In 1982 Opel once again accomplished a great feat with a small car: the Corsa A joined the range below the Kadett, which by now was becoming a compact model. Designed by Chief Designer Erhard Schnell, who also penned the legendary Opel GT, the only 3.62m-long Corsa was notable for its prominent rally-car wheel arches and a drag coefficient of 0.36. Offered initially as a two-door hatchback and sedan, and a five-door as of 1985, the Corsa again demonstrated how masterfully Opel can generate space on a small platform. The 100hp GSi also combined frugality with fun. Originally conceived as an entry-level model for those on a tight budget, the Corsa A had become a bestseller by 1993 with a total of 3.1 million units sold.
The Insignia flagship followed exactly the same initiative as the Astra. Once again the Opel engineers’ main objective was efficiency. Thanks to optimized packaging and lightweight materials they could save up to 175kg on the Insignia Grand Sport compared with its predecessor – much to the benefit of dynamics and fuel consumption. Depending on powertrain and equipment, the current Insignia Sports Tourer even weighs up to 200kg less than the similar model variant from the first generation.
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It had some crazy mechanical issues. At one point it stumbled and stalled because the carburetor had come loose from the intake manifold and I had to tighten it back down! Another time, my brother was driving it and the brakes failed. Somehow the end of the brake shoe that meets the brake cylinder piston had become worn on one side, causing the piston to slip off the end of the shoe when the brakes were applied, losing braking and squirting fluid all over.
In response to the pressing need for new trucks in a Germany struggling to rebuild, the American authorities governing Rüsselsheim granted permission to the plant to produce a 1.5-short-ton (1.4 t) truck powered by the 2.5 L Kapitän engine. It was a minor miracle that even this was possible. By January 1946, the plant was ready to build trucks, but many of the almost 12,000 parts needed to make each one was lacking. Before the big firms could begin, the small ones had to get started, too. Illness and poor nutrition so crippled the staff of 6,000 workers that it was normal for 500 to be too sick to come to work and more than 400 to report sick during the day.
In November 2010, a facelift was announced. A revised front end was the most dramatic difference over its predecessor, consisting of a new grille, a restyled front bumper and new 'Eagle Eye' headlamps (introduced on the Insignia) which contain daytime running lamps, standard across the refreshed Corsa range. (Vauxhall versions gained the latest badge from 2008 on the front grille, tailgate and steering wheel). A new 'Touch and Connect' multimedia system from Bosch was made available as an option on certain Corsas, replacing the CD60 unit. Alloy wheels are upgraded on SXI, SE and OPC/VXR versions. Production ended in the end of 2014, with the Adam styled Corsa E released.
The Opel Eye front camera processes diverse data, thus forming the basis for the driver assistance systems such as Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Warning. If the system registers that the lane is being left unintentionally it warns the driver by emitting audible and visible signals. Cruise control with speed limiter also makes driving more pleasant. Forward collision alert with pedestrian detection and Automatic Emergency Braking helps avoid accidents, and it is combined with a special Driver Drowsiness Alert.
In 1909, the Opel 4/8 hp pioneered the introduction of affordable mobility. It was modern with solid technology, easy to operate and manoeuvrable, enabling ambitious car owners to drive it themselves instead of relying on a chauffeur – considerably reducing the overall cost of ownership. And the quality of materials and workmanship created confidence. The first officially designated “small car” in automotive history was considered fully suitable for everyday use. The vehicle ideal for “doctors, veterinarians and lawyers” according to the adverts was available at prices from 4,000 to 5,000 Marks, while models from other manufacturers cost around 20,000 Marks. Thus the means of transport for the upper class became a vehicle for the middle class - thanks to the “Doctor's car”.
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 Kadett C appeared in August 1973 and was Opel's version of the General Motors' "T-Car". It was the last small Opel to feature rear-wheel drive, and remained in production at Opel's Bochum plant until July 1979, by which time Opel had produced 1,701,076. Of these, 52% had been exported outside West Germany, most of them to markets in other parts of western Europe.
That's distressing, but it's also distressing to see how far along GM and Saab dealers went with that plan. In a June 1990 article from Automotive News, even then-Opel chairman Louis Hughes said "There's quite a difference between the Calibra concept and the traditional Saab concept." That's about as close as any auto exec will get to saying "this car doesn't fit in with the brand, but we're going to badge it anyway." That Auto News story expected the car would be approved to go by the end of 1990, and that they'd be built in the same factory in Finland that turned out special Saabs like the 9-3 Viggen and all of the convertibles.
(first posted 3/9/2012) For those under a certain age, the name Opel Kadett may be as familiar as Richard Speck, The Troggs, or Valley of the Dolls. Yes, 1966 was a long time ago, but that’s when the second generation of Opel’s VW fighter appeared and knocked down the long-time king of the small car hill. VW should thank Opel for that thumping; it really needed the wake up call that resulted in a new world order, spelled: G-O-L-F.
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.