Launched in 1962, GM Europe's small car for the 1960s, the Opel Kadett, looked like a shrunk Chevy Nova, and hid a 1.0-liter water-cooled overhead-valve four-cylinder up its nose. While this motor had pre-War origins, it was a good one. It weighed just 211 lbs, revved beyond 6000 rpm, and made 54 horsepower in the high-compression 'S' version, as long as you used premium fuel.
In 1982 Opel once again accomplished a great feat with a small car: the Corsa A joined the range below the Kadett, which by now was becoming a compact model. Designed by Chief Designer Erhard Schnell, who also penned the legendary Opel GT, the only 3.62m-long Corsa was notable for its prominent rally-car wheel arches and a drag coefficient of 0.36. Offered initially as a two-door hatchback and sedan, and a five-door as of 1985, the Corsa again demonstrated how masterfully Opel can generate space on a small platform. The 100hp GSi also combined frugality with fun. Originally conceived as an entry-level model for those on a tight budget, the Corsa A had become a bestseller by 1993 with a total of 3.1 million units sold.
The facelifted 2004 model was also imported, however, in December 2005, the Corsa C was dropped from the Australian and New Zealand Holden ranges as a cost cutting measure by GM, and was replaced by the Daewoo Kalos, rebadged as a Holden Barina. Motoring journalists were scathing in their criticism of the new model, particularly the bland handling, lackluster engine and below par safety features. The Kalos-based Barina was subsequently replaced with a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Sonic.
In the US, some 500 Buick dealers started carrying the Kadett in 1964, after their previous sole product, the larger Rekord, was knocked out of the ring by GM’s own 1960/1961 compacts. I strongly suspect the Buick dealers (and their ad agency) who hadn’t yet taken down their Opel signs were not really very committed or motivated, and all of 17k ’64s and 14k ’65 Kadett A were sold. Meanwhile, VW was moving some 400k Beetles in America.
Launched in 1962, GM Europe's small car for the 1960s, the Opel Kadett, looked like a shrunk Chevy Nova, and hid a 1.0-liter water-cooled overhead-valve four-cylinder up its nose. While this motor had pre-War origins, it was a good one. It weighed just 211 lbs, revved beyond 6000 rpm, and made 54 horsepower in the high-compression 'S' version, as long as you used premium fuel.
The Calibra came with 2.0-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine from the Family II range with a Cosworth-designed cylinder head that put out a healthy 150bhp, which when combined with the sleek shape gave the Opel a healthy turn of speed. These early cars, which were built until 1993, are becoming desirable as the C20XE engine produced more power than the cleaner X20XEV engines of later cars, which only put out a still credible 136bhp. Other markets got an eight-valve version of the Calibra producing 115bhp. This car was never sold here in Ireland, but it did have the distinction of being the most aerodynamic production car in the world at that time.
In April 1993, the Corsa B was unveiled and in the United Kingdom Vauxhall dropped the Nova name, with the car from now being known as the Corsa.[21] In May 1994, it was launched by Holden in Australia, as the Barina, replacing a version of the Suzuki Swift sold under that name.[22] This proved a success, and was the first Spanish built car to be sold in significant volumes in the Australian market.[23]

The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.
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