Just at war's end, a small skeleton crew began clearing the rubble from the plant. By May 1945, this work had advanced enough to allow the beginning of production of desperately needed Opel parts. Getting the materials for them was more dependent on barter and black markets than it was on normal sources of supply, which had all but ceased to exist.
The case of the Saab Calibra is one I'm glad didn't pan out, but I wish the car had made it here somehow. Even weirder than this was a plan to sell the Opel Senator through Porsche dealers in the late '80s, after GM's dealers were uninterested because their lots were full of Park Avenues and didn't need another luxo-barge competing. Strange, too, since the company was willing to sell that car as an Opel until the cost of importing became too strong. That likely killed the math for sending the Calibra here, too.
This new category, Group A, featured very stringent homologation requirements. In order to qualify for competition, the competing model needed to be produced at least 25,000 times. Furthermore, the FIA required ten percent of these cars to be a specialty model, with another 500 allowed as “Evolution” models. If the 25,000 car limit had not yet been met, the new model had to attain a production number of at least 5000 units a year.
Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and Charles Erwin Wilson ("Engine Charlie" Wilson), GM's president, were considering the options. Later in April, Sloan sought to resolve the differences of opinion with a position paper that he hoped would set up conditions for resuming control of Opel that would put at rest the doubts of GM's more conservative financial minds.
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Taking a good long year to plan their assault on Alfa Romeo, the company enlisted the best names in the business in the hope of quickly conquering what was steadily becoming the world’s most prestigious touring car series. Unfortunately Joest Racing and Cosworth could only do so much. Even with the immense talent of three very determined drivers, the first iterations of the Calibra just didn’t cut it. A lucky win and two random podiums was all it could muster.
SRi models get sport style seats and distinctive 16in alloy wheels, while those opting for the SRi VX-Line models get 17in alloys, sports suspension and an aggressive bodykit thrown into the package. The special edition models consists of the Limited, Red and Black Edition Corsas. Limited Edition models get Vauxhall's OnStar concierge and emergency portal, sports seats, air conditioning, chrome exhaust, sports suspension, 17in alloy wheels and front foglights included in the package, while the Red and Black Edition gets a red or black paint job, 17in diamond-cut alloy wheels and are the only Corsas fitted with the 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine.
The Crossland X is actually built on an updated version of the Peugeot 2008’s underpinnings and has Peugeot-Citroen-DS engines. It’s a joint-venture with the French company, and the other half of that venture is the Citroen C3 Aircross, due a month or two later. The C3 Aircross, just like the Crossland X, is a pseudo-crossover designed to replace an MPV – in that case the C3 Picasso.
The Opel Karl is powered by a new 1.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec three-cylinder making 74 hp, a bit less than the outgoing Chevrolet Spark’s 84 hp from a 1.2-liter four-cylinder. The three-cylinder engine is part of GM’s new global, small-displacement Ecotec engine family, so it’s possible that Chevrolet may offer a slightly larger turbocharged engine for the Spark in the U.S. The European-market Opel is also available only with a five-speed manual, while the Spark will almost surely be offered with an automatic transmission option.
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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.
The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.