This 1968 Opel Kadett is a refurbished station wagon finished in red over black and powered by an overhead-valve 1.1-liter inline-four with dual carburetors and a 4-speed manual transmission. The car car previously spent time in a collection whose owner showed it in events with the Opel Motorsports Club, with awards including Best in Show, First in Class, and People’s Choice at the Opel Nationals and a number of other venues. This Kadett was acquired by the selling dealer in early 2019 and is offered with a collection of trophies and a clean Nebraska title.
In 1909, the Opel 4/8 hp pioneered the introduction of affordable mobility. It was modern with solid technology, easy to operate and manoeuvrable, enabling ambitious car owners to drive it themselves instead of relying on a chauffeur – considerably reducing the overall cost of ownership. And the quality of materials and workmanship created confidence. The first officially designated “small car” in automotive history was considered fully suitable for everyday use. The vehicle ideal for “doctors, veterinarians and lawyers” according to the adverts was available at prices from 4,000 to 5,000 Marks, while models from other manufacturers cost around 20,000 Marks. Thus the means of transport for the upper class became a vehicle for the middle class - thanks to the “Doctor's car”.
Technically, Calibra was closely related to the first generation Opel Vectra. It was styled by General Motor's designer Wayne Cherry and German designer Erhard Schnell. The Calibra united exciting design with optimized aerodynamics and everyday practicality. The wide-opening tailgate gave easy access to a versatile, 980-liter luggage compartment. Generous standard equipment included power steering, a five-speed close-ration gearbox, a six-speaker audio system and tinted windows. Air conditioning, a four-speed automatic transmission and an electric tilt/slide sunroof were among the options.
Detail improvements, such as a new dashboard and a steering-column shift, embellished the Kapitän line in May 1950. Bigger changes were saved for March 1951, to anticipate the opening of the doors of the Frankfurt show on 19 April for an 11-day run. Its earlier fast-back style was modified to a mild notch-back contour, and a new horizontal grille – not the prettiest in Opel history – dominated the frontal view. With a higher compression ratio (still only 6.25:1), engine power was 58 bhp (43 kW; 59 PS) at 3,700 rpm and top speed was 80 mph (130 km/h). Output increased to 60 bhp (45 kW; 61 PS) during the further life of this model, which ended in July 1953.
At the first round of the season held at the former Grand Prix track of Zolder in Belgium, Opel Team Joest’s misfortunes continued. Manuel Reuter retired in the early stages, with both John Winter (16th) and Keke Rosberg finishing a lap down on winner Alessandro Nannini (ITA) in the Alfa. Race 2 was more positive however, with only John Winter dropping early on. Reuter lead the Opel charge in 7th, with Rosberg in 10th.
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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.
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.