Launched in 1962, GM Europe's small car for the 1960s, the Opel Kadett, looked like a shrunk Chevy Nova, and hid a 1.0-liter water-cooled overhead-valve four-cylinder up its nose. While this motor had pre-War origins, it was a good one. It weighed just 211 lbs, revved beyond 6000 rpm, and made 54 horsepower in the high-compression 'S' version, as long as you used premium fuel.
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 Corsa E has been around since 2014 essentially as a more thorough facelift of the model before it and it won’t be until towards the end of the decade when the supermini is going to be overhauled. The development phase has not been what we would call smooth sailing considering the major corporate change. We’re obviously talking about PSA’s decision to buy Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors, which is going to have a direct impact on the new Corsa.
In the US, some 500 Buick dealers started carrying the Kadett in 1964, after their previous sole product, the larger Rekord, was knocked out of the ring by GM’s own 1960/1961 compacts. I strongly suspect the Buick dealers (and their ad agency) who hadn’t yet taken down their Opel signs were not really very committed or motivated, and all of 17k ’64s and 14k ’65 Kadett A were sold. Meanwhile, VW was moving some 400k Beetles in America.
For 1937 the Kadett was offered as a small and unpretentious two door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) or, at the same list price of 2,100 Marks, as a soft top "Cabrio-Limousine". The body resembled that of the existing larger Opel Olympia and its silhouette reflected the "streamlining" tendencies of the time. The 1,074cc side-valve engine came from the 1935 Opel P4 and came with the same listed maximum power output of 23 PS (17 kW; 23 hp) at 3,400 rpm.
Things are a little better up front, where we find driver and passenger seats approved by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken, or German Bad Back Association. They are truly, properly comfortable, and even long journeys fail to induce numb-bum, nor thigh-tremble. It does go a bit downhill from there though. The fascia and instrument panel are pulled, more or less directly, from the Corsa hatch, which means everything’s reasonably well made, but a bit dour and glum in appearance. That contrasts sharply to the quirkier, more welcoming interiors of the Crossland’s French cousins. There are good things – the seven-inch IntelliLink touchscreen is clear and good to use, albeit it has a slightly messy menu system, but the main dials look drab, and items such as the column stalks actually feel quite fragile and cheap.
The 5-door Corsa was essentially the same car as the 3-door version with little differences to tell the two apart, except the extra set of doors, of course. Powered by an almost identical range of engines, the 5-door Corsas had a large wheelbase which lead to a trunk volume increase from 9.2 (for the 3-door) to 10 cubic feet. The GSi was not a level equipment to be found among the engine-milder ...
My Familys first car in the US was a used 1959 Opel Rekord – I dont remember that one much but when I was 4 we got a powder blue Kadett Wagon – My mother a Berliner loved Opels – 1978-79 my Sister inherited the car as her first car and then I got it as a hand me down again in 1981 – when I first got it it had never been driven over 50 MPH so I was a bit of a shock to the poor car – but even back then it got amazing gas mileage. That is until we took it to a mechanic for a tune up and he had apparently wasn’t good with european makes – he went to adjust the carburetor and some spring loaded valve shot out and we couldnt find parts anywhere by that time. gas mileage dropped massively and running poorly the car died while crossing on the side of a field on a farm. The family there adopted it as a bit of a fort – clubhouse for a few years as we chose to buy another car when I graduated – I miss the simplicity of the car – of course I remember it fondly by I’m betting the reality of it would be a shock!
The outdoor character created by the exterior design continues on the inside of the car with front door sill plates and the high gloss frame for the infotainment system The optional Radio R 4.0 IntelliLink system brings the world of smartphones to the KARL ROCKS via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. As of this summer, buyers in search of an integrated navigation system can order the urban rocker with the Navi 4.0 IntelliLink system. The connectivity offering of the KARL ROCKS is rounded off by the availability of the Opel OnStar personal connectivity and service assistant including the new Personal Assistant service. It allows OnStar subscribers to book hotel rooms and search for suitable parking spots via an OnStar Advisor.
While the Ipanema clearly succeeded the Marajó, production of the Chevette (by now in sedan form only, the hatchback having been discontinued after the 1987 model year) and of the Kadett noticeably overlapped; the newer model was placed above the old one in Chevrolet's lineup. While Chevrolet entertained the possibility of a pick-up version of the Kadett E, it never materialized.
The Corsa A was rebadged as the "Vauxhall Nova" between 1983 to 1993 for the United Kingdom. It replaced the ageing Vauxhall Chevette. All Nova models were manufactured in Spain, with the first customers in the United Kingdom taking delivery of their cars in April 1983. It gave Vauxhall a much needed modern competitor in the supermini market in the United Kingdom, as the Chevette was older than the majority of its main competitors which consisted of the Ford Fiesta and the Austin Metro.
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.
If compact fuel-efficiency is what you're looking for in your new or pre-owned Opel, the Crossland X will be right up your alley. Dynamic and versatile to the core, it's sharp lines may look deliciously imposing, but it also offers the added benefit of improving overall aerodynamics, which brings down that fuel bill considerably. Throw in some low rolling-resistance tyres and you'll see why the Crossland X is being touted as one of South Africa's most efficient SUVs.
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