With 2019 fast approaching, it is time to start feeling very old. The Opel Calibra, that rakish and oh-so fashionable coupe beloved by high-flying businessmen and boy racers alike, is 30 years old in 2019. That's right, the Calibra is now officially a classic. On paper there was nothing to single the Calibra out for greatness. It followed the standard coupe formula. Take a humdrum saloon, in this case the Vectra, smother it in a sleek body courtesy of famed GM designer Wayne Cherry, give it a sexy new name and voila. The Calibra was launched on June 10, 1989, and waded into battle against Toyota's evergreen Celica and Nissan's recently launched 200SX.
My parents bought a brand new ’67 Opel Kadett Rallye, was red/white from our local Buick dealer. I believe the price was under $2K back then. Pretty unusual around the neighborhood, as most back then drove Caddy’s, big Chryslers and V-8 Station Wagons. It had a manual stick and a am radio and bucket seats. Got pretty good mileage and our dog liked to ride around in the back window. Learned to drive in it and after awhile was quite comfortable to drive around..wished now I had it..pretty rare now..even back then.
In the early 1990s, South African Kadett GSi's were further upgraded based on their success in production car racing and initially 500 special units were built as road cars for homologation purposes. This was a minimum requirement for entry into the Stannic Group N races. They went against BMW's 325iS (A 2.7 litre homologation special from BMW). They featured more aggressive 276-degree camshafts made by Schrick with 2 different settings for timing overlap (110° and 107°), revised intake and exhaust modifications (4-in-1 branch manifold and freeflow exhaust), Irmscher spring kit, modified engine management system by Promotec, a limited slip differential developed by Andre Verwey and special Aluett 7Jx15-inch ET35 alloy wheels, they were nicknamed the "Superboss" and held the world record for the most torque per litre (114 Nm per litre) for a naturally aspirated car until 2009 being beaten by the Ferrari 458 (117 Nm per litre). After the first 500 units were produced, many more were built to satisfy public demand.
Opel campaigned the car extensively in motorsport too. The rally version was uncompetitive, but Opel eagerly waded into the 160mph traffic jam that was the International Touring Car Championship. The ITCC was created from the German DTM series, in which Opel had struggled. A rule change allowed Opel to use a new 480bhp V6 derived from the road car. The resultant four-wheel-drive monster carried Manuel Reuter to the 1996 ITCC driver's crown and Opel won the manufacturers' gong, beating Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz. It was the Calibra's finest hour.