My brother’s best friend’s family traded in the “kids’ car”, a much abused ’55 Chevy six two door on a new ’67 Kadett B, like this one, and every bit a stripper like the Chevy 150 had been. Geoffrey was a capable driver, and some of my more memorable mind-expanding experiences in the year 1967 – 1969 came about thanks to their willingness to let younger brother tag along. That often involved sitting in the back seat of the Kadett, hanging on for dear life as every effort to catch air on the winding back roads was exploited. Perpetual caning was SOP, and I have doubts whether their Kadett lasted as long as the old ’55 Chevy six. My father’s Kadett A needed a valve job at 40k, probably precipitated by my brother’s similar abuse. He traded it in on a ’68 Dart; that tells you all you need to know.
The real people’s car successor was the 1962 Kadett A. The low maintenance costs were expressly part of the recipe for success of the two-door notchback model. The lines were matter-of-fact and modern. At the same time, the interior space was anything but typical of a small car. The advertising promised “well-formed seats, plenty of legroom. We have dispensed with overhanging metalwork and unnecessary bells and whistles. That would only have cost a lot of money.” Instead, the boot was a real luggage compartment and – the fuel filler cap was on the outside! “You never have the smell of petrol in your boot,” it said with a wink towards Wolfsburg. With its modern, water-cooled front engine, the Kadett offered a further design advantage over the Beetle. “Opel Kadett, in short: O.K.” – Opel built almost 650,000 units by 1965 alone.
The Kadett D was introduced in the middle of August 1979, with deliveries on the home market beginning early in September 1979. In November 1979, the car went on sale in the United Kingdom, some five months before the Vauxhall Astra Mark 1, the British version, was launched in April 1980. The cars were designed as three- or five-door hatchbacks and estates or station wagons. There were also two- and four-door sedans featuring separate boots/trunks, which shared the silhouettes of the hatchbacks: in the United Kingdom, the sedan versions were soon withdrawn, until the 1986 launch of the MKII-based Belmont. For the first time since 1965 there was no coupé-bodied Kadett in the range: the previous Kadett C coupé was indirectly replaced by the three-door 1.3 SR sports model.
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In February 2015, Opel introduced OPC version of Corsa E. Compared to the previous generation model, power output has increased by 15PS to 207PS (204 bhp) from 1.6 Turbo engine, with a maximum torque of 245 Nm (181 lb-ft) between 1900 and 5800 rpm. An overboost function increases torque to 280Nm (210 lb-ft) when needed. As a result, the Corsa OPC is able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds and to reach a maximum speed of 230 km/h (143 mph).
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.
A mark of General Motors' confidence in their plans for the small car sector, and something that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhall Viva had in common, was that the manufacturer built for each new model a completely new car plant in a region characterized by relatively high unemployment and the availability of a skilled workforce, but with no strong tradition of volume auto-making. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car built at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant while the Kadett A was the first product of Opel's new purpose built Bochum plant. Ellesmere Port and Bochum would effectively become sister plants, producing subsequent generations of Kadett as well as their Vauxhall badged sisters (the Chevette and Astra) for the next fifty years.
In terms of interior passenger space, the Opel Corsa ranks similarly to most other Economy options, able to seat 5 passengers, though tall passengers sitting in the back seats may have a hard time on long drives, as the cabin's low roof can make the interior feel cramped. On the other hand, Families traveling with small children are especially well-suited for the Corsa.
A third body was also produced for use in flexibility tests. In the summer of 1994, the Calibra received a light facelift. Most noticeably, the manufacturer badge migrated from its place atop the leading edge of the bonnet into the front grille. Throughout the production run, several special models were launched. In the United Kingdom, this began with the 'Tickford' conversion in October 1991, however only 26 Calibra's were ever converted.
The first cars were produced in 1899 after Opel's wife Sophie and their two eldest sons entered into a partnership with Friedrich Lutzmann, a locksmith at the court in Dessau in Saxony-Anhalt, who had been working on automobile designs for some time. These cars were not very successful and the partnership was dissolved after two years, following which Opel signed a licensing agreement in 1901 with the French Automobiles Darracq France to manufacture vehicles under the brand name Opel Darracq. These cars consisted of Opel bodies mounted on Darracq chassis, powered by two-cylinder engines.
*Fuel economy values are determined through CO2 measurement in accordance with the latest ECE R101/SANS 20101 standards, as prescribed by South African government, conducted in a controlled environment and were correct at the time this disclaimer was published, which is subject to change. The specifications are for comparison purposes between the different vehicle models available in the S.A market which are all tested in the same manner, specific driving cycles and controlled environment.
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.
The Corsa E has been around since 2014 essentially as a more thorough facelift of the model before it and it won’t be until towards the end of the decade when the supermini is going to be overhauled. The development phase has not been what we would call smooth sailing considering the major corporate change. We’re obviously talking about PSA’s decision to buy Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors, which is going to have a direct impact on the new Corsa.
^ 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).