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Under the stubby bonnet, Opel has borrowed engines as well as chassis from PSA, so the EcoTec 1.6-litre diesel is actually the French 1.6-litre BlueHDI engine wearing lederhosen and a false moustache. It’s a very good engine, in fairness. Not as refined, overall, as Opel’s home-grown 1.6, nor as powerful (120hp plays 136hp) but quieter at low rpm when cold, and with very good economy. Sadly, the six-speed manual gearbox is also brought in from France and its sloppy, loose-limbed action does not bespeak of German precision. The engine, to be honest, doesn’t seem to suit the car, surging and growling with rather too much enthusiasm and basically making a nuisance of itself. I suspect the Crossland would be better-suited to the revvy, lightweight 1.2-litre petrol engine.
Technologically, the Kadett D wis a major departure, as it wis Opel an Vauxhall's first front wheel drive caur. It an aa introduced the Family II ingine design wi an single owerheid camshaft, aluminium alloy cylinder heid, hydraulic valve lifters, wi capacities o 1300 an 1600 cc, an haed a unique transaxle design which alloued the clutch tae be replaced athoot removin the transmission unit.
However, Opel Team Joest was in for a tough fight. Not only had Alfa Romeo not been sitting on their hands, Mercedes-Benz had finally found the time to build a proper Class 1 car. Although the C180 V6 DTM lacked four wheel drive and only produced 400 horsepower, it featured a 6-speed sequential transmission, F1-derived active suspension, an innovative active ballast system which counteracted the pitching and diving of the nose under acceleration and braking and an all-carbon bodyshell bringing weight down to 980 kg (2161 lbs).
To keep sales brisk, Opel facelifted the car in 1994 with the 2.0-litre engine getting more efficient but less powerful. There were various minor changes to help improve the Calibra without alienating existing customers. Most notable were improvements to safety, which included the introduction of a full-sized driver's side airbag. Exterior styling, perhaps the car's single greatest strength, was almost completely unaltered. The only way to tell a post-facelift car is the Opel badge is tucked into the middle of the grille, while early cars have it nailed to the bonnet.
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”.
We took the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and then headed down to Forges-les-Eaux, along winding D-roads through quiet villages and dense forests, scenes to be repeated over the following three days. What you notice immediately about the Calibra is how civilised it is. That V6 engine is a gem, not especially powerful by today’s standards but honestly quick and genuinely refined.
Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
In April 1993, the Corsa B was unveiled and in the United Kingdom Vauxhall dropped the Nova name, with the car from now being known as the Corsa. In May 1994, it was launched by Holden in Australia, as the Barina, replacing a version of the Suzuki Swift sold under that name. This proved a success, and was the first Spanish built car to be sold in significant volumes in the Australian market.
The way it nearly came to the US is interesting, though. Back then, GM North America was a very different place than GM Europe, and it looked like there was very little interest in bridging the gap, unlike today. But after GM bought a 50% stake in the Trollhattan trolls, the General was now burdened with the problem of attracting more than devotees to an aging lineup at dealerships. The solution was to sell the Calibra to Americans through Saab dealerships, but badged as a Saab.
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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.
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.