Opel premiered the sleek Calibra at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 1989. It was an extremely progressive concept way ahead of its time, with the world-best drag coefficient (Cd 0.26) of all series production cars – same as third generation Toyota Prius (2009-2015). It remained the most aerodynamic mass production car for the next ten years until the Honda Insight and the Audi A2 were launched both in 1999, with a Cd of 0.25. Till these days Calibra’s Cd of 0.26 is among TOP-20 of all production cars.
The Calibra, styled by the American head of GM design Europe, Wayne Cherry (retired), is considered by some the most stylish Vauxhall/Opel ever, but being based on the Vectra chassis its ride and handling were not significantly better than that of the family car from which it grew. It was, however, the most aerodynamically efficient Opel everwith a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.26. It remained the most aerodynamic mass production car for the next 10 years, until the Honda Insight was launched in 1999 with a Cd of 0.25.
The other reason for the B’s success had to do with GM: once again, after having failed to slow down the VW’s ascent with their 1960-1961 compacts, they were forced to take the small car market seriously. That led eventually to the Vega in 1971, but in the shorter term, it meant marketing the Opel as something other than with which to remodel the garage. Now the Kadett family, which included a new fastback coupe, sedans and wagon, was seen in front of the typical American garage: two Opels for the price of one Buick.
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.
The Kadett E (Vauxhall Astra Mark 2 in the UK) wis introduced in 1984, an wis votit 1985 European Caur o the Year, lairgely due tae its advanced aerodynamic body stylin. The 1984 model wis an aa developt intae a mair conventional three-box design wi a buit (trunk), badged as the Vauxhall Belmont in the UK an the Opel Monza in Sooth Africae, launcht in Januar 1986. This wis awardit 1985 Semperit Erse Caur o the Year in Ireland.
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.
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.
Unfortunately, Opel’s first victory in the DTM turned out to be as much of a fluke as the podium at Hockenheim. The Calibra’s fell behind once more, and resorted to occupying the lower end of the top 10. The airfield circuit at Diepholz, a third visit to the Nurburgring and the high-speed section of autobahn known as the AVUS-ring were all without meaningful results.
The Opel Performance Center in 2011 launched a hardcore version of the Corsa OPC – Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition. The engine is the same, 1.6 litre turbo, but it has been tuned to punch out 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp) and 250 Nm (280 Nm with overboost function) of torque at 2,250 to 5,850 rpm. 0–100 km/h time is 6.8 seconds and top speed is 230 km/h (143 mph).
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. *
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.
^ 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).