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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.
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.
Obviously, the marketing and advertisement was quite different in Germany, and the “Das Auto” campaign was quite successful indeed. Unfortunately, I don’t have ready access to the statistics, but at some point in the Kadett B’s lengthy run from 1966 – 1973, it did unseat the Beetle as Germany’s best selling car. By the late sixties, the Germans were ready to move on, and it was straight into the Kadett’s open doors, as well as Ford’s new Escort, a Kadett-fighter through and through. In all, some 2.7 million Kadett Bs were produced, probably the high point of its life as both the Kadett and successor Astra.
Factory involvement from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Rover, Ford, Opel and finally Audi propelled the DTM into the public eye. With cars strongly resembling the ones parked down virtually every street, the series managed to gain traction among the average car buyer. Nowhere else could you see your uncle’s boring Rover take on your dad’s humble Ford in a ferocious battle to the finish line. With contact a frequent occurrence, the spectacle was complete.
Sales in the United Kingdom were strong right up to the end, but by the time the last Nova was built in the beginning of 1993, it was looking very dated in comparison to more modern rivals like the Peugeot 106 and the Renault Clio. Vauxhall dropped the "Nova" name in 1993 when their version of the Opel Corsa B made its debut, and later models were sold as the "Vauxhall Corsa" instead.
The final round of the 1994 season was contested at the Hockenheimring, but again the Opel contingent did its laps in relatively colorless fashion. A strong fourth place from Manuel Reuter in Race 2 ended the Calibra V6 4x4’s first full season. For 1995, the car would again be almost completely reshaped into a more effective weapon to take out the big boys in the newly renamed International Touringcar Challenge.
The Crossland’s rear seats are rather more vanilla than that. They split-fold, alright, with a slim centre section doubling up as a ski-hatch or arm-rest, and they do slide back and forth. That can liberate a seriously large amount of extra boot space, as when the rear seats are in the slid-forward position, the boot expands from 410-litres to a whopping 520-litres. At last, a small SUV with a boot big enough for a family. The unfortunate compromise is, obviously, in rear seat room. Maximise the boot, and you’ll be lucky to fit anyone at all in the back. Minimise the boot and, er, to be honest, there’s still not great space back there. It’s adequate, but no more than that.
Just a year later, a new Soviet car, the Moskvitch 400, rolled off a Moscow assembly line. It seemed to be the Opel Kadett in every detail, with only the name changed (various sources provide contradictory information; see the respective article). By late 1950, the Russians were exporting these Kremlin Kadetts to Belgium, stressing in their promotion that spare parts could easily be obtained from Germany. A Moskvitch model that bore no trace of Opel engineering was not introduced until 1959, and by that time, Opel was just about ready to introduce a new Kadett of its own.
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Unfortunately, Opel’s first victory in the DTM turned out to be as much of a fluke as the podium at Hockenheim. The Calibra’s fell behind once more, and resorted to occupying the lower end of the top 10. The airfield circuit at Diepholz, a third visit to the Nurburgring and the high-speed section of autobahn known as the AVUS-ring were all without meaningful results.
A convertible version was also available, for the first time in 1987, built by Bertone of Torino/Italy, bringing it to line with competitors, such as the Ford Escort and Volkswagen Golf. For the 1988 model, capacities were raised from 1.3 to 1.4 litres. In the fall of 1986 a new 1,998 cc engine replaced the 1.8 hitherto used on the GSi and Vauxhall Astra GTE in many markets, although the 1.8 continued to be sold in some places. In 1988, a 16-valve twin-cam version was developed for a high-performance GSi/GTE model, yielding 156 PS (115 kW) in non-catalyzed form, six less horsepower with a catalytic converter fitted. While criticized for a lack of refinement, the GSi 16V was also lauded as the most powerful car available in its class at the time. Aside from the "16V" badging, it could be told from an eight-valve GSi by its twin rectangular exhaust pipes.
Erede della Agila, la Opel Karl è una citycar personale e moderna, proposta in Italia solamente in versione Rocks, con stile da crossover. Abbina una carrozzeria davvero compatta (368 cm di lunghezza) a un’abitabilità fra le migliori della categoria: agevolmente accessibile grazie alle cinque porte (l’angolo di apertura è ampio anche nel caso di quelle posteriori), fa viaggiare comodi sia davanti sia dietro. Lo spazio concesso a chi siede sul divano è stato, però, sottratto al bagagliaio, capace di soli 206 litri ed espandibile a 1013 abbassando lo schienale (che, però, non rimane perfettamente in piano). Per una vettura di questa categoria le finiture sono soddisfacenti, come d’altronde la cura dei dettagli: per esempio, il cruscotto comprende il contagiri; disponibile come optional anche il sistema multimediale IntelliLink con touch screen di 7”, radio digitale, connessione allo smartphone e chiamata automatica dei soccorsi in caso di necessità. Scelta obbligata per il motore, un 1.0 a benzina abbinato a un cambio manuale a cinque marce, ben manovrabile finché non si pretende di utilizzarlo sportivamente. Vivace a sufficienza e parco nei consumi, a dispetto del frazionamento a tre cilindri vibra e si fa sentire poco: caratteristiche che garantiscono un discreto comfort (anche se le sospensioni non sono molto morbide). Adeguata la dotazione di sicurezza della Opel Karl, comprensiva di airbag laterali e per la testa di serie.
The Corsa A was rebadged as the "Vauxhall Nova" between 1983 to 1993 for the United Kingdom. It replaced the ageing Vauxhall Chevette. All Nova models were manufactured in Spain, with the first customers in the United Kingdom taking delivery of their cars in April 1983. It gave Vauxhall a much needed modern competitor in the supermini market in the United Kingdom, as the Chevette was older than the majority of its main competitors which consisted of the Ford Fiesta and the Austin Metro.
The extra-light, all-aluminium engines, together with optimization of the front and rear axles, also contribute to the low total weight. The particularly compact three-cylinder petrol engines weigh around 15kg less than the previous generation of similarly powerful four-cylinder units. Highly unusual in the small-car-sector is the new Corsa’s aluminium engine bonnet, which although longer, saves 2.4kg in comparison to the previous model’s bonnet made of steel. The Insignia flagship was previously the only model in the Opel range with an aluminium bonnet. The seats also have been put on a diet. The new optimized seat structure saves a total of 10kg – 5.5kg at the front, 4.5kg at the rear. New lighter insulating material was used for fine tuning. Altogether the measures result in a weight reduction that, in combination with optimum aerodynamics and the efficient powertrains, will lead to a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
In March 2017, Groupe PSA agreed to buy Opel, its British sister brand Vauxhall and their European auto lending business from General Motors for US$2.2 billion. In return, General Motors will pay PSA US$3.2 billion for future European pension obligations and keep managing US$9.8 billion worth of plans for existing retirees. Furthermore, GM is responsible for paying about US$400 million annually for 15 years to fund the existing Great Britain and Germany pension plans.