My parents got a ’66 Wagon in December, 1965, just after the ’57 Beetle they had owned ground its engine to bits on the way to my grandmother’s house in ‘DC. I still remember the chemical smell of the upholstery, those black rocker switches on the left side of the dash with little diagrams in lieu of English, and the twin plastic bulges in the “way back” for the fuel tank and spare tire. The clutch pedal fell apart the first year, and I remember it being an ongoing battle getting it to start in wet weather; GM sold (thanks for nothing!) some kit that was supposed to fix the problem, but it never really went away. The rest of the clutch also eventually fell apart, though I’m not sure if that was Opel’s fault or that of the last person to service it. My father got $50 for it just before he took delivery of a fuel-injected VW Type 3 “Squareback” in 1969; a much better car for only a little more money. There seem to be plenty of references to Kadettes loosing parts in these comments, so I can’t help but assume that they weren’t screwed together all that well. But I also suspect that with more diligent customer support from GM and Buick, these problems would have stayed fixed longer, some of the chronic problems of this car (like starting in North-American weather) would have been worked out and they would have stayed on the road longer. Such support was probably more than what anyone could expect from a Buick dealer used to selling twice the car at twice the price.
As an Opel, it could've been a great rival for the Ford Probe, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Celica and all of the handsome sport coupes that popped up in the early '90s. You could get a Calibra with an all-wheel drive system, or a turbocharged engine (not from Saab), or a 2.5-liter V6 (shared with Saab). It had a hatchback for practicality. Versions with big wheels look rather handsome, too. Had it been priced like a Saab, though, it would've attracted too many comparisons with the E30 and E36 coupes from BMW at the time, and that probably wouldn't have ended well.
Being at the core of Opel’s design philosophy, sculptural design with a clear sense of precision also plays a major part in the interior design. Instrument panel and center stack are clearly structured and horizontally aligned to the driver. As the driver control center, the cockpit enhances the active driving feeling. An extensive engine portfolio ranging from gasoline to diesel and LPG that can be mated to manual and automatic transmissions is available to ensure good driving performance.
*Fuel economy values are determined through CO2 measurement in accordance with the latest ECE R101/SANS 20101 standards, as prescribed by South African government, conducted in a controlled environment and were correct at the time this disclaimer was published, which is subject to change. The specifications are for comparison purposes between the different vehicle models available in the S.A market which are all tested in the same manner, specific driving cycles and controlled environment.
Opel premiered the sleek Calibra at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 1989. It was an extremely progressive concept way ahead of its time, with the world-best drag coefficient (Cd 0.26) of all series production cars – same as third generation Toyota Prius (2009-2015). It remained the most aerodynamic mass production car for the next ten years until the Honda Insight and the Audi A2 were launched both in 1999, with a Cd of 0.25. Till these days Calibra’s Cd of 0.26 is among TOP-20 of all production cars.
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.
GM imported the Opel Kadett B, built at the recently closed plant in Bochum, Germany, into North America starting in 1966. American and Canadian car buyers weren't especially enthusiastic about these cheap little cars, but sufficient quantities were sold that they were fairly easy to find in American wrecking yards through the 1980s. Here's a '67 in a Denver-area self-service yard that managed to outlive most of its contemporaries.
From 1986 to 2003, Opel models were produced by Delta Motor Corporation, a company created through a management buyout following of GM's divestment from apartheid South Africa. Delta assembled the Opel Kadett, with the sedan version called the Opel Monza. This was replaced by the Opel Astra, although the Kadett name was retained for the hatchback and considered a separate model. A version of the Rekord Series E remained in production after the model had been replaced by the Omega in Europe, as was a Commodore model unique to South Africa, combining the bodyshell of the Rekord with the front end of the revised Senator. The Opel Corsa was introduced in 1996, with kits of the Brazilian-designed sedan and pick-up (known in South African English as a bakkie) being locally assembled.
^ 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).