In 1935 the time was ripe for the people’s car – from Opel, mind you. The P4 presented in November rolled of the assembly line soon thereafter. The four-seater with four-cylinder four-stroke engine – according to the P4 brochure “like the most expensive cars in the world” – cost only 1,450 Marks in the standard version. “How is this possible? To offer so much value, a real full-out automobile that even exceeds expectations for so little money?” The answer was clear: thanks to state-of-the-art mass production. This also came into play shortly thereafter with the Kadett 1, which also took over the design of the Opel Olympia. This made it one of the first German cars to feature a self-supporting all-steel body, which was more comfortable, safer and more durable than the conventional frame structures.
But the hot news of the new Kadett B line was the mid-year 1966 introduction of the Rally. Sporting both fog and driving lights, as well as the obligatory racing stripes, the Rally was something altogether new in the small-car market: the first really overt attempt to sell sportiness in the lowest end of the small-car market, at least in the USA. The Ford Cortina GT had been doing it for a few years, but was one class bigger and a fair bit more expensive. The Opel Rally set the template for all the little pocket rockets to come; just like with the big American muscle cars, blatant economy was out, and performance, or at least the impersonation of it, were in.
Being at the core of Opel’s design philosophy, sculptural design with a clear sense of precision also plays a major part in the interior design. Instrument panel and center stack are clearly structured and horizontally aligned to the driver. As the driver control center, the cockpit enhances the active driving feeling. An extensive engine portfolio ranging from gasoline to diesel and LPG that can be mated to manual and automatic transmissions is available to ensure good driving performance.
Under the stubby bonnet, Opel has borrowed engines as well as chassis from PSA, so the EcoTec 1.6-litre diesel is actually the French 1.6-litre BlueHDI engine wearing lederhosen and a false moustache. It’s a very good engine, in fairness. Not as refined, overall, as Opel’s home-grown 1.6, nor as powerful (120hp plays 136hp) but quieter at low rpm when cold, and with very good economy. Sadly, the six-speed manual gearbox is also brought in from France and its sloppy, loose-limbed action does not bespeak of German precision. The engine, to be honest, doesn’t seem to suit the car, surging and growling with rather too much enthusiasm and basically making a nuisance of itself. I suspect the Crossland would be better-suited to the revvy, lightweight 1.2-litre petrol engine.
All Mexican previous versions were known as the Chevy, with the names Monza used on the saloon, and Swing (five-door) and Joy (three-door) for the hatchbacks, all with a 1.6-liter 78 PS (57 kW) four-cylinder. There was also a low-end three-door model called the Chevy Popular, which was equipped with a 52 PS (38 kW) 1.4-liter engine. The latter 2004 and 2008 redesigns were simply named Chevy and Chevy Sedán. The Chevy was a favourite among taxicab drivers and one of the best selling cars in the country.
Confident in the heavily reworked Calibra’s potential, Opel Team Joest expanded to a three car team. The third car was taken by John Winter, a successful businessman and sportscar racer for Joest. Winter took the top step of the podium at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1991 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as becoming German Interserie Champion in 1986.
In the US, some 500 Buick dealers started carrying the Kadett in 1964, after their previous sole product, the larger Rekord, was knocked out of the ring by GM’s own 1960/1961 compacts. I strongly suspect the Buick dealers (and their ad agency) who hadn’t yet taken down their Opel signs were not really very committed or motivated, and all of 17k ’64s and 14k ’65 Kadett A were sold. Meanwhile, VW was moving some 400k Beetles in America.
By the 1970s, Opel had emerged as the stronger of GM's two European brands; Vauxhall was the third-best selling brand in Great Britain after the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland) but made only a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside of each other's respective home markets, but mirroring Ford's decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall had loosely collaborated before, but serious efforts to merge the two companies' operations and product families into one did not start until the 1970s - which had Vauxhall's complete product line replaced by vehicles built on Opel-based platforms - the only exception to the rule being the Bedford CF panel van, the only solely Vauxhall design which was marketed as an Opel on the Continent. By the turn of the 1980s, the two brands were in effect, one and the same.
The car later became known as the Kadett A. In addition to the standard saloon, from March 1963, the manufacturer offered an L (luxury model) and an estate (branded as the "Opel Kadett Car-A-Van"). In October 1963 Opel introduced a coupé version of the Kadett with which buyers could enjoy enhanced style at the expense of rear seat headroom.
Funny enough, the Calibra almost made it to the shores through Saab dealers. The timing was fortuitous, the Calibra went on sale in 1990 or right around the time GM stuck its claws into Saab. Based on the also-not-for-us Vectra, the Calibra was a slick coupe that was touted as the most aerodynamic car in the world … in 1990. A drag coefficient of 0.26 is still damn good today.
The Opel Kadett B was sold from 1966 to 1973, with two- and four-door versions (including notchback and, from 1967, fastback form), a three-door wagon, and two coupés (regular and fastback). There was also a competitive Opel Kadett Rallye, with a 1.9 liter engine. The Kadett B was sold in the United States through Buick dealers from 1967 through 1972. Kadetts were technically simple cars whose task was to compete with the market leader, the VW Beetle. Schuco is a legendary German toy manufacturer, founded in 1912. The company achieved worldwide fame with its toy cars manufactured in the '30s, '40s and '50s, many of which were patented. While Schuco continues to issue a limited number of metal retro-toys for collectors, today the company is better known for its amazing diecast vehicle replicas. Working directly with manufacturers and car collectors, Schuco painstakingly re-creates each vehicle in miniature, often incorporating tiny details only visible with a magnifying glass. Most Schuco models are issued in specified limited quantities, and once gone, will not be made again. That’s why wise collectors know that a Schuco model isn’t just a purchase: It’s an investment with a lifetime return of enjoyment.
“We are celebrating 120 years of automobile production this year and therefore 120 years full of innovations for everyone”, said Opel CEO, Michael Lohscheller. “We have always made top technologies accessible to all. That is our mission and our motivation and it applies especially to a model that is as popular as the Opel Corsa. We will therefore equip the next generation of our bestseller with the best lighting technology – IntelliLux LED® matrix headlights.”
Opel has teased the arrival of its all-new supermini, the 2019 Corsa, with a single image on its social media. Captioned with "Revolutionary. Electrifying. Accessible!" on Twitter, the picture shows the car's headlight and... actually, it's just a headlight. The daytime-running light signature borrows heavily from the GT X Experimental concept, with its angular, inverted Nike 'Swoosh' design...
The Kadett D wis introduced in November 1979, goin on sale in the UK some five months afore the Breetish version, the Vauxhall Astra Mark 1, wis launcht in Aprile 1980. Aw models wur designed as three- or five-door hatchbacks an estates or station wagons. Thare wur an aa twa- an fower-door sedans, which uised the same bodyshells as the hatchbacks, but thir wur suin dropped. An aa dropt, in comparison tae the C Modell wis the Coupé.
GM imported the Opel Kadett B, built at the recently closed plant in Bochum, Germany, into North America starting in 1966. American and Canadian car buyers weren't especially enthusiastic about these cheap little cars, but sufficient quantities were sold that they were fairly easy to find in American wrecking yards through the 1980s. Here's a '67 in a Denver-area self-service yard that managed to outlive most of its contemporaries.
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.