Home » The Opel Kapitän’s Wafers Have A Surprising Secret: Cold Start

The Opel Kapitän’s Wafers Have A Surprising Secret: Cold Start

Cs Captain Lanceopel
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First, I’m finally out of the hospital, and boy does it feel good. No wires all over me, no one shoving needles into my stomach at 4 am, no doctors shaking me awake at 6:10 am and then telling me Very Important Things I somehow need to remember! And I had a shower! It felt so good. So good. I still have that one tube from my arm still but I’m out of that room, finally. To celebrate, let’s talk about two types of captains, the Opel variety and the Lance variety, and I’d like to note that this is the first Cold Start that will include microscopy.

First, let me explain what I’m doing here: I’ve long held this belief about a particular kind of snack cracker from the legendary snack cracker synod (and fellow North Carolinians) Lance, the one that advises humanity to “not go ’round hungry,” a belief that one of the ingredients in a particular kind of cracker was artificial. Today I intend to find out if this is true.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The crackers are of the “Captain’s Wafers” variety, and knowing that we are, fundamentally, a car blog, and not a snack cracker blog (that’s going to come later, called Cruncher as part of our growing blog-network) so as a clumsy way of tying this all together, let’s also take a moment to appreciate this 1958 Opel Kapitän brochure!

First, I don’t think we can discuss this brochure and not mention that the main woman model in it looks remarkably like a stylish Oompa-Loompa:

Cs Captain Opel1

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Just for reference, here’s an Oompa-Loompa, one of the workers from Bill Wonka’s famous confectionary factory:

Here’s another look at the Oompa-Loompic model:

Cs Capitan Opel2

Sure, the color scheme is a bit different, but you can’t deny there’s a definite oompaloompishness going on here. It’s less pronounced on the cover, which sets up the Hollywood movie set theme for the brochure:

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Cs Captain Opel 3

The Kapitän was a pretty conventional car, mechanically, not taking any unusual risks, and had styling very influenced by American cars of the era. One detail I especially like are the way the turn indicators/sidelights are handled, with a pair of lenses, a frontal round one for the indicator and then a corner, wrap-around sidelight that may be an indicator repeater? I’m not sure, never having seen this in action, but I hope so.

Cs Capitan Opel 5

If so, that would make the Opel Kapitän a solid decade ahead of the curve, lighting-wise, since side markers were not required (in the US) until 1968. This image, by the way, is from another 1958 Kapitän brochure, one that features illustrations instead of those odd colorized photos:

Cs Capitan Opel 4

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They’re beautiful illustrations, and I especially like all the attention this brochure gives to lighting features:

Cs Capitan Opel 6

Look at this downright celebration of reverse lights! And – oh those must be foglamps, not indicators! Those lenses looked more like plastic indicator lenses than foglamps, but perhaps I was wrong! And also the little don’t-smack-into-me lamps on the doors!

Cs Capitan Opel 7

Oh, and then there’s this reminder of the joys of trunk lighting as well, in a way that suggests a shower. Also, I check out that little girl and her doll, breaking the fourth wall there and looking right at us. Hello, Ilsa!

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Okay, enough about that sort of Kapitän; it’s time to discuss the other captain, the one with the wafers.

Cs Lance 1

Okay, so the Captain’s Wafers with cream cheese and chives have always sort of fascinated me. Cream cheese and chives seems like such an ambitious choice for a vending machine snack! And, opening up the crackers, I was able to accept the sorta dry texture of the cream cheese – it has to be shelf-stable and all that (is it dehydrated? How is this done?) – but I always thought the chives were just little dots of green dye.

Cs Lance Open

In fact, I just told Jay Lamm, the man behind the 24 Hours of Lemons, this very same thing, with full, unearned confidence, when I was judging at the Lemons race in South Carolina recently. But I started to wonder – what if I was wrong? Is there any way those could actually be chives? It says “chives” in the ingredients, so, maybe?

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There was only one way to know: pull out the cheap USB microscope!

Cs Lance Micro1

Huh. Those do not just look like bits of green dye! They definitely seem… vegetative! Let’s look deeper:

Cs Lance Micro2

Holy shit. Those are chives! Tiny, tiny fragments of chives, perhaps the dust created when full chives are cut into bits, but I do believe those are real chives.

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Uh, this changes everything. There is still good out in the world, people. For a buck or whatever at some lonely rest stop off the highway, you can get a little cellophane packet full of crackers, some sort of strangely en-toughened cream cheese, and actual, genuine chives. What a world we live in.

So, I apologize, Lance, for maligning you and suggesting your chives were just blots of green dye. I was wrong. By way of apology, please enjoy this fantastic Southern Culture on the Skids song that references the Lance organization and their fine products multiple times:

Really, we never stop learning.

 

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CSRoad
CSRoad
29 days ago

Mmm… vended food.
Some of the waiting rooms in my local hospital have vending machines. At the old hospital, there used to be one that would spit out hot drinks, coffee, tea or chicken soup, the chicken soup and sometimes the coffee would get a green (parsley?) dust garnish.

Speaking of vended food:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzD8RHkrq_4

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
30 days ago

I remember Lance crackers when we lived in Missouri but I only see Keebler here in the PNW. Cheese crackers are a useful snack as long as they don’t disintegrate into crumbs

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
30 days ago

Platinum, Silver and Pastel hair was a craze among fashionable women in the 1950’s.
My Grandmother kept her hair Silver-blue for the rest of her life.

Dad had a 1967 or 68 Opel Kadett fastback.
The same Kadett that Bob Lutz flipped over.

That was the car that I got chewing gum stuck all over the red vinyl seats.
What a mess.

IDM3
IDM3
30 days ago

Here in the Deep South, all Lance snack crackers are considered a required cuisine. Screw Frito-Lay’s. It’s either Lance, Tom’s Golden Flake, Moon Pies and RC Cola.

Moon Pies and RC? That’s breakfast, lunch and dinner-no apologies. (Just ask the folks in Chattanooga and Mobile.)

And don’t forget salted Lance peanuts in your RC.

Robert Cassingham
Robert Cassingham
30 days ago

AAOOOOO! LITTLE DEBBIE, LITTLE DEBBIE!

IDM3
IDM3
29 days ago

Nick Saban has entered the chat. Hide your oatmeal creme pies!

Wally_World_JB
Wally_World_JB
30 days ago

Hillbilly Surf Club ftw! Just a few weeks ago, someone made a VooDoo Cadillac reference here and now this! I vote we make SCOTS the official Autopian Band.

They have the catalog….My House Has Wheels, Fried Chicken and Gasoline, VooDoo Cadillac, Cheap Motels…

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
30 days ago

In a former career I was a full-time paramedic, doing 24 hour shifts. Around 3 am it was snack time, and crackers like those with some chocolate milk really did the trick!

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
30 days ago

In college, my summer job was grounds crew at a public golf course. I just realized that the thing I should talk about is the gas-powered Cushman carts we used, some of which were full-on 3-speed manuals, one of which had been souped up by the mechanic to get up to, as far as we could figure, 15+ mph on 3 wheels.

But what I actually mean to talk about is that our shift was 6-2:30, with a paid 15-minute breakfast break (that you took wherever you were out on the course) and an unpaid 30-minute lunch break (back at the garage). And those captain’s wafers were my tasty friend for all those misty mornings. I never liked Nip-Chees or any of the other Lance offerings, but I guess they upped their game for the officers.

Bobfish
Bobfish
30 days ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

It was a field promotion after the loss of Captain Hardtack, but Sergeant Wafer really rose to the occasion.

Codfangler
Codfangler
30 days ago

One of the cars I learned to drive on was a 1960 Opel station wagon (Rekord?) I love Lance crackers. I never knew those parts of my youth were connected.
Once again, Jason has revealed the facts behind one of life’s great mysteries.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
1 month ago

Ah, SCOTS. Liquored up and Lacquered down!

Tim R
Tim R
1 month ago

I’m in NC and there’s a Lance factory within a mile. When the wind blows just right, it smells heavenly. Probably the chives they’re cutting up

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 month ago

No mention of the Glasgow Wonka Chocolate Experience Oompa Loompa? Her hair is indisputably green here, though…
https://i2-prod.glasgowlive.co.uk/incoming/article28727208.ece/ALTERNATES/s1200e/1_GHZyl2YWgAAlty2.jpg

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 month ago

For those not yet in the know, a few months ago an expensive interactive family event capitalizing on the Timothée Chalamet-starring film Wonka in Glasgow went viral because it was so positively underwhelming partly due to the scripts having been AI-generated and partly due to the producers massively cheaping out on the props, sets, and employee pay (in fact most of the time the event actually ran there was just one lone Oompa Loompa, as seen in the iconic image previously referenced, because so many workers walked out):
https://hyperallergic.com/875144/wonkiest-memes-of-the-willy-chocolate-experience-fiasco/

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

That youngish guy paired with the gray-haired Oompa-Loompa woman looks like a guy taking his mom as his date to prom.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
1 month ago

All hail the triumphant return of our intrepid voyager from the land of incessant cacophony and prodding! Appropriate celebratory behavior is to get fall down drunk at a dirt track date.

Dale Mitchell
Dale Mitchell
1 month ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Sounds like something I experienced in eastern Iowa years ago, involving beer sold by the bucket; someone find out for me, do they still celebrate Solon Beef Days?

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
28 days ago
Reply to  Dale Mitchell

? Solon Beef Days July 19th and 20th, 2024?

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
1 month ago

It’s a good thing my work blocked the video. My wife will leave me if I get that SCOTS song stuck in my head again.

Paul B
Paul B
1 month ago
Reply to  Turbeaux

Your wife doesn’t have that, um, special dress to eat a cracker?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago

Yes, the South is truly famous for its crackers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Canopysaurus
Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
1 month ago

What a fascinating grille on that Kapitän. Should it be horizontal or vertical? Yes.

Also, good on Opel for leaning into the middle-aged demographic with that gray-haired model. No promises that the car will make you feel younger; this car is for you, right where you are in life.

Being from the Northeast, I definitely know of Lance snacks but never realized how big they are. And I don’t think they unleash their full scope of products on our vending machines up here.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

Yeah, we get peanut butter, cheddar, and white cheddar, and I think that’s maybe it? Think that’s all Redner’s ever carries, anyway

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

So much nostalgia here. I guess Torch had some time to reminisce.
Blue hair before my Granny made it cool!
Lance crackers that I used to beg my parents to buy from roadside vending.
SCOTS from my 80s party days.
And of course Opel, a brand that was always mysterious and surprising in the US.

Tbird
Tbird
1 month ago

I thought the cream cheese would be the suspect ingredient. You got me.

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
30 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

Came for this. You are so right. I don’t care if the chives are little bits of green plastic, or paint, or mold. But the so-called cheese? Kept at room temperature for God knows how many months or years? Good hell man! I can barely look at it, much less consider trying a bite. Not this guy!

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago

The cream cheese and chive ones are by far the best sandwich cracker out there. I inhale these.

Wasn’t aware of this weird redneckified B52’s thing going on here.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago

Cars aren’t the only thing that quench my thirst for quirkiness, so I’ll give them a shot.

Last edited 1 month ago by Taargus Taargus
Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

I don’t know what mad genius decided to combine peanut butter with a cheese-flavored cracker, but I’d like to shake his hand. I’m not sure there’s ever another situation where those two ingredients work together.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

If you wanna fancy it up, get the ‘big’ cheez-its and spread your own peanut butter on them.

Best consumed while wearing a monocle.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
27 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Years ago I ordered a peanut butter and cheddar sandwich off the kid’s menu, possibly at Thirsty Whale in Minocqua WI.

JKcycletramp
JKcycletramp
1 month ago

After listening to Southern Culture On The Skids, folks can check out The Knitters (legendary punk band X doing country!)

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

Captain’s Wafers are the BEST!!! My kids and I can go through a family pack in no time. One of the best road trip snacks!!

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
1 month ago

It gets better. The album that song is from is titled, “Dirt Track Date.”

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
30 days ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

Thanks (and to Torch) – listening to the album now.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 month ago

Yeah, I never heard of SCOTS before either, but they definitely seem like The B52’s more rural cousins.

While I do like the cream cheese and chive (just had some yesterday) I prefer the smoked cheddar on the orange crackers.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago

Excusssseeeee me? Smoked cheddar on orange crackers?

I haven’t seen these but I definitely want them.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 month ago

I said smoked, but was actually thinking of these spicy cheddar ones. Oh, and by orange, I meant color, not flavor. Apparently the orange crackers are the ToastChee crackers as opposed to the Captain’s Wafers.

https://www.lance.com/product/toastchee-spicy-cheddar/

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
30 days ago

I still haven’t had those and would like them. Will keep my eyes peeled.

IDM3
IDM3
30 days ago

I’ve had some in my youth, and they’re great. Nowadays, Lance sells them in selected markets. I’m in West Alabama, and I can only find them if i’s in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa.

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
1 month ago

Amazing in that day and age that they were able to travel forward in time and back, only to use Pacific Islander Katy Perry as a model.

Also, while those might be bits of chives, it’s awfully suspicious that the other topping is in any way related to cream or cheese.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

I had no idea Ryan Stiles was in a band until today.

Octopusmode
Octopusmode
1 month ago

Please bring me Cruncher

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