We took the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and then headed down to Forges-les-Eaux, along winding D-roads through quiet villages and dense forests, scenes to be repeated over the following three days. What you notice immediately about the Calibra is how civilised it is. That V6 engine is a gem, not especially powerful by today’s standards but honestly quick and genuinely refined.
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Despite its age, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa was ranked #10 in Europe's best-selling cars top last year. An all-new model is right around the corner and it should help the supermini put up a good fight against other subcompact hatchbacks like the next-gen Renault Clio and Peugeot 208. Today, Opel is releasing some technical details about its revamped five-door-only city car, emphasizing on the diet it’ll be going through for its sixth iteration.
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.
I'm chalking this up as another car we never got in the States because of strange circumstances. And today, Buick sells some interesting Opels-badged-as-Buicks like the Regal GS (an Insignia) and the Verano (sort of an Astra sedan). They feel relatively German, which is an unusual thing for any product sold at a GM dealership here. I'm still waiting for that Astra GTC, which is kind of the Calibra of today. Something tells me that badging a hatchback so sleek and aggressive as a Buick might not work, though.
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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.
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.
I bought a used Opel Wagon in 1971. It came to the US from Brazil where my college roommate’s father worked for an American firm. It was a 1968 model, had impressive handling and was fun to drive. While the car was excellent in all respects, and I owned it from ’71 through ’74, I took a lot of grief about it. Gas station people made comments like “Is this your car? It’s not paying your taxes.” and “Does this thing come with a motor?” and “This thing is made for insects.” But, worse, were the insults from the Queens County (NYC) Buick dealer parts department who consistently said really nasty things to folks buying replacement parts: “Ya look like the kinda’ guy who’d buy this ting”. After completing my Industrial Design degree, and I went on to design vehicles here and abroad, I never bought a GM car.
The 2006 release of the fourth Corsa generation translates as rebirth. The German producer offered further reasons for the car to virtually sell itself. The V-inspired shaping of the car was more accentuated with bulgy lines and headlights as if some of the styling elements have been mounted into specially designed sockets. Apart form the looks, the engine line-up was converted and enhanced to c...
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.
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.