Our family car when I turned 16 was the exact same “sickly green” 1965 Kadett A model your father had. My brother and I lived with our divorced mom and she bought it in 1969 from a friend who was leaving the Berkeley, California area where we lived. My mom got a driver’s license with a borrowed car with automatic transmission, but we had no car. So she bought it and figured she would learn to drive a stick, which she never did.
The Calibra came with 2.0-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine from the Family II range with a Cosworth-designed cylinder head that put out a healthy 150bhp, which when combined with the sleek shape gave the Opel a healthy turn of speed. These early cars, which were built until 1993, are becoming desirable as the C20XE engine produced more power than the cleaner X20XEV engines of later cars, which only put out a still credible 136bhp. Other markets got an eight-valve version of the Calibra producing 115bhp. This car was never sold here in Ireland, but it did have the distinction of being the most aerodynamic production car in the world at that time.
The transfer gearbox in the AWD models — the same as used in the Vauxhall Cavalier AWD—was somewhat on the flimsy side, liable to suffer damage from conditions such as minor differences in tyre wear or tyre pressure between front and rear axles. Since front and rear tyres would naturally wear at different rates in normal driving, it was necessary to swap front with rear tyres every 15,000 miles (24,000 km).
In addition to its West German home market, the Kadett A sold strongly in what were becoming the manufacturer's traditional export strongholds (notably in Benelux, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland). Between February 1964 and the Autumn/Fall of 1965 the cars were also exported to the United States where they were sold through approximately 500 Buick dealers. The same 993 cc engine was fitted and it is not clear whether it was differently tuned for North America: horsepower ratings were differently computed in the USA, following locally devised "SAE" rules: for American market purposes the maximum outputs for the engines were quoted as 46 hp (34 kW; 47 PS) and 54 hp (40 kW; 55 PS).
The Corsa C was introduced with a 1.7 L DTI Ecotec turbodiesel engine supplied by Isuzu (Circle L) with 75 hp (55 kW). This was later joined by the 1.7 L DI Ecotec turbodiesel engine also supplied by Isuzu. The 1.7 L DI Ecotec did not include an intercooler and this reduced power to 65 PS (48 kW). From 2003, a new 1.3 L CDTI Ecotec turbodiesel engine was supplied by Fiat (MultiJet) which produced 70 PS (51 kW) and a 1.7 L CDTI Ecotec turbodiesel was supplied by Isuzu which produced 100 PS (74 kW). This new 1.7 L CDTI Ecotec featured a variable geometry turbocharger.
The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.