Overcoming these and other obstacles, Opel finally celebrated the completion of the first postwar Opel Blitz truck on 15 July 1946 in the presence of United States Army General Geoffrey Keyes and other local leaders and press reporters. Priced at 6600RM, the truck was designed to run either on gasoline or on wood gas, for which a gas generator could be supplied. With a ceremonial bouquet of flowers flying from its rear-view mirror, this historic Opel Blitz left the factory gate bound for a buyer in Wiesbaden on 26 July. Further production followed at a rate of 150 a month, and by the end of 1946, the production total was 839. Frigidaire refrigerators were also being made at Rüsselsheim, as were Olympia engines for the NSU Kettenkrad.
In 1982 Opel once again accomplished a great feat with a small car: the Corsa A joined the range below the Kadett, which by now was becoming a compact model. Designed by Chief Designer Erhard Schnell, who also penned the legendary Opel GT, the only 3.62m-long Corsa was notable for its prominent rally-car wheel arches and a drag coefficient of 0.36. Offered initially as a two-door hatchback and sedan, and a five-door as of 1985, the Corsa again demonstrated how masterfully Opel can generate space on a small platform. The 100hp GSi also combined frugality with fun. Originally conceived as an entry-level model for those on a tight budget, the Corsa A had become a bestseller by 1993 with a total of 3.1 million units sold.
The Crossland X was introduced in 2017 as a replacement to the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva. It offers more crossover styling but similar practicality as its predecessor, as the segment of small MPVs has been shrinking in Europe, while small crossovers and SUVs continue to gain popularity across the continent. The Crossland X is based on the same platform as the Citroën C3 Aircross, which will be launched later. In Opel’s line-up, the Crossland X will be positioned below the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X, but both compete in the same segment of small crossovers.
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.
I'm chalking this up as another car we never got in the States because of strange circumstances. And today, Buick sells some interesting Opels-badged-as-Buicks like the Regal GS (an Insignia) and the Verano (sort of an Astra sedan). They feel relatively German, which is an unusual thing for any product sold at a GM dealership here. I'm still waiting for that Astra GTC, which is kind of the Calibra of today. Something tells me that badging a hatchback so sleek and aggressive as a Buick might not work, though.
Other events which would powerfully affect Opel's future were taking place in 1948. In February and March, a GM study group came to Germany to investigate every aspect of Europe's economic situation and Opel's special problems. On their return, they submitted a report on 26 March recommending that General Motors resume control of Opel. On 5 April, however, GM's financial policy committee concluded, "in view of the many uncertainties surrounding the operation of this property, the Corporation is not justified in resuming the responsibility for its operation at this time..." GM, it seemed, did not want Opel.
When in 1942 it became clearer that the fighting would go on for a while, car and truck factories were switched to war work in a modest way, Opel taking up the production of aircraft parts and tanks. Only at the Brandenburg plant did truck manufacture roar ahead at full speed. From the end of 1938 onward, the big Opel Blitz trucks had been powered by the same basic 3.6 L engine used in the Opel Admiral. To meet the growing demands of wartime, 3 short tons (2.7 t) trucks of Opel design were built under license by Daimler-Benz at the former Benz factory at Mannheim.