The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.
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.
Joseph DeBattista and his son, Joey, acquired this Lapis Blue wonder after trading a Volkswagen. Owing to its rarity, they had to be creative with the restoration. While Joey was hunting for parts on eBay, his father bent metal to perfection, slowly completing a car that will always remain an underdog, a nice conversation starter, and a fail-proof daily driver. Just ask Richard Hammond, if you need more proof.
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.
On the British motoring show Top Gear, Richard Hammond drove a 1963 Kadett A through the middle of Botswana and across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan. He loved the car so much that he named it Oliver and later had the car shipped to the United Kingdom and restored, and it remains in his possession. It appeared on Richard Hammond's Blast Lab with the personalised number plate 'OL1 V3R'. It also appeared in the Top Gear lorry challenge as one of the used obstacles.
The Buick Regal is a rebadged Opel Insignia. The main differences are the modified radiator grill and the altered colour of the passenger compartment illumination (blue instead of red). The Regal GS is comparable to the Insignia OPC. It was first assembled alongside the Insignia at the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim. Since the first quarter of 2011, it is now being built on the flexible assembly line at the GM plant in Oshawa, Canada.
The base car was available only as a two-door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon). Customers looking for a soft-top "Cabrio-limousine" would need to specify a "Kadett Spezial". For the first time Kadett buyers, provided they were prepared to choose a "Kadett Spezial" could also specify a four-door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) bodied car, priced at 2,350 Marks as against 2,150 Marks for a "Spezial Cabrio-Limousine" and 2,100 Marks for a two-door "Spezial Limousine".
Depending on fuel price relations in particular markets, the factory-converted Karl should pay back the price premium over its conventionally motivated sibling after covering some 50-60 thousand km. That's not exactly little for a city car, but still the LPGTEC version should be interesting to those who would normally go looking for a diesel. Hopefully we'll be able to tell you more about this latest offering from Opel when we put it through its paces in a test!
My brother’s best friend’s family traded in the “kids’ car”, a much abused ’55 Chevy six two door on a new ’67 Kadett B, like this one, and every bit a stripper like the Chevy 150 had been. Geoffrey was a capable driver, and some of my more memorable mind-expanding experiences in the year 1967 – 1969 came about thanks to their willingness to let younger brother tag along. That often involved sitting in the back seat of the Kadett, hanging on for dear life as every effort to catch air on the winding back roads was exploited. Perpetual caning was SOP, and I have doubts whether their Kadett lasted as long as the old ’55 Chevy six. My father’s Kadett A needed a valve job at 40k, probably precipitated by my brother’s similar abuse. He traded it in on a ’68 Dart; that tells you all you need to know.
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.
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.
The Kadett C was introduced in Brazil as the Chevrolet Chevette. The three-door station wagon was called the Chevrolet Marajó, and a pick-up was named Chevy 500. Brazilian production commenced in 1973, with the Marajó being added in 1980 and the Chevy 500 in 1983, shortly after a significant facelift affected the entire line. Brazilian cars had engines in various combinations of size - 1.0 (1992-1993), 1.4 (1973-1982), or 1.6 (1982-1995) liters - and fuels (gasoline or ethanol), though not all combinations were available for all body configurations. The last Marajó was built in 1989, the last Chevette in 1993, and the last Chevy 500 in 1995.
During its lifetime, the Calibra was much more popular in Europe, and outsold its nearest rival, the Ford Probe, which was considered to be underpowered, and very American for most European drivers. However, in the United Kingdom, it failed to outsell the Rover 200 Coupé, which offered comparable performance, but without 4WD in the top of the range models.
Furthermore, the front end was completely stripped of any superfluous sheet metal, and was clad in a composite one-piece clamshell to reduce weight and increase rigidity. The changes were complemented by lighter multi-spoke BBS wheels, and an evolved aerodynamics package, which further distanced the car from the production model. Meanwhile, Cosworth managed to extract some more revs (up to 12,800) to fire 457 horsepower at all four wheels.
On 29 February 2012, Opel announced the creation of a major alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen resulting in GM taking a 7% share of PSA, becoming PSA's second-largest shareholder after the Peugeot family. The alliance was intended to enable $2 billion per year of cost savings through platform sharing, common purchasing, and other economies of scale. In December 2013, GM sold its 7% interest in PSA for £250 million, after plans of cost savings were not as successful. Opel was said to be among Europe's most aggressive discounters in mass-market. GM reported a 2016 loss of US$257 million from its European operations. It is reported that GM has lost about US$20 billion in Europe since 1999.
Opel and Vauxhall have previewed the next-generation Corsa hatchback with an official set of images showing a camouflaged prototype being put through its paces. Set to debut sometime later in 2019, the fifth-gen Corsa is set to move to the PSA Group's 'CMP' modular platform for compact vehicles, which already underpins the new DS 3 Crossback and Peugeot 208...
In March 2017, Groupe PSA agreed to buy Opel, its British sister brand Vauxhall and their European auto lending business from General Motors for US$2.2 billion. In return, General Motors will pay PSA US$3.2 billion for future European pension obligations and keep managing US$9.8 billion worth of plans for existing retirees. Furthermore, GM is responsible for paying about US$400 million annually for 15 years to fund the existing Great Britain and Germany pension plans.