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.
The Kadett E has been seen as a grey import in the United Kingdom, but it is quite rare compared to its badge engineered sister, the Vauxhall Astra Mk II. It was never officially sold in Britain, and by 1989, General Motors was only marketing the Vauxhall brand in the United Kingdom, although Astras assembled at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant were exported to the rest of Europe badged as Opel Kadetts. There was also a van version with a raised roof, called the Opel Kadett Combo.
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.
The 1.0 L and 1.2 L Ecotec Family 0 engines are carry overs from the Corsa B; the 1.4 L Family 1 engine was replaced with a new 1.4 L Family 0 model. The 1.8 L Family 1 engine is an upgrade for the previous 1.6 L 16 valve engine and produces 125 PS (92 kW) and 165 N⋅m (122 lb⋅ft) of torque. The edition with the 1.8 L engine was named Corsa GSi and was the predecessor of the new Corsa OPC.
With these guidelines in mind, the Opel question was put again on 3 May to the GM financial policy committee, which then withdrew its objections to a return to Rüsselsheim. Many details still had to be worked out, both within GM and in the US-occupied zone of Germany, before this could actually occur. At last, the official word was released on 1 November 1948; GM resumed management control of Adam Opel AG. Edward W. Zdunek, formerly regional manager for Europe of General Motors Overseas Operations Division, was named managing director.
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.
For 1937 the Kadett was offered as a small and unpretentious two door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) or, at the same list price of 2,100 Marks, as a soft top "Cabrio-Limousine". The body resembled that of the existing larger Opel Olympia and its silhouette reflected the "streamlining" tendencies of the time. The 1,074cc side-valve engine came from the 1935 Opel P4 and came with the same listed maximum power output of 23 PS (17 kW; 23 hp) at 3,400 rpm.
The Opel Karl is powered by a new 1.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec three-cylinder making 74 hp, a bit less than the outgoing Chevrolet Spark’s 84 hp from a 1.2-liter four-cylinder. The three-cylinder engine is part of GM’s new global, small-displacement Ecotec engine family, so it’s possible that Chevrolet may offer a slightly larger turbocharged engine for the Spark in the U.S. The European-market Opel is also available only with a five-speed manual, while the Spark will almost surely be offered with an automatic transmission option.
The range has a high level standard specification compared to similar vehicles from other manufacturers, including a lane departure warning system, cruise control, speed limiter, trip computer (instant MPG, average MPG, average speed, stop watch and trip computer), tyre pressure monitoring system, electronic stability program and traction control, front fog lamps and cornering lamps.
Things are a little better up front, where we find driver and passenger seats approved by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken, or German Bad Back Association. They are truly, properly comfortable, and even long journeys fail to induce numb-bum, nor thigh-tremble. It does go a bit downhill from there though. The fascia and instrument panel are pulled, more or less directly, from the Corsa hatch, which means everything’s reasonably well made, but a bit dour and glum in appearance. That contrasts sharply to the quirkier, more welcoming interiors of the Crossland’s French cousins. There are good things – the seven-inch IntelliLink touchscreen is clear and good to use, albeit it has a slightly messy menu system, but the main dials look drab, and items such as the column stalks actually feel quite fragile and cheap.
Clever design tweaks set the KARL ROCKS apart from most of its A-segment rivals. The functional silver roof rails, rugged front and rear bumpers with integrated skid pads, front and rear wheelhouse moldings and unique 15-inch bi-color-look alloy wheels blend in perfectly with typical Opel design cues such as the Opel blade that sweeps dynamically up towards the rear. Combined with the sloping roofline this creates a dynamic, sporty appearance that links the KARL ROCKS to the KARL while simultaneously giving it a distinct rugged look.
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).