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.
As it turned out, the Opels were still lacking in this department. Manuel Reuter was fastest of the two with 5th on the grid, while Keke Rosberg clocked a disappointing 9th time. Both managed to be slower than several of the lesser Mercedes. Both races left much to be desired as well, with Rosberg finishing 7th in Race 1. Reuter retired with electronic gremlins after just 6 laps, and was forced to miss Race 2. Rosberg was felled by similar issues in Race 2, and slowed after 10 laps.
The Opel Kadett D was also built in South Africa by General Motors South African (Pty) Ltd. The South African range was made up of four-door fastback sedans, five-door hatchbacks, and a five-door estate model called the Voyage. The engines used are Opel's 1.2 litre overhead valve inline-four (L models only), or the OHC 1.3 liter (GL, GLS, and Voyage). Power is 60 PS (44 kW) and 75 PS (55 kW) respectively. Later a 1.6 liter was added and also a 1.8 in the GTE performance model.
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The Calibra came with 2.0-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine from the Family II range with a Cosworth-designed cylinder head that put out a healthy 150bhp, which when combined with the sleek shape gave the Opel a healthy turn of speed. These early cars, which were built until 1993, are becoming desirable as the C20XE engine produced more power than the cleaner X20XEV engines of later cars, which only put out a still credible 136bhp. Other markets got an eight-valve version of the Calibra producing 115bhp. This car was never sold here in Ireland, but it did have the distinction of being the most aerodynamic production car in the world at that time.
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!
* = Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures shown are determined according to the NEDC homologation regulations (R (EC) No. 715/2007 and R (EC) No. 692/2008, applicable version), which allows comparison with other vehicles. From September 1, 2017, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data for certain new vehicles are determined using the new World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). For easy comparison between new and older vehicles the relevant figures are re-calculated into NEDC. Please contact your Opel dealer for the latest information.
The Opel Corsa in general and the Corsa “120 Years” in particular show that it is a core brand characteristic to always offer customers more than they expect in the respective vehicle class. The foundation for this was laid at the end of the 19th century by the Opel patent motor car “System Lutzmann”. Its short price list already included two innovative extras: the first was the pneumatic tire, which was invented by Robert William Thomson in 1845, but had not yet found widespread use in automobile production. The second was the optional removable child seat available for the small two-seat motorised coach, whose one-cylinder, 4 hp engine delivered a speed of 30 km/h. This example alone clearly illustrates what Opel has been all about from the very beginning: absolute suitability for everyday use instead of technology as an end in itself.
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.
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.
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.
Last time I was in Kosovo, I thought I saw a chevy monza. Turned out it was an Opel. That and I will say, 2 door asconas are decent looking cars. GM really bit itself in the ass from the lae 70’s on up. Opel made many good looking decent powered and fine handling cars that should have been imported here. Never happened. Too bad, ord did it for the mondeo and the focus.
The plucky Kadett B. I am still daily driving a 1100 sedan here in southern CA. Simple basic trouble free comfortable transportation. It does its job without fuss or pretentiousness. I am amazed at how well the engineers made a cheap car so useable without feeling as if you were in a penalty box. They just have a certain feel that I find appealing. *
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).