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.
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The Kadett C appeared in August 1973 and was Opel's version of the General Motors' "T-Car". It was the last small Opel to feature rear-wheel drive, and remained in production at Opel's Bochum plant until July 1979, by which time Opel had produced 1,701,076. Of these, 52% had been exported outside West Germany, most of them to markets in other parts of western Europe.
Still, a number of Kadetts has been captured as trophies by the Red Army and available for study and reverse-engineering. This project was conducted by design bureaus formed as Soviet-German joint ventures under the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD). There were 11 of them in total. One in Berlin (reverse-engineered the engine and transmission. Another in Schwarzenberg worked on the steel body. The wooden-bodied station wagon was developed in Chemnitz. The vast majority of the personnel of these design bureaus were German specialists and craftsmen hired by the Military Administration. These design bureaus not only prepared the necessary blueprints and documentation, but also provided the wooden master model for the body. They even developed the new trim pieces which distinguished the Moskvitch from its Opel prototype, including hood emblems and hubcaps with a large "M" (for "Moskvitch"). However, the stamping dies and most of the tooling had to be produced in the USSR.
In July 1990, after General Motors bought a stake in Saab, it was reported the Calibra would be badged as a Saab in the United States, but these plans did not materialise. There were also plans for a cabriolet version to be produced, but these too failed to materialise, although Valmet Automotive built two fully working, red coloured prototypes in 1992, with the 2.0 litre, 8 valve engine.
To keep sales brisk, Opel facelifted the car in 1994 with the 2.0-litre engine getting more efficient but less powerful. There were various minor changes to help improve the Calibra without alienating existing customers. Most notable were improvements to safety, which included the introduction of a full-sized driver's side airbag. Exterior styling, perhaps the car's single greatest strength, was almost completely unaltered. The only way to tell a post-facelift car is the Opel badge is tucked into the middle of the grille, while early cars have it nailed to the bonnet.
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Erede della Agila, la Opel Karl è una citycar personale e moderna, proposta in Italia solamente in versione Rocks, con stile da crossover. Abbina una carrozzeria davvero compatta (368 cm di lunghezza) a un’abitabilità fra le migliori della categoria: agevolmente accessibile grazie alle cinque porte (l’angolo di apertura è ampio anche nel caso di quelle posteriori), fa viaggiare comodi sia davanti sia dietro. Lo spazio concesso a chi siede sul divano è stato, però, sottratto al bagagliaio, capace di soli 206 litri ed espandibile a 1013 abbassando lo schienale (che, però, non rimane perfettamente in piano). Per una vettura di questa categoria le finiture sono soddisfacenti, come d’altronde la cura dei dettagli: per esempio, il cruscotto comprende il contagiri; disponibile come optional anche il sistema multimediale IntelliLink con touch screen di 7”, radio digitale, connessione allo smartphone e chiamata automatica dei soccorsi in caso di necessità. Scelta obbligata per il motore, un 1.0 a benzina abbinato a un cambio manuale a cinque marce, ben manovrabile finché non si pretende di utilizzarlo sportivamente. Vivace a sufficienza e parco nei consumi, a dispetto del frazionamento a tre cilindri vibra e si fa sentire poco: caratteristiche che garantiscono un discreto comfort (anche se le sospensioni non sono molto morbide). Adeguata la dotazione di sicurezza della Opel Karl, comprensiva di airbag laterali e per la testa di serie.
In September 1995, the Vectra A was replaced, but Calibra production continued until June 1997. Although a smaller coupé (the Tigra) was available, the marque was left without a mid sized coupé until the Astra Coupé was launched in 2000, and with the introduction of the Opel Speedster in 2000, three years after the Calibra was discontinued, Opel finally offered a sports car again.
In addition, the engine used had to be at least loosely based on a production block. Other than this, all bets were off. Sequential shift gearboxes, four wheel drive, traction control, electronic differentials and anti-lock brakes were all allowed. The aerodynamics package was free as well, as long as they were kept below the centerline of the wheels.
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.
Quite a few of these were sold in Canada in the 1960’s as they were cheap, along with other associated dreck like the Viva. They were famously for skinflints, the kinds of dads who boasted how cheap he got everything. The problem in places like Ottawa was the cars couldn’t handle the frigid winters and moonscape roads. They were very light and Canadian winters pounded them to dust in a few years.
The decklid badge says it's an automatic, but there's a four-speed manual inside. Was it a decklid or transmission swap? Either way, these cars were very, very cheap; the MSRP on a 1967 Kadett two-door sedan was $1,657 (about $12,500 in 2018 dollars), which compared favorably to the $1,639 Volkswagen Beetle that year. The Kadett had 54 hp to the Beetle's 53 (and weighed 93 fewer pounds than the Volks, to boot), so it was a bit quicker. On top of that, it had a heater that worked, plus a design dated a lot later than the late 1930s. Of course, most American car buyers looking for something economical preferred stripped-down versions of "traditional" American cars, e.g., the Chevy II ($2,090), the AMC Rambler American 220 ($2,073) the Ford Falcon ($2,118), or the Plymouth Valiant ($2,017). The Corvair two-door was $2,128 that year, too, and let's not forget the $1,790 Toyota Corona sedan.
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.
The GSi's engine mapping had been carried out by Opel tuning specialists Irmscher. A model with the 82 PS (60 kW) 1.4 L multi point fuel injected engine, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi, also became available as the Nova SRi in the United Kingdom. In January 1988, a turbocharged version of the Isuzu diesel engine was introduced, with power increased to 67 PS (49 kW).