Opel cars appeared under their own name in the US from 1958 to 1975, when they were sold through Buick dealers as captive imports. The best-selling Opel models in the US were the 1964 to 1972 Opel Kadett, the 1971 to 1975 Opel Manta, and the now-classic 1968 to 1973 Opel GT. (The name "Opel" was also applied from 1976 to 1980 to vehicles manufactured by Isuzu (similar to the "Isuzu I-mark"), but mechanically those were entirely different cars).
The extra-light, all-aluminium engines, together with optimization of the front and rear axles, also contribute to the low total weight. The particularly compact three-cylinder petrol engines weigh around 15kg less than the previous generation of similarly powerful four-cylinder units. Highly unusual in the small-car-sector is the new Corsa’s aluminium engine bonnet, which although longer, saves 2.4kg in comparison to the previous model’s bonnet made of steel. The Insignia flagship was previously the only model in the Opel range with an aluminium bonnet. The seats also have been put on a diet. The new optimized seat structure saves a total of 10kg – 5.5kg at the front, 4.5kg at the rear. New lighter insulating material was used for fine tuning. Altogether the measures result in a weight reduction that, in combination with optimum aerodynamics and the efficient powertrains, will lead to a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Opel campaigned the car extensively in motorsport too. The rally version was uncompetitive, but Opel eagerly waded into the 160mph traffic jam that was the International Touring Car Championship. The ITCC was created from the German DTM series, in which Opel had struggled. A rule change allowed Opel to use a new 480bhp V6 derived from the road car. The resultant four-wheel-drive monster carried Manuel Reuter to the 1996 ITCC driver's crown and Opel won the manufacturers' gong, beating Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz. It was the Calibra's finest hour.
Sales in the United Kingdom were strong right up to the end, but by the time the last Nova was built in the beginning of 1993, it was looking very dated in comparison to more modern rivals like the Peugeot 106 and the Renault Clio. Vauxhall dropped the "Nova" name in 1993 when their version of the Opel Corsa B made its debut, and later models were sold as the "Vauxhall Corsa" instead.
A convertible version wis an aa available, for the first time in 1987, biggit bi Bertone o Torino/Italy, bringin it tae line wi key competitors sic as the Ford Escort an Volkswagen Golf which wur available as cabrios afore. For the 1988 model, capacities wur raised tae 1400, 1800 an a new 2000 cc ingine, again uised on the GSi an Vauxhall Astra GTE. In 1988, a 16-valve twin-cam version wis developed for a hie performance GSi/GTE model, yieldin 156 hp (115 kW) in manufactured form.
The high performance of the new Corsa GSi is complemented by the athletic exterior looks featuring large air intakes, sculptured bonnet, prominent rear spoiler and precisely modelled side sills. From the front, the bold Opel GSi fascia with large honeycomb grille and the central Opel Blitz supported by two wings, along with the exterior rear view mirror housings in carbon racing-look become visible. The large chrome-ringed design elements that are visually connected in a horizontal line via black crosspieces running across the front, along with the black traverse cleat on the bonnet support the impression of sportiness. The vibrant styling is also present when viewed from the rear. The prominent spoiler on the edge of the roof creates additional downforce, the sporty chrome tailpipe is framed by the vibrant design of the rear apron in body colour.
It had some crazy mechanical issues. At one point it stumbled and stalled because the carburetor had come loose from the intake manifold and I had to tighten it back down! Another time, my brother was driving it and the brakes failed. Somehow the end of the brake shoe that meets the brake cylinder piston had become worn on one side, causing the piston to slip off the end of the shoe when the brakes were applied, losing braking and squirting fluid all over.