Not only was the body a bit bigger, but the Kadett B also had a slightly enlarged 1100 cc engine. This was externally a very compact motor indeed, and looked rather lost in the Kadett’s Kavernous engine bay. Power output increased correspondingly; there were 45 and 55 DIN hp (high compression) versions for Europe; the weaker on was sent stateside with a 54 (gross) hp rating.
This range of engines was also used for later models of the Corsa/Nova, and the mid-sized Cavalier/Ascona. From May 1981, the 1.3 was also available with a three-speed automatic. The automatic was made available to the diesel in September 1982. One interesting version which first appeared in mid-1982 was the Kadett Pirsch, (for deer stalking, a stealthy form of hunting). In non-German-speaking countries it was generally marketed as the Kadett Off Road. This was a station wagon with rustic trim, fitted with a differential brake, reinforced suspension and more suitable tires, increased ground clearance, a skid plate, and shortened front fenders. In Sweden, a special postal Kadett ("Opel Kadett Post") was offered, fitted with a high roof (necessitating a unique and much taller windshield) and a sliding right-hand door, RHD, and the automatic transmission. This version was converted by Karosseriefabrik Voll (in German) in Würzburg, Germany. Voll also made a postal version of the Kadett E.
Opel had been Germany's largest auto-producer in the 1930s, and in Wolfsburg the producers of the Kadett's principal target did not disguise their concern at the prospect of Opel's return to small car production. At the Volkswagen annual general meeting a few months before the launch of the Kadett, Volkswagen chairman Heinrich Nordhoff (who himself had been a senior manager with Opel in the 1930s and 1940s) went on record with a warning to shareholders that Opel (along with Ford Germany) were backed by a level of financial muscle on a scale unimaginable to any German company, and that it seemed that the two American transplants were now determined to use their financial strength to make aggressive inroads into the German auto-market at any price.
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.
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.
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.