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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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The Calibra, styled by the American head of GM design Europe, Wayne Cherry (retired), is considered by some the most stylish Vauxhall/Opel ever, but being based on the Vectra chassis its ride and handling were not significantly better than that of the family car from which it grew. It was, however, the most aerodynamically efficient Opel everwith a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.26. It remained the most aerodynamic mass production car for the next 10 years, until the Honda Insight was launched in 1999 with a Cd of 0.25.
Opel's relationship to GM in America during the war has been disputed. Alfred P. Sloan's memoir indicates that when the war started, as Germany nationalised many foreign-owned industrial assets, GM's contact with Opel was broken and remained that way for the rest of the war. Other writers have alleged that even after June 1940, official connections between Opel and America were not broken, and monetary gain by Americans continued throughout the war.
1938 saw the presentation of the highly successful Kapitän. With a 2.5 L six-cylinder engine, all-steel body, front independent suspension, hydraulic shock absorbers, hot-water heating (with electric blower), and central speedometer. 25,374 Kapitäns left the factory before the intensification of World War II brought automotive manufacturing to a temporary stop in the Autumn of 1940, by order of the government.
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In September 1995, the Vectra A was replaced, but Calibra production continued until June 1997. Although a smaller coupé (the Tigra) was available, the marque was left without a mid sized coupé until the Astra Coupé was launched in 2000, and with the introduction of the Opel Speedster in 2000, three years after the Calibra was discontinued, Opel finally offered a sports car again.
Competitive pricing led to commercial success, and Kadetts continued to be produced during the early months of the war: by the time production ended in May 1940, following intensification of World War II, 106,608 of these Opel Kadetts had come off the assembly line at Opel's Rüsselsheim plant, which had been the first major car plant in Germany to apply the assembly-line production techniques pioneered by Henry Ford.
Later, an 1800 cc version wis introduced for the Kadett/Astra GTE model. This range o ingines wis an aa uised for later models o the Corsa/Nova, an the mid-sized Cavalier/Ascona. The Kadett D wis an' a' equipped wi a 1600 cc diesel ingine that wis possible tae drive as cheap as 5.0 L/100 km, an a cairy-ower 1196cc OHV ingine. It wis an aa produced as IDA Kadett in Kikinda, Yugoslavie.