I join in the question: “Where did they all go?” These were pretty common in the upper midwest (as imports went) in the late 60s-mid 70s. I knew a Lutheran minister who owned one (maybe a 69 or so?) in the mid 70s, and got to ride in it once. He seemed pretty proud of the fact that he had put about 80K on it and it seemed to be running strongly. Although it was starting to look a little worn, it seemed to hold up a lot better than my Scoutmaster’s 69 Cortina.
While critics raved about the Calibra's looks and performance, they were less keen on the interior which, despite sporty looking seats and some nice detailing, used a dash lifted straight from the Vectra. The Vectra also donated most of its chassis, which led to some less than flattering road tests at the time. The critics were especially harsh about the gearchange, vague steering and low-speed ride quality, although praise was heaped on the car for overall refinement, keen prices, practicality and performance.
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Last week when I was looking at 90s coupes, I came across one that Americans never had the chance to get – the Opel Calibra. A successor to the Opel Manta that Americans once got through Buick dealerships, I began to realize it was a shame we never got to have this. Weirder, considering it shares a lot of underneath pieces with the second-generation Saab 900.
Feature described and images shown may feature optional equipment not included in the standard vehicle. The information contained was accurate at the time of publishing. We reserve the right to make changes to the design and equipment fitted. The colours shown are approximate only. Optional equipment shown is available at extra charge. Availability, technical features and equipment on our vehicles can vary or may only be available in certain countries or may be available at extra cost only. For precise information on the equipment provided on our vehicles, please contact your local Opel dealer.
The Opel Corsa is a supermini car[1][2][3] engineered and produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel since 1982. It has been sold under a variety of other brands (most notably Vauxhall, Chevrolet, and Holden) and also spawned various derivatives in different markets. Its current fifth generation is built in Spain and in Germany. However, despite its global presence, it has never been sold in the United States or Canada.

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.


This time it was from simply wearing them out, but my 18 year old mother had no idea that tires were something you had to replace. “You don’t have to replace the doors or the wheels or the windshield, why would you have to replace the tires, it’s just part of the car,” she had reasoned. She’s a whip-smart lady but somehow had missed that one. Her father had hilariously taught her how to change a tire (by making her figure it out on the street downtown while everyone they knew drove by and offered to help, as he turned them away one by one while the 5’2″, 90 lb teenager did it herself) but I guess kids think they know everything.
In 1994 a 167 hp 2.5 L V6 was introduced, thus creating what many considered to be the finest Calibra to date. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, the V6 wasn’t as fast as the Turbo, but was rather more civilised, and proved to be more reliable than the complex four-wheel drive model with its notorious transfer box issues. 1995 saw the introduction of the the X20XEV Ecotec engine, a cheaper, less reliable derivative of the classic X20XE 16-valve or "red top" engine. This marked a reduction in power from 156 bhp to 136 bhp for the 16-valve version, although the Turbo continued with the C20LET.
The way it nearly came to the US is interesting, though. Back then, GM North America was a very different place than GM Europe, and it looked like there was very little interest in bridging the gap, unlike today. But after GM bought a 50% stake in the Trollhattan trolls, the General was now burdened with the problem of attracting more than devotees to an aging lineup at dealerships. The solution was to sell the Calibra to Americans through Saab dealerships, but badged as a Saab.
The Insignia flagship followed exactly the same initiative as the Astra. Once again the Opel engineers’ main objective was efficiency. Thanks to optimized packaging and lightweight materials they could save up to 175kg on the Insignia Grand Sport compared with its predecessor – much to the benefit of dynamics and fuel consumption. Depending on powertrain and equipment, the current Insignia Sports Tourer even weighs up to 200kg less than the similar model variant from the first generation.
*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.
The remains of Ackerman Buick in beautiful Ferguson MO were finally bulldozed recently…I think they sold Hyundai or Kia out of that building most recently. I can’t say that I’ve seen an Opel of any description, in the flesh, in several decades, with the exception of an occasional Opel GT. I was a car freak as a kid, and I’m not convinced that I’ve ever seen any of the ones featured in this post…
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.
^ 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).
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