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.
GM retains an engineering centre at Millbrook in the UK and is no stranger to tuning cars there, because it knows that British road conditions are different from those elsewhere. So whereas Opel Corsas, belying their German engineering origin, will apparently have greater straight-on stability to their steering, UK cars get a different power steering tune (electric assistance makes that much easier).
The origin of the lightning in the 2012 Opel logo lies in the truck Opel Blitz (German Blitz = English "lightning"), which had been a commercial success, widely used also within the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's military. Originally, the logo for this truck consisted of two stripes arranged loosely like a lightning symbol with the words "Opel" and "Blitz" in them, in later, 1950s models simplified to the horizontal form of a lightning which appears in the current Opel logo. The jag in the lightning always follows the original from the "Opel Blitz" text stripes, in the form of a horizontally stretched letter "Z".
Opel had been Germany's largest auto-producer in the 1930s, and in Wolfsburg the producers of the Kadett's principal target did not disguise their concern at the prospect of Opel's return to small car production. At the Volkswagen annual general meeting a few months before the launch of the Kadett, Volkswagen chairman Heinrich Nordhoff (who himself had been a senior manager with Opel in the 1930s and 1940s) went on record with a warning to shareholders that Opel (along with Ford Germany) were backed by a level of financial muscle on a scale unimaginable to any German company, and that it seemed that the two American transplants were now determined to use their financial strength to make aggressive inroads into the German auto-market at any price.
Acceleration and braking benefit from every kg saved. Lightweight design is therefore strategically important at Opel. The current Opel Astra, which premiered in 2015, set new standards in this respect. The 2016 “European Car Of The Year” is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor. As a result, the agility and ride comfort of the Astra are significantly improved; throttle reaction is more responsive, the steering reacts more dynamically, the driving experience is more engaging. The weight reduction will have a similar effect on the new Corsa.
Joseph DeBattista and his son, Joey, acquired this Lapis Blue wonder after trading a Volkswagen. Owing to its rarity, they had to be creative with the restoration. While Joey was hunting for parts on eBay, his father bent metal to perfection, slowly completing a car that will always remain an underdog, a nice conversation starter, and a fail-proof daily driver. Just ask Richard Hammond, if you need more proof.