Although GM's passenger vehicle line-up in South Africa consisted of Opel-based models by the late 1970s, these were sold under the Chevrolet brand name, with only the Kadett being marketed as an Opel when it was released in 1980. In 1982, the Chevrolet brand name was dropped, with the Ascona, Rekord, Commodore, and Senator being rebadged as Opels.
The facelifted 2004 model was also imported, however, in December 2005, the Corsa C was dropped from the Australian and New Zealand Holden ranges as a cost cutting measure by GM, and was replaced by the Daewoo Kalos, rebadged as a Holden Barina. Motoring journalists were scathing in their criticism of the new model, particularly the bland handling, lackluster engine and below par safety features. The Kalos-based Barina was subsequently replaced with a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Sonic.
Changes in the Opel cars under GM's management did not appear until January 1950, when a face-lifted Olympia was introduced. Front and rear fenders were elongated and a heavy horizontal chrome grille was added. A retrograde step was the replacement of the four-speed gearbox with a three-speed unit, with a column shift lever. Engine tuning emphasised high torque at low engine speeds so the extra ratio was not too sorely missed. The cabrio-coach model was returned to the Olympia range and a kombi was also offered, built by Karosserie Miesen. In February 1951, in preparation for the first postwar automobile show in Germany, the Olympia was dressed up further with a trunk compartment that enclosed the spare tire and 15-inch (38 cm) wheels instead of 16-inch (41 cm) wheels and tires. With minor further changes, this model lasted to March 1953.
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.
Flot Og Velholdt Opel Karl 1.0 Enjoy - Airc., Fjernb. C.Lås, Fartpilot, Kørecomputer, Infocenter, Startspærre, Sædevarme, Højdejust. Forsæde, El-Ruder, El-Spejle M/Varme, Automatisk Start/Stop, Cd/Radio, Multifunktionsrat, Håndfrit Til Mobil, Bluetooth, Isofix, Bagagerumsdækken, Kopholder, Stofindtræk, Splitbagsæde, Læderrat, 6 Airbags, Abs, Antispin, Esp, Hvide Blink, Ikke Ryger, Service Ok
Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and Charles Erwin Wilson ("Engine Charlie" Wilson), GM's president, were considering the options. Later in April, Sloan sought to resolve the differences of opinion with a position paper that he hoped would set up conditions for resuming control of Opel that would put at rest the doubts of GM's more conservative financial minds.
The Kadett B came in 1966 an endit in 1973, wi twa an fower door saloons (the latter in notchback an, frae 1967, an aa in fastback form), a three-door estate, an twa coupés (regular an fastback, or Coupé F). Thare wis a sportin Opel Kadett Rallye, wi a 1.9 L ingine. Additionally, the twa-seat Opel GT wis hivily based on Kadett B components, its body made bi a French contractor, Brissonneau & Lotz. Generally, the Kadett B wis significantly lairger than the Kadett A.
But that all began to change quickly in the fall of 1965, when the new Kadett B appeared on both sides of the Atlantic. This ad trumpets the Kadett’s doubling of sales in 1966, and taking the number two import spot. That still left a pretty big gap behind VW, but in the next three or four years, the Kadett did enjoy a very profound explosion in the US. There were two main factors: the B was a bit bigger in every dimension, making it a somewhat more palatable for Americans, although it still used the A’s rather archaic transverse leaf-spring front suspension and a torque tube in the back with leaf springs.
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My dad bought a Kadett when we became a two-car family in the 60’s (Mom got the Rambler Rebel, and then a 72 Impala). It lasted until ’77, when we used the Impala to help push it down the highway and into the Olds dealership where they were having a “We’ll give you $1000 for whatever you can drive onto the lot” trade in sale. (Sadly, we got an awful 77 Cutlas Supreme). I got some of my early driving lessons (in the neighborhood) in that Opel – shifting gears from the passenger seat, or sometimes riding on my Dads lap and steering.
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.