the Chevy Chevette, while a MUCH better car than the Vega was at the time, and even now, that’s not saying a whole lot, other than it WAS infinitely more durable and longer lasting and reliable than the Vega, though by ’76, the Vega was decent enough, but the damage was done. I know as my Mom drove a ’76 Vega from roughly 78-83 with the only major thing being the carb being rebuilt around 1980. The Chevette was basically a redesigned Kadett/Vauxhaul Chevette.
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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I join in the question: “Where did they all go?” These were pretty common in the upper midwest (as imports went) in the late 60s-mid 70s. I knew a Lutheran minister who owned one (maybe a 69 or so?) in the mid 70s, and got to ride in it once. He seemed pretty proud of the fact that he had put about 80K on it and it seemed to be running strongly. Although it was starting to look a little worn, it seemed to hold up a lot better than my Scoutmaster’s 69 Cortina.
Many Opel models or models based on Opel architectures have been sold in Australia and New Zealand under the Holden marque, such as the Holden Barina (1994-2005), which were rebadged versions of the Opel Corsa, the Holden Astra. a version of the Opel Astra, and the Captiva 5, a version of the Opel Antara. In New Zealand, the Opel Kadett and Ascona were sold as niche models by General Motors New Zealand in the 1980s, while the Opel brand was used on the Opel Vectra until 1994.
1966 wis the year that Opel opened thair new plant at Bochum, devotit exclusively tae Kadett production. Atween 1965 an 1973 Opel produced 2,691,300 Kadett Bs which maks this model ane o the maist successfu Opels tae date in terms o sales volume. The Kadett benefittit on the domestic mercat frae a progressive slowin o demand for the auld Volkswagen Beetle, while the Ford Escort an Volkswagen Golf which wad compete for sales mair effectively against the Kadett C baith got aff tae a relatively slow stairt respectively in 1968 an 1974.
In 1994 a 167 hp 2.5 L V6 was introduced, thus creating what many considered to be the finest Calibra to date. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, the V6 wasn’t as fast as the Turbo, but was rather more civilised, and proved to be more reliable than the complex four-wheel drive model with its notorious transfer box issues. 1995 saw the introduction of the the X20XEV Ecotec engine, a cheaper, less reliable derivative of the classic X20XE 16-valve or "red top" engine. This marked a reduction in power from 156 bhp to 136 bhp for the 16-valve version, although the Turbo continued with the C20LET.
The Kadett C appeared in August 1973 and was Opel's version of the General Motors' "T-Car". It was the last small Opel to feature rear-wheel drive, and remained in production at Opel's Bochum plant until July 1979, by which time Opel had produced 1,701,076. Of these, 52% had been exported outside West Germany, most of them to markets in other parts of western Europe.
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.