A mark of General Motors' confidence in their plans for the small car sector, and something that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhall Viva had in common, was that the manufacturer built for each new model a completely new car plant in a region characterized by relatively high unemployment and the availability of a skilled workforce, but with no strong tradition of volume auto-making. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car built at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant while the Kadett A was the first product of Opel's new purpose built Bochum plant. Ellesmere Port and Bochum would effectively become sister plants, producing subsequent generations of Kadett as well as their Vauxhall badged sisters (the Chevette and Astra) for the next fifty years.
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 next step for Opel was the resumption of passenger car production. It might have seemed easiest to bring back the Kapitän first since its engine was already in production for the truck, but occupation regulations restricted German civilians to cars of 1.5 L or less, which made the Olympia the obvious candidate. Under Dr Ing e.h. Karl Stief, who had been chief engineer at Opel since 1934, useful changes were made to this tough little car. The Dubonnet front suspension was replaced by a conventional coil-and-wishbone layout and the steering was correspondingly rearranged.
Explore the design, performance and technology features of the 2019 Opel Karl. See models and pricing, as well as photos and videos. The 2019 Opel Karl Photo goes to excess the right kinds of excess to preserve its best-of status. Find out if the new 2019 Opel Karl coupe takes a step forward in our first-drive review. See photos and get the story at Car and Driver.
During the 1930s, the Rüsselsheim plant was never given a major role in Germany's war preparations. Neither was Ford's plant in Cologne considered trustworthy enough for a big assignment, such as tank manufacture, in view of their earlier foreign associations. Initially, of course, the war was thought to be a short one settled in Germany's favour. Auto plants were shut down, to conserve resources, but not converted to other jobs. As was common with much of the production in Nazi Germany during the war, slave labor of deported civilians and Soviet POWs was utilized in the Opel factories.
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.
The plucky Kadett B. I am still daily driving a 1100 sedan here in southern CA. Simple basic trouble free comfortable transportation. It does its job without fuss or pretentiousness. I am amazed at how well the engineers made a cheap car so useable without feeling as if you were in a penalty box. They just have a certain feel that I find appealing. *
Unlike the previous model, there was no saloon version for the European market, but one was designed in Brazil for the Latin American market, as saloons were much preferred to hatchbacks there. This was also introduced in South Africa and India. An estate car, panel van and pickup truck were also introduced, and a convertible version was produced for the Australian market, called the Holden Barina Cabrio.
A special limited volume Last Edition was created as a final chapter in the Calibra story. August 29, 1997 marked the official end of production. Fittingly, it was a black Last Edition with a 2.0-liter, four-valve engine which rolled off the assembly line as the final Calibra to be made. Today, Opel Classic enjoys showing this car at many Youngtimer events.
Opel has teased the arrival of its all-new supermini, the 2019 Corsa, with a single image on its social media. Captioned with "Revolutionary. Electrifying. Accessible!" on Twitter, the picture shows the car's headlight and... actually, it's just a headlight. The daytime-running light signature borrows heavily from the GT X Experimental concept, with its angular, inverted Nike 'Swoosh' design...
Looks-wise, we know from Chevrolet’s teaser photo that the Spark’s front end will differ from the Opel, but the two cars’ side surfacing and overall profile gives away the relation. We also expect the Chevrolet Spark to have a similar interior as the Opel Karl, which looks significantly more modern and upscale than the current Chevrolet Spark, at least in photos.
The basic trim level was called just the Corsa, which was followed by the Corsa Luxus, Corsa Berlina and the sporty Corsa SR. The SR receives a spoiler which surrounds the rear window, alloy wheels, checkered sport seats, and a somewhat more powerful 70 PS (51 kW) engine. Six years later, the Corsa received a facelift, which included a new front fascia and some other minor changes. The models were called LS, GL, GLS and GT.
Cars and truck production lines were lost by Opel. As reparations for war destruction, under plans of the Allied Forces, the Soviet Union asked the Allied military government for the tools, jigs, dies, fixtures, and drawings for the Kadett. This, they said, they would use to begin auto production at an Opel subsidiary in Russian-occupied Leipzig. The equipment was duly delivered to the Soviets in June 1946, and that was the last Opel was to see of it – but not of the Kadett.
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The Kadett D was introduced in the middle of August 1979, with deliveries on the home market beginning early in September 1979. In November 1979, the car went on sale in the United Kingdom, some five months before the Vauxhall Astra Mark 1, the British version, was launched in April 1980. The cars were designed as three- or five-door hatchbacks and estates or station wagons. There were also two- and four-door sedans featuring separate boots/trunks, which shared the silhouettes of the hatchbacks: in the United Kingdom, the sedan versions were soon withdrawn, until the 1986 launch of the MKII-based Belmont. For the first time since 1965 there was no coupé-bodied Kadett in the range: the previous Kadett C coupé was indirectly replaced by the three-door 1.3 SR sports model.
In 1957 Opel Product Director Karl Stief was mandated by General Motors headquarters in Detroit to develop "the perfect Anti-Volkswagen" ("einen perfekten Anti-VW"). The development team was headed up by Stief, supported by Hans Mersheimer (car-body) and Werner K. Strobel (engine and running gear), under conditions of such secrecy that even now very little is known of the development history of the 1962 Kadett. It has been alleged that GM was trying to conceal a new technique of platform and design sharing between Opel and its British sister company Vauxhall, which released the strikingly similar Viva HA in 1963, a year after Opel introduced the Kadett. Over the subsequent two decades Opel and Vauxhall's ranges would rapidly converge as Vauxhall's design independence from Opel was eroded to the point where by 1985, Vauxhall's car range entirely consisted of rebadged Opel models.
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.
^ Heinz Michaels (24 August 1962). "Opel bläst zum Angriff auf VW: Mit tausend "Kadetten" pro Tag – Ein neues Firmen jahrhundert, eine neue Fabrik, ein neuer Wagen: ....In der letzten Hauptversammlung hatte der Vorstand alle Versuche, die hausväterisch wieder angesammelten Reserven anzugreifen, gerade deshalb entschlossen abgewiesen. Mahnend sagte Prof. Nordhoff damals: "Hinter beiden Unternehmen (General Motors und Ford) steht eine Finanzkraft, der kein deutsches Unternehmen etwas auch nur annähernd Gleichwertiges entgegenzusetzen hat, und der Wille des Eindringens in den deutschen Markt um jeden Preis scheint vorhanden zu sein.""". ZEIT ONLINE. Retrieved 2013-05-12.