As an Opel, it could've been a great rival for the Ford Probe, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Celica and all of the handsome sport coupes that popped up in the early '90s. You could get a Calibra with an all-wheel drive system, or a turbocharged engine (not from Saab), or a 2.5-liter V6 (shared with Saab). It had a hatchback for practicality. Versions with big wheels look rather handsome, too. Had it been priced like a Saab, though, it would've attracted too many comparisons with the E30 and E36 coupes from BMW at the time, and that probably wouldn't have ended well.
The plucky Kadett B. I am still daily driving a 1100 sedan here in southern CA. Simple basic trouble free comfortable transportation. It does its job without fuss or pretentiousness. I am amazed at how well the engineers made a cheap car so useable without feeling as if you were in a penalty box. They just have a certain feel that I find appealing. *
A television advert in 1986 featured the Ritchie Valens hit "La Bamba" playing in the background CGI allowed a Nova to drive over vehicles in a busy city. Another advert from 1990 featured a Nova as a pet, CGI allowing it to jump through a traffic jam and briefly play a hotrod whilst stopped at traffic lights. The end featured a homage to Wacky Races, with the Nova laughing like Muttley. This advert featured Angus Deayton.
During its lifetime, the Calibra was much more popular in Europe, and outsold its nearest rival, the Ford Probe, which was considered to be underpowered, and very American for most European drivers. However, in the United Kingdom, it failed to outsell the Rover 200 Coupé, which offered comparable performance, but without 4WD in the top of the range models.
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.
In 1957 Opel Product Director Karl Stief was mandated by General Motors headquarters in Detroit to develop "the perfect Anti-Volkswagen" ("einen perfekten Anti-VW"). The development team was headed up by Stief, supported by Hans Mersheimer (car-body) and Werner K. Strobel (engine and running gear), under conditions of such secrecy that even now very little is known of the development history of the 1962 Kadett. It has been alleged that GM was trying to conceal a new technique of platform and design sharing between Opel and its British sister company Vauxhall, which released the strikingly similar Viva HA in 1963, a year after Opel introduced the Kadett. Over the subsequent two decades Opel and Vauxhall's ranges would rapidly converge as Vauxhall's design independence from Opel was eroded to the point where by 1985, Vauxhall's car range entirely consisted of rebadged Opel models.
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Opel also produced the first mass-production vehicle in Germany with a self-supporting ("unibody") all-steel body, closely following the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant. This was one of the most important innovations in automotive history. They called the car, launched in 1935, the Olympia. With its small weight and aerodynamics came an improvement in both performance and fuel consumption. Opel received a patent on this technology.
The incarnation of classic car enthusiasm is spelled DeBattista. Joe and his dad Joseph are not just passionate collectors of classic cars but also gifted mechanics who built and restored cars to Concours perfection. Like my 65 Jensen CV-8, which had been painstakingly ground up restored by them in record breaking time. Joe and his dad personally delivered the car from San Francisco to LA a couple of hours before the car entered the Greystone Concours de Elegance in 2014… and won the ‘Best Restoration’ award. Unforgettable moments with Joe and Joseph DeBattista.
Depending on fuel price relations in particular markets, the factory-converted Karl should pay back the price premium over its conventionally motivated sibling after covering some 50-60 thousand km. That's not exactly little for a city car, but still the LPGTEC version should be interesting to those who would normally go looking for a diesel. Hopefully we'll be able to tell you more about this latest offering from Opel when we put it through its paces in a test!
Opel traces its roots to a sewing machine manufacturer founded by Adam Opel in 1862 in Rüsselsheim am Main. The company began manufacturing bicycles in 1886 and produced its first automobile in 1899. After listing on the stock market in 1929, General Motors took a majority stake in Opel and then full control in 1931, establishing the American reign over the German automaker for nearly 90 years.
While the Ipanema clearly succeeded the Marajó, production of the Chevette (by now in sedan form only, the hatchback having been discontinued after the 1987 model year) and of the Kadett noticeably overlapped; the newer model was placed above the old one in Chevrolet's lineup. While Chevrolet entertained the possibility of a pick-up version of the Kadett E, it never materialized.
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.
The suspension and brakes got some serious attention too, and the Rally 1900 was quite the sensation in its brief heyday, and garnered a very positive review by Car and Driver. (see related story on C/D’s Opel Kadett assassination story). Until the Ascona/Opel 1900 (CC here) came along in about 1971, the Rally carried a bright flame for Opel. The Ascona had been planned as a replacement for the Kadett, but when Ford launched their very bare-bones Escort, Opel kept the Kadett on, although at least in the US, it reverted to a very basic trim level and only with the 1100 cc motor, and sales swooned, due to rising prices as a result of the falling dollar.
Instead, it had the same front fascia as the Latin American Chevrolet Corsa, possibly because GM South Africa wanted the same front fascia as the sedan and pickup, as swapping with the European front fascia would have been expensive sawing and welding due to the Latin American Corsa's sharper headlights. This car was 2001 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.
There were two Opel-franchised assembly plants in Ireland in the 1960s. One in Ringsend, Dublin, was operated by Reg Armstrong Motors, which also assembled NSU cars and motorcycles. The second assembly plant was based in Cork and operated by O'Shea's, which also assembled Škoda cars and Zetor tractors.The models assembled were the Kadett and the Rekord. From 1966, the Admiral was imported as a fully built unit and became a popular seller.