The Calibra holds the title of having been the most aerodynamic car in the world at its 1990 launch, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26. With engines ranging in displacement from 1998 cc to 2498 cc, the car reigned supreme over other makes at the time. Its privileged position as the most aerodynamically efficient car would be held until the end of the 90's when the Calibra was overthrown by new Audi and Honda releases, the A2 and Insight respectively.
The Calibra was introduced to counter the Japanese sports coupés, of the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s. It employs the running gear of the first generation Opel Vectra, which had been launched in October 1988. Calibra production was based in the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and the Valmet Automotive factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland, where production was consolidated in November 1995.
Later, an 1800 cc version wis introduced for the Kadett/Astra GTE model. This range o ingines wis an aa uised for later models o the Corsa/Nova, an the mid-sized Cavalier/Ascona. The Kadett D wis an' a' equipped wi a 1600 cc diesel ingine that wis possible tae drive as cheap as 5.0 L/100 km, an a cairy-ower 1196cc OHV ingine. It wis an aa produced as IDA Kadett in Kikinda, Yugoslavie.
One of the most versatile small German military vehicles, the Kettenkrad, a blend of a tractor and a motorcycle, was powered with a 1.4 L Olympia four-cylinder engine. Produced by NSU, it had motorcycle-type front-wheel steering for gentle turns and negotiated tight corners with brakes on the propelling caterpillar tracks. The Kettenkrad towed antitank guns and transported troops and signal gear in several theatres of war. NSU continued to make it after the war for use in mines and forests. It was one of the few vehicles that could do jobs formerly performed by horses for which, owing to the shortage of oats, even less fuel was available than for motor vehicles.
Other events which would powerfully affect Opel's future were taking place in 1948. In February and March, a GM study group came to Germany to investigate every aspect of Europe's economic situation and Opel's special problems. On their return, they submitted a report on 26 March recommending that General Motors resume control of Opel. On 5 April, however, GM's financial policy committee concluded, "in view of the many uncertainties surrounding the operation of this property, the Corporation is not justified in resuming the responsibility for its operation at this time..." GM, it seemed, did not want Opel.
Changes in the Opel cars under GM's management did not appear until January 1950, when a face-lifted Olympia was introduced. Front and rear fenders were elongated and a heavy horizontal chrome grille was added. A retrograde step was the replacement of the four-speed gearbox with a three-speed unit, with a column shift lever. Engine tuning emphasised high torque at low engine speeds so the extra ratio was not too sorely missed. The cabrio-coach model was returned to the Olympia range and a kombi was also offered, built by Karosserie Miesen. In February 1951, in preparation for the first postwar automobile show in Germany, the Olympia was dressed up further with a trunk compartment that enclosed the spare tire and 15-inch (38 cm) wheels instead of 16-inch (41 cm) wheels and tires. With minor further changes, this model lasted to March 1953.
He dropped by my house early one Friday evening the day he bought it at Ackerman Buick in Ferguson, MO, picked me up, drove to a buddy’s, picked him up and we took off over the bridge into Illinois to ride all the levee roads and every other back road we could find. We had to drop off our buddy around 9 o’clock, put $1.80 in the tank and went back to Illinois! We finally returned home after midnight and somehow put over 250 miles on the car in that time!
Efter the war, Opel production facilities frae Rüsselsheim (caurs) an Brandenburg an der Havel (trucks) wur cratit up an transportit tae the Soviet Union as pairt o a lairger reparations package agreed upon bi the victorious pouers. Frae 1948 the prewar Kadett wis manufactured as the Moskvitch 400/420: it continued tae be produced on the edge o Moscow as a Moskvitch till 1956.
While critics raved about the Calibra's looks and performance, they were less keen on the interior which, despite sporty looking seats and some nice detailing, used a dash lifted straight from the Vectra. The Vectra also donated most of its chassis, which led to some less than flattering road tests at the time. The critics were especially harsh about the gearchange, vague steering and low-speed ride quality, although praise was heaped on the car for overall refinement, keen prices, practicality and performance.
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.
Technologically, the Kadett D wis a major departure, as it wis Opel an Vauxhall's first front wheel drive caur. It an aa introduced the Family II ingine design wi an single owerheid camshaft, aluminium alloy cylinder heid, hydraulic valve lifters, wi capacities o 1300 an 1600 cc, an haed a unique transaxle design which alloued the clutch tae be replaced athoot removin the transmission unit.
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.
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.