Obviously, the marketing and advertisement was quite different in Germany, and the “Das Auto” campaign was quite successful indeed. Unfortunately, I don’t have ready access to the statistics, but at some point in the Kadett B’s lengthy run from 1966 – 1973, it did unseat the Beetle as Germany’s best selling car. By the late sixties, the Germans were ready to move on, and it was straight into the Kadett’s open doors, as well as Ford’s new Escort, a Kadett-fighter through and through. In all, some 2.7 million Kadett Bs were produced, probably the high point of its life as both the Kadett and successor Astra.
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.
The saloon and estate car versions were produced in China by Shanghai GM as Buick Sail and Buick Sail S-RV, respectively from June 2001 to February 2005. That year, they received a facelift and became known as the Chevrolet Sail and SRV. In September 2006, Chile became the first country outside China to receive the Chinese assembled Sail; it is called the Chevrolet Corsa Plus there, available as a four door saloon with a 1.6 L 92 PS (68 kW) engine. The Corsa Plus includes dual front airbags, anti lock brakes, air conditioning, electric windows and central locking as standard equipment.
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.
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.
In addition to its West German home market, the Kadett A sold strongly in what were becoming the manufacturer's traditional export strongholds (notably in Benelux, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland). Between February 1964 and the Autumn/Fall of 1965 the cars were also exported to the United States where they were sold through approximately 500 Buick dealers. The same 993 cc engine was fitted and it is not clear whether it was differently tuned for North America: horsepower ratings were differently computed in the USA, following locally devised "SAE" rules: for American market purposes the maximum outputs for the engines were quoted as 46 hp (34 kW; 47 PS) and 54 hp (40 kW; 55 PS).
My brother’s best friend’s family traded in the “kids’ car”, a much abused ’55 Chevy six two door on a new ’67 Kadett B, like this one, and every bit a stripper like the Chevy 150 had been. Geoffrey was a capable driver, and some of my more memorable mind-expanding experiences in the year 1967 – 1969 came about thanks to their willingness to let younger brother tag along. That often involved sitting in the back seat of the Kadett, hanging on for dear life as every effort to catch air on the winding back roads was exploited. Perpetual caning was SOP, and I have doubts whether their Kadett lasted as long as the old ’55 Chevy six. My father’s Kadett A needed a valve job at 40k, probably precipitated by my brother’s similar abuse. He traded it in on a ’68 Dart; that tells you all you need to know.
Power will come exclusively from a three-cylinder 1.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine developing 75 HP (55 kW) delivered to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Opel and Vauxhall say the chassis has been tweaked to provide "exceptional safety and comfort" and both cars come with traction control, hill start assist and electronic stability control.
The Opel Kadett D was also built in South Africa by General Motors South African (Pty) Ltd. The South African range was made up of four-door fastback sedans, five-door hatchbacks, and a five-door estate model called the Voyage. The engines used are Opel's 1.2 litre overhead valve inline-four (L models only), or the OHC 1.3 liter (GL, GLS, and Voyage). Power is 60 PS (44 kW) and 75 PS (55 kW) respectively. Later a 1.6 liter was added and also a 1.8 in the GTE performance model.
In 1935 the time was ripe for the people’s car – from Opel, mind you. The P4 presented in November rolled of the assembly line soon thereafter. The four-seater with four-cylinder four-stroke engine – according to the P4 brochure “like the most expensive cars in the world” – cost only 1,450 Marks in the standard version. “How is this possible? To offer so much value, a real full-out automobile that even exceeds expectations for so little money?” The answer was clear: thanks to state-of-the-art mass production. This also came into play shortly thereafter with the Kadett 1, which also took over the design of the Opel Olympia. This made it one of the first German cars to feature a self-supporting all-steel body, which was more comfortable, safer and more durable than the conventional frame structures.
The Crossland X was introduced in 2017 as a replacement to the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva. It offers more crossover styling but similar practicality as its predecessor, as the segment of small MPVs has been shrinking in Europe, while small crossovers and SUVs continue to gain popularity across the continent. The Crossland X is based on the same platform as the Citroën C3 Aircross, which will be launched later. In Opel’s line-up, the Crossland X will be positioned below the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X, but both compete in the same segment of small crossovers.
The plucky Kadett B. I am still daily driving a 1100 sedan here in southern CA. Simple basic trouble free comfortable transportation. It does its job without fuss or pretentiousness. I am amazed at how well the engineers made a cheap car so useable without feeling as if you were in a penalty box. They just have a certain feel that I find appealing. *
My dad bought a Kadett when we became a two-car family in the 60’s (Mom got the Rambler Rebel, and then a 72 Impala). It lasted until ’77, when we used the Impala to help push it down the highway and into the Olds dealership where they were having a “We’ll give you $1000 for whatever you can drive onto the lot” trade in sale. (Sadly, we got an awful 77 Cutlas Supreme). I got some of my early driving lessons (in the neighborhood) in that Opel – shifting gears from the passenger seat, or sometimes riding on my Dads lap and steering.
The Latin American Corsa received a small facelift in 1999, with smoother bumpers, and from April 2002 (when the new Corsa II was introduced) the Corsa B began being marketed as the "Corsa Classic" until 2010, where it became the "Classic" when the Corsa B derived Chevrolet Sail and Chevrolet Celta replaced it. Production finally ceased in October 2016.
A convertible version was also available, for the first time in 1987, built by Bertone of Torino/Italy, bringing it to line with competitors, such as the Ford Escort and Volkswagen Golf. For the 1988 model, capacities were raised from 1.3 to 1.4 litres. In the fall of 1986 a new 1,998 cc engine replaced the 1.8 hitherto used on the GSi and Vauxhall Astra GTE in many markets, although the 1.8 continued to be sold in some places. In 1988, a 16-valve twin-cam version was developed for a high-performance GSi/GTE model, yielding 156 PS (115 kW) in non-catalyzed form, six less horsepower with a catalytic converter fitted. While criticized for a lack of refinement, the GSi 16V was also lauded as the most powerful car available in its class at the time. Aside from the "16V" badging, it could be told from an eight-valve GSi by its twin rectangular exhaust pipes.
Within Opel the Calibra was a car with potential but sadly much of it was unrealised. Valmet Automotive in Finland, who had a manufacturing facility that build Calibras alongside the German plant, produced two handsome convertible prototypes that never saw production. A Saab coupe based on the Calibra was also rumoured but, again, never saw the light of day.
^ 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).