The Kadett did seem to be all over in the late 60’s early 70’s time frame, but rapidly dissappeared from the scene by the end of the 70’s. Bay Buick-GMC in Torrance CA. had an Opel sign for many years, at least until the mid-90’s. Maybe they thought Opel was coming back. Back in the early 70’s I remember a family that had a light metallic green Kadett wagon. I though it was cool for no other reason than it was a 2 door wagon.
There were two distinct generations of the Kadett B: 1966-1967, and the 1968-1973. Bob Lutz had a hand in the key feature that distinguished the two. The torque-tube/leaf-spring rear suspension was replaced for 1968 by a coil-spring and control-arm set-up, designed to both improve ride and handling, especially in reducing the Kadett’s tendency to tippiness. Bob had recently arrived at Opel, where he mentioned that the Kadett had a bit of a rep in the US for being a bit tippy, especially in a J-turn maneuver. The engineers told him that the new rear suspension (seen here in this picture) would eliminate that, and invited him to see for himself. The result is self-evident (full story here).
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.
Still, a number of Kadetts has been captured as trophies by the Red Army and available for study and reverse-engineering. This project was conducted by design bureaus formed as Soviet-German joint ventures under the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD). There were 11 of them in total. One in Berlin (reverse-engineered the engine and transmission. Another in Schwarzenberg worked on the steel body. The wooden-bodied station wagon was developed in Chemnitz. The vast majority of the personnel of these design bureaus were German specialists and craftsmen hired by the Military Administration. These design bureaus not only prepared the necessary blueprints and documentation, but also provided the wooden master model for the body. They even developed the new trim pieces which distinguished the Moskvitch from its Opel prototype, including hood emblems and hubcaps with a large "M" (for "Moskvitch"). However, the stamping dies and most of the tooling had to be produced in the USSR.
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.
This new category, Group A, featured very stringent homologation requirements. In order to qualify for competition, the competing model needed to be produced at least 25,000 times. Furthermore, the FIA required ten percent of these cars to be a specialty model, with another 500 allowed as “Evolution” models. If the 25,000 car limit had not yet been met, the new model had to attain a production number of at least 5000 units a year.
The Corsa C arrived in the 2002 model year as a five door hatchback, and was imported from Europe; but for the model year of 2003, the Corsa sold in Mexico began coming from Brazil and a saloon version was added. In 2005, the saloon version introduced a semi-automatic transmission called easytronic because it was only offered in a five speed manual transmission, however, the easytronic transmission was rapidly discontinued after the model year of 2007, because of poor sales and technical flaws.
The Carnection thing was only part of Behlmann’s problems. The fact that no one was buying full-size conversion vans anymore surely couldn’t have helped. Behlmann was by far the biggest dealer in the country for those things. The ’90s SUV craze was a little slower to take hold in STL because Behlmann’s volume allowed them to sell big conversion vans for not much more than a loaded up SUV. Those vans were EVERYWHERE!
With 2019 fast approaching, it is time to start feeling very old. The Opel Calibra, that rakish and oh-so fashionable coupe beloved by high-flying businessmen and boy racers alike, is 30 years old in 2019. That's right, the Calibra is now officially a classic. On paper there was nothing to single the Calibra out for greatness. It followed the standard coupe formula. Take a humdrum saloon, in this case the Vectra, smother it in a sleek body courtesy of famed GM designer Wayne Cherry, give it a sexy new name and voila. The Calibra was launched on June 10, 1989, and waded into battle against Toyota's evergreen Celica and Nissan's recently launched 200SX.
The Corsa GSi family was founded in 1988 by the 100 hp Corsa A (now a much sought-after classic) Then came the Corsa B GSi 16V with 109 hp and a powerful low-end torque characteristic, the Corsa C GSi with 125 hp and a top speed of 202 km/h, and from 2007 the Corsa D GSi, for the first time with turbocharging and 150 hp from 1,600 cubic centimetres. In August 2012 Opel and the Corsa took a break from the GSi – until September 2017. At the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), the Opel Insignia GSi celebrated its world premiere and the GSi label its comeback. And now, one year later, the Corsa GSi has returned too.
Design-trimmed cars lose the alloys and get 15in steel wheels, while SE models gain an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, electrially adjustable front seats, a 60/40 folding rear bench split, parking sensors and 16in alloy wheels, whole the range-topping Elite models include luxuries climate control, rear view camera, bi-xenon headlights, tinted rear windows, sports suspension and 17in alloy wheels.
Journeys can be made even more relaxing and safer with the numerous ultra-modern technologies and assistance system available with the new Opel Crossland X. Innovative full LED headlamps ensures outstanding visibility in the dark. The optional head up display reduces the danger of distractions and projects the most important data on speed, navigation and assistance systems into the driver’s direct line of sight.
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The brakes were now controlled using a hydraulic mechanism. The suspension featured synchromous springing, a suspension configuration already seen on the manufacturer's larger models and based on the Dubonnet system for which General Motors in France had purchased the license. The General Motors version, which had been further developed by Opel’s North American parent, was intended to provide a soft ride, but there was some criticism that handling and road-holding were compromised, especially when the system was applied to small light-weight cars such as the Kadett. By the end of 1937 33,402 of these first generation Kadetts had been produced.
A television advert in 1986 featured the Ritchie Valens hit "La Bamba" playing in the background CGI allowed a Nova to drive over vehicles in a busy city. Another advert from 1990 featured a Nova as a pet, CGI allowing it to jump through a traffic jam and briefly play a hotrod whilst stopped at traffic lights. The end featured a homage to Wacky Races, with the Nova laughing like Muttley. This advert featured Angus Deayton.
A mark of General Motors' confidence in their plans for the small car sector, and something that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhall Viva had in common, was that the manufacturer built for each new model a completely new car plant in a region characterized by relatively high unemployment and the availability of a skilled workforce, but with no strong tradition of volume auto-making. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car built at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant while the Kadett A was the first product of Opel's new purpose built Bochum plant. Ellesmere Port and Bochum would effectively become sister plants, producing subsequent generations of Kadett as well as their Vauxhall badged sisters (the Chevette and Astra) for the next fifty years.
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).
I was too broke for a proper fix so a friend welded a glob of metal to the worn end of the shoe and we ground it flat to make a bigger surface for the brake cylinder piston to hit, then soaked the brake shoe in gas and lit it to burn off the brake fluid! Insane when I think back on it, but probably not the dumbest thing I did in my teenage years, and those brakes lasted several more years!
The standard equipment of the Corsa special model positioned above the “Edition” variant includes assistance systems such as rear Park Pilot and Cruise Control. Comfort is increased with features like heated seats, heated steering and velour carpets. In addition to attractive prices, the “120 Years” models also feature light-alloy wheels and stylish chrome details, as well as “OPEL” and the “120 Years” logo on the door sills. Prices for the Opel Corsa “120 Years” in Germany begin at €15,440 including VAT (Corsa 1.2 with 51 kW/70 hp and five-speed manual transmission: fuel consumption1, 2 : urban 7.4-7.3 l/100 km, extra-urban 5.0-4.9 l/100 km, combined 5.9-5.8 l/100 km, 134-132 g/km CO2) – with additional equipment packs the price advantage can reach as much as €2,540.00 3.
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The other reason for the B’s success had to do with GM: once again, after having failed to slow down the VW’s ascent with their 1960-1961 compacts, they were forced to take the small car market seriously. That led eventually to the Vega in 1971, but in the shorter term, it meant marketing the Opel as something other than with which to remodel the garage. Now the Kadett family, which included a new fastback coupe, sedans and wagon, was seen in front of the typical American garage: two Opels for the price of one Buick.
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.
The Opel Karl is powered by a new 1.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec three-cylinder making 74 hp, a bit less than the outgoing Chevrolet Spark’s 84 hp from a 1.2-liter four-cylinder. The three-cylinder engine is part of GM’s new global, small-displacement Ecotec engine family, so it’s possible that Chevrolet may offer a slightly larger turbocharged engine for the Spark in the U.S. The European-market Opel is also available only with a five-speed manual, while the Spark will almost surely be offered with an automatic transmission option.
Strangely, the joint-venture was announced several years ago. Then, just as the Crossland X and C3 Aircross hit showrooms, PSA decided to buy GM Europe – the company that owns Vauxhall. So this pair are a preview of a future strategy in which all Vauxhalls, Peugeots, Citroens and DSs will draw from shared engineering, like the VW Group’s brands have done for years.
The Kadett E (Vauxhall Astra Mark 2 in the United Kingdom) was introduced in August 1984, and was voted the 1985 European Car of the Year. The 1984 model was also developed into a more conventional three-box design with a boot (trunk), badged as the Vauxhall Belmont in the United Kingdom, launched at Frankfurt 1985. This was awarded the 1985 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland. There was a station wagon called the "Caravan" available, with either three or five doors. In South Africa, the Kadett notchback was sold as the Opel Monza, along with a convertible. This replaced the Opel Ascona.
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.