that get loose and rattly after eight years. (It’s these, more than many other elements of a car’s construction that drive people to eventually give in and get a new car. They dont weigh much but make a variety of buzzes and rattles depending on the nature of the surface the car is driving over. Dismantling and removing the items will not work as the door skins are designed so as to never go back into position without developing new loose elements).
This critique isn’t comprehensive but you can see that in this regard, the otherwise excellent Senator was deficient. In all the material I have read on the Opel Senator, no-one has ever mentioned this aspect of the car so I consider this a DTW scoop. I will be presenting a more rounded view of the Senator in due course.