Depending on the model version, the Corsa is as suited to singles and couples as to whole families. So it comes as no surprise that more than 13.5 million units have been produced since 1982. “The Corsa remains one of our most important models across Europe”, says Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. The bestseller therefore plays a leading role in this anniversary year. “Opel has been democratising mobility for 120 years”, added Duchemin. “In our cars we make pioneering technology and comfort features affordable for all. This is what we stand for and the best example of this is the Corsa! Our anniversary model line-up has the right car for everyone – with extensive equipment and at best prices.”
Unfortunately, Audi took things a step too far in 1990, when it unleashed an unlikely super weapon. A massive 4.8 meter limousine powered by a V8 created from two Golf GTi 16V engines: the V8 quattro DTM. Helped by 450-500 horsepower and quattro four wheel drive traction, the huge brute took the 1990 and 1991 championships by storm, embarrassing BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the process. When the company took the liberty of fitting a modified flatplane crankshaft in 1992, the jig was up.
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).
The motor's all new as well. At least, this 114bhp one is. Like Ford, Vauxhall now has its own 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol unit. The rest of the range is made up of mainly petrol engines, with only a 1.3-litre diesel in 74bhp and 94bhp to choose from the oilburning fratenity. The gasoline line-up starts with a duo of naturally aspirated 1.4-litre engines producing 74bhp, and 89bhp respectively, followed by a pair of blown 1.4-litre units producing 99bhp and 148bhp, while the Corsa VXR gets a 202bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Four cylinder power came from 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 litre Family 1 petrol engines, as well as an economical 1.5 L turbodiesel engine. Most cars received a five speed manual transmission, although a four speed automatic was also available with certain engines. In the first few years, a four speed manual was also available coupled to the smallest 1.2 litre engine.
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 way it nearly came to the US is interesting, though. Back then, GM North America was a very different place than GM Europe, and it looked like there was very little interest in bridging the gap, unlike today. But after GM bought a 50% stake in the Trollhattan trolls, the General was now burdened with the problem of attracting more than devotees to an aging lineup at dealerships. The solution was to sell the Calibra to Americans through Saab dealerships, but badged as a Saab.
When I was 16 or 17, some friens and I used to buy old cars from the junkyard to drive it to pieces in the woods. Most cars did not last very long, as we tortured them with smashing them trough rough terrain, rolling over many times and held races through soft sands. Until we got an Opel Kadett. It gave us rally pleasure for weeks and weeks. Until one day, the orange oil pressure light went on.
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.
The car later became known as the Kadett A. In addition to the standard saloon, from March 1963, the manufacturer offered an L (luxury model) and an estate (branded as the "Opel Kadett Car-A-Van"). In October 1963 Opel introduced a coupé version of the Kadett with which buyers could enjoy enhanced style at the expense of rear seat headroom.
In March 2017, Groupe PSA agreed to buy Opel, its British sister brand Vauxhall and their European auto lending business from General Motors for US$2.2 billion. In return, General Motors will pay PSA US$3.2 billion for future European pension obligations and keep managing US$9.8 billion worth of plans for existing retirees. Furthermore, GM is responsible for paying about US$400 million annually for 15 years to fund the existing Great Britain and Germany pension plans.