As such, the car’s 2.5L C25XE V6 was turned around 90 degrees to assume a longitudinal position. Keeping only the most essential bits, British engineering firm Cosworth turned the 170 horsepower engine into a large bore, short stroke masterpiece. Using design principles akin to those used in Formula One, the unit belted out 420 horsepower at 11,650 rpm.
We’ll come back to that in a minute, but first – what is a Crossland X and why is it here? It’s actually Opel’s new small crossover, and also a replacement for the old Meriva MPV, and it shares a chassis and some major mechanical bits with the Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3 Aircross. Ah, so you’ll assume, this must be the first fruits of the much-bandied-about buyout of Opel by the PSA Group that owns Peugeot and Citroen. Well, not quite. The three car brands actually began collaborating on new chassis and engines some time ago, and the forthcoming Grandland X (Opel’s rival for the Nissan Qashqai) will share its chassis with the Peugeot 3008 and the Citroen C5 Aircross.
Launched in 1962, GM Europe's small car for the 1960s, the Opel Kadett, looked like a shrunk Chevy Nova, and hid a 1.0-liter water-cooled overhead-valve four-cylinder up its nose. While this motor had pre-War origins, it was a good one. It weighed just 211 lbs, revved beyond 6000 rpm, and made 54 horsepower in the high-compression 'S' version, as long as you used premium fuel.
Meanwhile, the Crossland X and the Opel Mokka X have similar dimensions. While the Mokka X is a thoroughbred crossover with optional all-wheel-drive, the Crossland X is available exclusively in front-wheel-drive, making it less capable offroad. As such, the Crossland X can be best described as a crossover-like MPV. As Opel puts it, the vehicle is “predestined for urban areas with its crisp exterior dimensions while also being perfectly suitable for a shopping spree at the organic farm shop or for a holiday trip to Tuscany.”
The new four-cylinder, oversquare one-litre water-cooled Opel OHV engine weighed only 96 kg and was the first all-new engine developed by Opel since before the war. The side-mounted camshaft was driven not through gear-cogs but using a single chain with a hydraulic tensioner, the valve train employing rocker-arms and light-weight hollow rods. The arrangement was low on weight and on friction, permitting engine speeds above 6,000 rpm. The pistons were formed from an aluminium-alloy and incorporated a bimetal expansion strip to ensure uniform thermal expansion. The three-bearing forged crankshaft was of more traditional construction. The carefully designed aluminium inlet manifold provided for efficient feed of the fuel-mixture to the cylinders and helped provide the engine with good fuel economy characteristics.
Typically, although a far better car, like the Chevette all Kadett models have been the butt of jokes in Europe, particularly for being very common (the quintessential middle-class car in Germany and the Netherlands), very prone to rust and very easy to steal. While essentially good cars, and always praised as such by contemporary press, these gave Opel its commoner reputation it is still struggling to shake off.
German manufacturer Opel and its British sister Vauxhall have committed to no less than eight all-new or refreshed models before 2020, with a focus on growth segments. Of these eight models, three will be all-new versions of the Corsa light hatch, Vivaro van, and the successor to the Mokka X small crossover, the former two scheduled for launch next year, while the latter will hit the European market in 2020...
The Corsa in particular will give Opel additional impetus this year. The bestseller, the first generation of which made its world premiere 37 years ago, will be available for the first time with a purely electric variant. Lohscheller promises that the pricing will be competitive: “With the new Corsa we will make electric mobility accessible to many customers – it will be a real electric car for the people.”
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.
My father, who could well be this man (except for the Germanic house behind it), bought a new sickly-green Kadett A just like this in 1965, at the local Buick dealer in Towson. So, yes; I can speak for the Kadett’s ability to trounce all VWs in street-light races, thanks to my older brother’s repeated VW-baiting. And at seventy or so, the turbulence from the boxy body caused the tops of the thin little doors to actually move away from the body enough to see daylight between them. Lightweight construction indeed. Hopefully, someday I’ll miraculously find a Kadett A and do the full story of its colorful place in history, both the automotive world’s as well as the Niedermeyer’s. But this CC is about its successor.
In 1994 a 167 hp 2.5 L V6 was introduced, thus creating what many considered to be the finest Calibra to date. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, the V6 wasn’t as fast as the Turbo, but was rather more civilised, and proved to be more reliable than the complex four-wheel drive model with its notorious transfer box issues. 1995 saw the introduction of the the X20XEV Ecotec engine, a cheaper, less reliable derivative of the classic X20XE 16-valve or "red top" engine. This marked a reduction in power from 156 bhp to 136 bhp for the 16-valve version, although the Turbo continued with the C20LET.