In 1924, the Rüsselsheim-based company went even further to cater to the “average consumer” – also thanks to an automotive innovation. After all, from the very first minute Opel was committed to producing cars as efficiently as possible and thus making them affordable for a broad customer base. Consequently, the 4/12 hp heralded the start of assembly line production in Germany. And because the 60 km/h fast car was only available “in a quiet green that pleases the eye” to keep the time and effort required for production at a minimum, everyone called it the “Tree Frog”. Soon, 25 two-seater “cars for everyone” left the assembly line every day. In the following years an entire vehicle family was built on the Tree Frog technology. The smoother production ran, the greater the cost advantage that Opel passed on to its customers. Unbelievable but true: the purchase price of the 4 hp model series, of which 119,484 units were produced, was almost 40 per cent lower in 1931 than at the launch of the Tree Frog model.
My father, who could well be this man (except for the Germanic house behind it), bought a new sickly-green Kadett A just like this in 1965, at the local Buick dealer in Towson. So, yes; I can speak for the Kadett’s ability to trounce all VWs in street-light races, thanks to my older brother’s repeated VW-baiting. And at seventy or so, the turbulence from the boxy body caused the tops of the thin little doors to actually move away from the body enough to see daylight between them. Lightweight construction indeed. Hopefully, someday I’ll miraculously find a Kadett A and do the full story of its colorful place in history, both the automotive world’s as well as the Niedermeyer’s. But this CC is about its successor.
In the US, the 1968 Kadett took on the Olympia’s grille and there were other changes too. The Olympia and the US Kadett now were available with the bigger “high-cam” four, in 1.5, 1.7 and 1.9 liter versions (no 1.7 for the US). This changed the performance equation considerably, especially in the new Rally 1900, which had a new fastback to go along with its big jump in power. The 1.9 was rated at 102 (gross) and 90 (DIN-net) hp, and there was nothing that could touch it in its class. This was the equivalent of dropping the big block V8s in the GM midsize cars, the German Chevelle SS 396.
In 1909, the Opel 4/8 hp pioneered the introduction of affordable mobility. It was modern with solid technology, easy to operate and manoeuvrable, enabling ambitious car owners to drive it themselves instead of relying on a chauffeur – considerably reducing the overall cost of ownership. And the quality of materials and workmanship created confidence. The first officially designated “small car” in automotive history was considered fully suitable for everyday use. The vehicle ideal for “doctors, veterinarians and lawyers” according to the adverts was available at prices from 4,000 to 5,000 Marks, while models from other manufacturers cost around 20,000 Marks. Thus the means of transport for the upper class became a vehicle for the middle class - thanks to the “Doctor's car”.
The Opel Eye front camera processes diverse data, thus forming the basis for the driver assistance systems such as Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Warning. If the system registers that the lane is being left unintentionally it warns the driver by emitting audible and visible signals. Cruise control with speed limiter also makes driving more pleasant. Forward collision alert with pedestrian detection and Automatic Emergency Braking helps avoid accidents, and it is combined with a special Driver Drowsiness Alert.
The incarnation of classic car enthusiasm is spelled DeBattista. Joe and his dad Joseph are not just passionate collectors of classic cars but also gifted mechanics who built and restored cars to Concours perfection. Like my 65 Jensen CV-8, which had been painstakingly ground up restored by them in record breaking time. Joe and his dad personally delivered the car from San Francisco to LA a couple of hours before the car entered the Greystone Concours de Elegance in 2014… and won the ‘Best Restoration’ award. Unforgettable moments with Joe and Joseph DeBattista.
The Calibra was a hit, with customers lamenting the demise of the Opel Manta and the Ford Capri lining up eagerly. The Opel had competition, no doubt, with the BMW 3-Series coupe outselling it across Europe, but it was still a strong seller and its sleek looks sitting the in showroom did much to lift the image of its humbler stablemates. Ford's rival, the American-build Probe, was unable to match its success, which must have annoyed Ford as the Capri usually gave the Manta a bloody nose in the sales stakes. So confident were GM that the Calibra started to find fans outside of Europe. Holden sold its own version in Australia and New Zealand, albeit fully imported and identical to the European car, while South American markets got a Chevrolet-badged version. Rumoured US sales never happened though.
Plastic cladding on the lower end of the vehicle along with silver inserts in the front and throughout the lower section of the vehicle serve as reminders of the vehicle’s confident appearance while displaying functional and sporty elegance. The side profile features crisp side lines and a seemingly ‘floating roof’, which visually separates the lower section from the upper one, visually stretching the Crossland X. The ‘floating roof’ also displays its relationship to the arched chrome window line on the Opel Adam, which drops towards the rear. Like on the Adam, customers are able to order a different color for the Crossland X’s roof.
The Karl's overall shape reminds of the Chevy Spark, but Opel made sure people will distinguish it via it's typical "frowned smile" front end, oblique taillamps that flow into the quarter panels as well as three sharp creases on the sides to suggest the automaker's precision and sharp design orientation. The interior looks light and minimalistic but it can be packed with a lot of tech and will accommodate up to five passengers.
The transfer gearbox in the AWD models — the same as used in the Vauxhall Cavalier AWD—was somewhat on the flimsy side, liable to suffer damage from conditions such as minor differences in tyre wear or tyre pressure between front and rear axles. Since front and rear tyres would naturally wear at different rates in normal driving, it was necessary to swap front with rear tyres every 15,000 miles (24,000 km).
Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and Charles Erwin Wilson ("Engine Charlie" Wilson), GM's president, were considering the options. Later in April, Sloan sought to resolve the differences of opinion with a position paper that he hoped would set up conditions for resuming control of Opel that would put at rest the doubts of GM's more conservative financial minds.
After the closure of Opel Australia, Holden imports newer Opel models such as the Astra GTC (ceased 1 May 2017), Astra VXR (Astra OPC), Cascada (ceased 1 May 2017), and Insignia VXR (Insignia OPC, ceased 1 May 2017), under the Holden badge. The 2018 5th-gen Holden Commodore ZB is a badge-engineered Opel Insignia, replacing the Australian-made, rear-wheel drive Commodore with the German-made front-wheel/all-wheel drive Insignia platform.
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.