With 2019 fast approaching, it is time to start feeling very old. The Opel Calibra, that rakish and oh-so fashionable coupe beloved by high-flying businessmen and boy racers alike, is 30 years old in 2019. That's right, the Calibra is now officially a classic. On paper there was nothing to single the Calibra out for greatness. It followed the standard coupe formula. Take a humdrum saloon, in this case the Vectra, smother it in a sleek body courtesy of famed GM designer Wayne Cherry, give it a sexy new name and voila. The Calibra was launched on June 10, 1989, and waded into battle against Toyota's evergreen Celica and Nissan's recently launched 200SX.
The new Kadett follaed the innovative Opel Olympia in adoptin a chassis-less monocoque construction, suggestin that lik the Vauxhall 10 introduced in 1937 bi Opel's Inglis sister-company, the Opel Kadett wis designed for hie volume law cost production. Competitive pricin led tae commercial success, an Kadetts continued tae be produced durin the early months o the war: bi the time production wis interruptit in 1940 follaein intensification o hostilities, 107,608 o thir Opel Kadetts haed come aff the assembly line at Opel's Rüsselsheim plant, which haed been the first major caur plant in Germany tae apply the assembly-line production techniques pioneered bi Henry Ford.
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.
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.
The Kadett featured a more modern design than the Volkswagen Beetle that then dominated the market for small family cars in West Germany and various surrounding countries. The Kadett offered more passenger space, more luggage capacity, and better visibility for the driver. Its water-cooled engine provided effective heating for the passenger compartment. However, by the mid-1970s the Kadett's weakness was already apparent as the car's bodywork was not well protected from corrosion.
The company was founded in Rüsselsheim, Hesse, Germany, on 21 January 1862, by Adam Opel. In the beginning, Opel produced sewing machines. In 1888, production was relocated from a cowshed to a more spacious building in Rüsselsheim. Opel launched a new product in 1886: he began to sell high-wheel bicycles, also known as penny-farthings. Opel's two sons participated in high-wheel bicycle races, thus promoting this means of transportation. The production of high-wheel bicycles soon exceeded the production of sewing machines. At the time of Opel's death in 1895, he was the leader in both markets.
The new four-cylinder, oversquare one-litre water-cooled Opel OHV engine weighed only 96 kg and was the first all-new engine developed by Opel since before the war. The side-mounted camshaft was driven not through gear-cogs but using a single chain with a hydraulic tensioner, the valve train employing rocker-arms and light-weight hollow rods. The arrangement was low on weight and on friction, permitting engine speeds above 6,000 rpm. The pistons were formed from an aluminium-alloy and incorporated a bimetal expansion strip to ensure uniform thermal expansion. The three-bearing forged crankshaft was of more traditional construction. The carefully designed aluminium inlet manifold provided for efficient feed of the fuel-mixture to the cylinders and helped provide the engine with good fuel economy characteristics.
By the 1970s, Opel had emerged as the stronger of GM's two European brands; Vauxhall was the third-best selling brand in Great Britain after the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland) but made only a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside of each other's respective home markets, but mirroring Ford's decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall had loosely collaborated before, but serious efforts to merge the two companies' operations and product families into one did not start until the 1970s - which had Vauxhall's complete product line replaced by vehicles built on Opel-based platforms - the only exception to the rule being the Bedford CF panel van, the only solely Vauxhall design which was marketed as an Opel on the Continent. By the turn of the 1980s, the two brands were in effect, one and the same.
^ 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).