After seven years, 238,647 Calibras had been produced at the main plant in Rüsselsheim, and also at Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Calibra’s biggest markets were Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain and France. The 115 hp entry-level model led the sales charts with production totaling more than 130,000 units, followed by the 150 hp, 2.0-liter version, of which more than 61,000 were built.
Using a gear-driven system, power was taken from the 6-speed sequential gearbox forward to the half-shafts, which appeared to embrace the raucous 54 degree V6. By doing this Opel had cleverly avoided a nose-heavy car, giving them a significant handling advantage. Weighing in at 1040 kg (2292 lbs)m the car looked like a serious challenger for Alfa Romeo.
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.
The Opel Corsa in general and the Corsa “120 Years” in particular show that it is a core brand characteristic to always offer customers more than they expect in the respective vehicle class. The foundation for this was laid at the end of the 19th century by the Opel patent motor car “System Lutzmann”. Its short price list already included two innovative extras: the first was the pneumatic tire, which was invented by Robert William Thomson in 1845, but had not yet found widespread use in automobile production. The second was the optional removable child seat available for the small two-seat motorised coach, whose one-cylinder, 4 hp engine delivered a speed of 30 km/h. This example alone clearly illustrates what Opel has been all about from the very beginning: absolute suitability for everyday use instead of technology as an end in itself.
The Corsa GSi family was founded in 1988 by the 100 hp Corsa A (now a much sought-after classic) Then came the Corsa B GSi 16V with 109 hp and a powerful low-end torque characteristic, the Corsa C GSi with 125 hp and a top speed of 202 km/h, and from 2007 the Corsa D GSi, for the first time with turbocharging and 150 hp from 1,600 cubic centimetres. In August 2012 Opel and the Corsa took a break from the GSi – until September 2017. At the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), the Opel Insignia GSi celebrated its world premiere and the GSi label its comeback. And now, one year later, the Corsa GSi has returned too.
The next step for Opel was the resumption of passenger car production. It might have seemed easiest to bring back the Kapitän first since its engine was already in production for the truck, but occupation regulations restricted German civilians to cars of 1.5 L or less, which made the Olympia the obvious candidate. Under Dr Ing e.h. Karl Stief, who had been chief engineer at Opel since 1934, useful changes were made to this tough little car. The Dubonnet front suspension was replaced by a conventional coil-and-wishbone layout and the steering was correspondingly rearranged.
The remains of Ackerman Buick in beautiful Ferguson MO were finally bulldozed recently…I think they sold Hyundai or Kia out of that building most recently. I can’t say that I’ve seen an Opel of any description, in the flesh, in several decades, with the exception of an occasional Opel GT. I was a car freak as a kid, and I’m not convinced that I’ve ever seen any of the ones featured in this post…
* = Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures shown are determined according to the NEDC homologation regulations (R (EC) No. 715/2007 and R (EC) No. 692/2008, applicable version), which allows comparison with other vehicles. From September 1, 2017, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data for certain new vehicles are determined using the new World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). For easy comparison between new and older vehicles the relevant figures are re-calculated into NEDC. Please contact your Opel dealer for the latest information.
Rüsselsheim. In 2019 Opel celebrates 120 years of automobile production – and thereby 120 years full of innovations for everyone. The German brand has a tradition of pioneering high-tech advancements and quickly bringing them to series production. This makes mobility affordable for many and the cars safer, cleaner, more comfortable and more practical. The 120 years advertising campaign, “Opel. Born in Germany. Made for everyone.” is based on this philosophy. It was as true of the first Opel – the Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” of 1899 – as of all the other models that followed, from the “Doktorwagen” to “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), P4 and Kadett. Today the philosophy matches the Opel Corsa more than any other model.