You may remember the beloved Opel Kadett A named “Oliver” that Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame slogged through the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan of Botswana. He became so attached to the little car that he had it restored and owns it to this day. Hammond’s love of this classic comes with good cause as it was a secret weapon of Opel developed specifically to invade the dominance of Volkswagen during the 1960s. Even though it delivered similar levels of horsepower (around 40 hp) it did offer better heating as well as more interior and luggage space. The Kadett’s popularity and engine reliability provided a resurgence for Opel and the car was exported to many countries including the United States. Whether you punish yours in the muck and mud or reserve your driving strictly to the road is entirely up to you.
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Just at war's end, a small skeleton crew began clearing the rubble from the plant. By May 1945, this work had advanced enough to allow the beginning of production of desperately needed Opel parts. Getting the materials for them was more dependent on barter and black markets than it was on normal sources of supply, which had all but ceased to exist.
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.
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.
The final round of the 1994 season was contested at the Hockenheimring, but again the Opel contingent did its laps in relatively colorless fashion. A strong fourth place from Manuel Reuter in Race 2 ended the Calibra V6 4x4’s first full season. For 1995, the car would again be almost completely reshaped into a more effective weapon to take out the big boys in the newly renamed International Touringcar Challenge.

Our family car when I turned 16 was the exact same “sickly green” 1965 Kadett A model your father had. My brother and I lived with our divorced mom and she bought it in 1969 from a friend who was leaving the Berkeley, California area where we lived. My mom got a driver’s license with a borrowed car with automatic transmission, but we had no car. So she bought it and figured she would learn to drive a stick, which she never did.
In July 1990, after General Motors bought a stake in Saab,[7] it was reported the Calibra would be badged as a Saab in the United States, but these plans did not materialise.[8] There were also plans for a cabriolet version to be produced, but these too failed to materialise, although Valmet Automotive built two fully working, red coloured prototypes in 1992, with the 2.0 litre, 8 valve engine.
My Familys first car in the US was a used 1959 Opel Rekord – I dont remember that one much but when I was 4 we got a powder blue Kadett Wagon – My mother a Berliner loved Opels – 1978-79 my Sister inherited the car as her first car and then I got it as a hand me down again in 1981 – when I first got it it had never been driven over 50 MPH so I was a bit of a shock to the poor car – but even back then it got amazing gas mileage. That is until we took it to a mechanic for a tune up and he had apparently wasn’t good with european makes – he went to adjust the carburetor and some spring loaded valve shot out and we couldnt find parts anywhere by that time. gas mileage dropped massively and running poorly the car died while crossing on the side of a field on a farm. The family there adopted it as a bit of a fort – clubhouse for a few years as we chose to buy another car when I graduated – I miss the simplicity of the car – of course I remember it fondly by I’m betting the reality of it would be a shock!
An Opel Corsa rental, also sold under the Vauxhall moniker with the same name, offers travelers a highly fuel efficient choice for their upcoming trip to Europe. The Opel Corsa averages between 47 to 73 miles to the gallon, depending on the engine variant, with the diesel option offering the best fuel economy. Capable of seating 5 passengers, the Corsa is a excellent option for smal families or groups, though tall passengersmay find the back seat to get a little cramped on long drives. In terms of luggage capacity, the Opel Corsa is similar to other Economy class car options, providing 286 liters of trunk space, capable of storing 2 large, or 3 medium suitcases. Even after the trunk is at maximum capacity, there is still some room left over for a few small personal items. Travelers in need of extra luggage space can fold down the rear seats to bring the total luggage capacity to 1100 liters. Overall, the Opel Corsa is a perfect choice for economically minded travelers.
A mark of General Motors' confidence in their plans for the small car sector, and something that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhall Viva had in common, was that the manufacturer built for each new model a completely new car plant in a region characterized by relatively high unemployment and the availability of a skilled workforce, but with no strong tradition of volume auto-making. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car built at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant while the Kadett A was the first product of Opel's new purpose built Bochum plant.[1] Ellesmere Port and Bochum would effectively become sister plants, producing subsequent generations of Kadett as well as their Vauxhall badged sisters (the Chevette and Astra) for the next fifty years.
In March 2017, Groupe PSA agreed to buy Opel, its British sister brand Vauxhall and their European auto lending business from General Motors for US$2.2 billion.[32][33] In return, General Motors will pay PSA US$3.2 billion for future European pension obligations and keep managing US$9.8 billion worth of plans for existing retirees. Furthermore, GM is responsible for paying about US$400 million annually for 15 years to fund the existing Great Britain and Germany pension plans.[32]
Confident in the heavily reworked Calibra’s potential, Opel Team Joest expanded to a three car team. The third car was taken by John Winter, a successful businessman and sportscar racer for Joest. Winter took the top step of the podium at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1991 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as becoming German Interserie Champion in 1986.

The case of the Saab Calibra is one I'm glad didn't pan out, but I wish the car had made it here somehow. Even weirder than this was a plan to sell the Opel Senator through Porsche dealers in the late '80s, after GM's dealers were uninterested because their lots were full of Park Avenues and didn't need another luxo-barge competing. Strange, too, since the company was willing to sell that car as an Opel until the cost of importing became too strong. That likely killed the math for sending the Calibra here, too.
The final round of the 1994 season was contested at the Hockenheimring, but again the Opel contingent did its laps in relatively colorless fashion. A strong fourth place from Manuel Reuter in Race 2 ended the Calibra V6 4x4’s first full season. For 1995, the car would again be almost completely reshaped into a more effective weapon to take out the big boys in the newly renamed International Touringcar Challenge.
Styling was kept very close to that of the 2000 released model with just the face having been altered through the introduction of a chrome horizontal beam that encompassed the Opel logo. Headlight shapes remained unchanged while the bottom part of the front-end panel was diagonally cut at the sides, somewhat mimicking the lines of the V-shaped bonnet. Engine range remained virtually the same wit...
the Chevy Chevette, while a MUCH better car than the Vega was at the time, and even now, that’s not saying a whole lot, other than it WAS infinitely more durable and longer lasting and reliable than the Vega, though by ’76, the Vega was decent enough, but the damage was done. I know as my Mom drove a ’76 Vega from roughly 78-83 with the only major thing being the carb being rebuilt around 1980. The Chevette was basically a redesigned Kadett/Vauxhaul Chevette.
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