What we have here, then, is a three-door, four-seat coupe, its wide-opening tailgate neatly disguised within the flowing lines down to the rear bumper. Launched in 1989, the Calibra was sold in the UK for the best part of 10 years, although it’s rare to see one now – especially anything as nice as this extremely low mileage example from Vauxhall’s heritage fleet.
The Calibra holds the title of having been the most aerodynamic car in the world at its 1990 launch, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26. With engines ranging in displacement from 1998 cc to 2498 cc, the car reigned supreme over other makes at the time. Its privileged position as the most aerodynamically efficient car would be held until the end of the 90's when the Calibra was overthrown by new Audi and Honda releases, the A2 and Insight respectively.
The 1.0 L and 1.2 L Ecotec Family 0 engines are carry overs from the Corsa B; the 1.4 L Family 1 engine was replaced with a new 1.4 L Family 0 model. The 1.8 L Family 1 engine is an upgrade for the previous 1.6 L 16 valve engine and produces 125 PS (92 kW) and 165 N⋅m (122 lb⋅ft) of torque. The edition with the 1.8 L engine was named Corsa GSi and was the predecessor of the new Corsa OPC.
Under the hood, the ROCKS shares the 1.0-liter, three cylinder gasoline engine (NEDC fuel consumption: urban 5.6-5.2 l/100 km, extra-urban 4.2-4.0 l/100 km, combined 4.7-4.4 l/100 km; 106-101 g/km CO2) of its KARL sibling The unit delivers 55 kW/75 hp and is paired to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard. Alternatively, KARL ROCKS buyers can choose the optional Easytronic® 3.0 gearbox. The five-speed automated transmission combines the comfort advantages of an automatic transmission with the efficiency of a manual gearbox. It automatically selects the appropriate gear for best possible fuel consumption, but is based on a manual transmission optimized for smaller engines which enables ultra-economical driving. The driver can take manual control of Easytronic 3.0 at any time by pulling or pushing the gear selector lever.
The Kadett’s role in facilitating that is a major piece of automotive history I’ve been wanting to tell for years, but finding a Kadett in this country has been impossible, despite Opel having dumped almost half a million on our shores. It took my son’s recent trip to the old country to find one, sitting on the street in Innsbruck, no less. Maybe folks back there have a greater appreciation for Kadetts and the role they played; Americans’ fling with the Kadett was a very fleeting one, and perhaps many would just as soon forget it. Not me.
^ 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).