(first posted 3/9/2012) For those under a certain age, the name Opel Kadett may be as familiar as Richard Speck, The Troggs, or Valley of the Dolls. Yes, 1966 was a long time ago, but that’s when the second generation of Opel’s VW fighter appeared and knocked down the long-time king of the small car hill. VW should thank Opel for that thumping; it really needed the wake up call that resulted in a new world order, spelled: G-O-L-F.
In September 1995, the Vectra A was replaced, but Calibra production continued until June 1997. Although a smaller coupé (the Tigra) was available, the marque was left without a mid sized coupé until the Astra Coupé was launched in 2000, and with the introduction of the Opel Speedster in 2000, three years after the Calibra was discontinued, Opel finally offered a sports car again.
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.
Joseph DeBattista and his son, Joey, acquired this Lapis Blue wonder after trading a Volkswagen. Owing to its rarity, they had to be creative with the restoration. While Joey was hunting for parts on eBay, his father bent metal to perfection, slowly completing a car that will always remain an underdog, a nice conversation starter, and a fail-proof daily driver. Just ask Richard Hammond, if you need more proof.
SRi models get sport style seats and distinctive 16in alloy wheels, while those opting for the SRi VX-Line models get 17in alloys, sports suspension and an aggressive bodykit thrown into the package. The special edition models consists of the Limited, Red and Black Edition Corsas. Limited Edition models get Vauxhall's OnStar concierge and emergency portal, sports seats, air conditioning, chrome exhaust, sports suspension, 17in alloy wheels and front foglights included in the package, while the Red and Black Edition gets a red or black paint job, 17in diamond-cut alloy wheels and are the only Corsas fitted with the 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine.
Design-trimmed cars lose the alloys and get 15in steel wheels, while SE models gain an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, electrially adjustable front seats, a 60/40 folding rear bench split, parking sensors and 16in alloy wheels, whole the range-topping Elite models include luxuries climate control, rear view camera, bi-xenon headlights, tinted rear windows, sports suspension and 17in alloy wheels.
I was too broke for a proper fix so a friend welded a glob of metal to the worn end of the shoe and we ground it flat to make a bigger surface for the brake cylinder piston to hit, then soaked the brake shoe in gas and lit it to burn off the brake fluid! Insane when I think back on it, but probably not the dumbest thing I did in my teenage years, and those brakes lasted several more years!
I’ve got a damn good memory. I clearly remember that in my youth, the seventies and early eighties, nobody was judged by the cars they drove, the house they lived in or the clothes they wore. People with money bought a big Opel or a Mercedes W115 diesel. Paid in cash. Loans ? Leasing ? What the hell is that ? You FIRST saved money and THEN you bought a car (or whatever). And a Mercedes W116 was for crooks and pimps, the scum of the earth. WAY over the top !
Elsewhere, Opel’s wild child comes with all of the safety and comfort features available in the regular KARL. City mode reduces steering effort at the push of a button, greatly facilitating maneuvering in heavy city traffic. Park Assist is also available and assists the driver during parking by giving an acoustic warning as the car approaches obstacles when reversing. Cruise control with speed limiter regulates driving speeds, which is extremely helpful in busy urban traffic and in residential areas.
While the Ipanema clearly succeeded the Marajó, production of the Chevette (by now in sedan form only, the hatchback having been discontinued after the 1987 model year) and of the Kadett noticeably overlapped; the newer model was placed above the old one in Chevrolet's lineup. While Chevrolet entertained the possibility of a pick-up version of the Kadett E, it never materialized.