In 1957 Opel Product Director Karl Stief was mandated by General Motors headquarters in Detroit to develop "the perfect Anti-Volkswagen" ("einen perfekten Anti-VW"). The development team was headed up by Stief, supported by Hans Mersheimer (car-body) and Werner K. Strobel (engine and running gear), under conditions of such secrecy that even now very little is known of the development history of the 1962 Kadett. It has been alleged that GM was trying to conceal a new technique of platform and design sharing between Opel and its British sister company Vauxhall, which released the strikingly similar Viva HA in 1963, a year after Opel introduced the Kadett. Over the subsequent two decades Opel and Vauxhall's ranges would rapidly converge as Vauxhall's design independence from Opel was eroded to the point where by 1985, Vauxhall's car range entirely consisted of rebadged Opel models.
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.
After the uplifting podium at the Hockenheimring, Opel fell right back into the deep hole they were working so hard to crawl out of. For the next four rounds and eight races, the team couldn’t reach further than 5th place, and experienced numerous mechanical failures. The trips to the Nurburgring, Mugello, back to the Nurburgring and the Norisring all proved fruitless for the outfit.
The Crossland X was introduced in 2017 as a replacement to the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva. It offers more crossover styling but similar practicality as its predecessor, as the segment of small MPVs has been shrinking in Europe, while small crossovers and SUVs continue to gain popularity across the continent. The Crossland X is based on the same platform as the Citroën C3 Aircross, which will be launched later. In Opel’s line-up, the Crossland X will be positioned below the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X, but both compete in the same segment of small crossovers.
However, KARL ROCKS has much more to offer than its enticing looks and stylish interior – it is also just as practical as the Opel KARL. Four doors guarantee easy access to the front and rear seats while the five seats ensure that even families can enjoy Opel’s SUV-inspired mini car. And when needed, the rear seats, with a 40/60 split as standard, can be folded down completely giving the KARL ROCKS an impressive total trunk space of exactly 1,013 liters.
Things are a little better up front, where we find driver and passenger seats approved by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken, or German Bad Back Association. They are truly, properly comfortable, and even long journeys fail to induce numb-bum, nor thigh-tremble. It does go a bit downhill from there though. The fascia and instrument panel are pulled, more or less directly, from the Corsa hatch, which means everything’s reasonably well made, but a bit dour and glum in appearance. That contrasts sharply to the quirkier, more welcoming interiors of the Crossland’s French cousins. There are good things – the seven-inch IntelliLink touchscreen is clear and good to use, albeit it has a slightly messy menu system, but the main dials look drab, and items such as the column stalks actually feel quite fragile and cheap.
At market launch in 1990, all-wheel drive system was optionally available in addition to the standard front-wheel drive for both 2.0-liter gasoline engines. In March 1992 Opel made waves when the Calibra Turbo entered dealerships at a price of 49,800 marks. All-wheel drive, a six-speed gearbox, sports seats and 16-inch light alloy wheels came as standard. However, those affected aerodynamics – 16V, V6, 4x4 and turbo models had a worse Cd of 0.29, due to changes in a cooling system, underbody, use of spoked wheels and glass detail.
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.
The engine came with a choice from two power levels. For the standard 1.0 litre engine maximum output was listed as 40 PS (29 kW) at 5,000 rpm, and in October 1963 the high compression "1.0 S-Motor" was added, sharing the 993 cc capacity of the original power unit, but offering a maximum 48 PS (35 kW) of power at 5,400 rpm. The more powerful "S-Motor" engine featured modifications to the inlet manifold, cylinders and camshaft along with a carburetor employing larger (36 mm (1.4 in) diameter than the 30 mm (1.2 in) used on the standard engine. This came with an 8.8: 1 compression ratio whereas the 40 PS (29 kW; 39 hp) engine used a compression ratio of only 7.8 : 1. Higher compression ratios for performance versions of standard engines were a growing trend in West Germany in the 1960s, led by Opel and Ford, and made possible by the growing availability of higher octane "Super" grade fuel at filling stations.
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1938 saw the presentation of the highly successful Kapitän. With a 2.5 L six-cylinder engine, all-steel body, front independent suspension, hydraulic shock absorbers, hot-water heating (with electric blower), and central speedometer. 25,374 Kapitäns left the factory before the intensification of World War II brought automotive manufacturing to a temporary stop in the Autumn of 1940, by order of the government.
The handling and ride are basically fine, but are all but invisible from the point of view of a keen driver. The Crossland is tidy through corners, with reasonable steering weight but no actual feedback, and the body tilts over only to a reasonable angle. The ride is a touch stiff in its damping, especially around town (which is disappointing, given that any Crossland will probably spend most of its life in town) but it does improve on the open road. Refinement is only average though with quite a bit of wind and road noise. There’s little point in having Opel’s phone-based OnStar concierge service fitted if you can’t hear what the operator is saying . . .
Under the hood, the ROCKS shares the 1.0-liter, three cylinder gasoline engine (NEDC fuel consumption: urban 5.6-5.2 l/100 km, extra-urban 4.2-4.0 l/100 km, combined 4.7-4.4 l/100 km; 106-101 g/km CO2) of its KARL sibling The unit delivers 55 kW/75 hp and is paired to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard. Alternatively, KARL ROCKS buyers can choose the optional Easytronic® 3.0 gearbox. The five-speed automated transmission combines the comfort advantages of an automatic transmission with the efficiency of a manual gearbox. It automatically selects the appropriate gear for best possible fuel consumption, but is based on a manual transmission optimized for smaller engines which enables ultra-economical driving. The driver can take manual control of Easytronic 3.0 at any time by pulling or pushing the gear selector lever.
The new four-cylinder, oversquare one-litre water-cooled Opel OHV engine weighed only 96 kg and was the first all-new engine developed by Opel since before the war. The side-mounted camshaft was driven not through gear-cogs but using a single chain with a hydraulic tensioner, the valve train employing rocker-arms and light-weight hollow rods. The arrangement was low on weight and on friction, permitting engine speeds above 6,000 rpm. The pistons were formed from an aluminium-alloy and incorporated a bimetal expansion strip to ensure uniform thermal expansion. The three-bearing forged crankshaft was of more traditional construction. The carefully designed aluminium inlet manifold provided for efficient feed of the fuel-mixture to the cylinders and helped provide the engine with good fuel economy characteristics.
The first cars were produced in 1899 after Opel's wife Sophie and their two eldest sons entered into a partnership with Friedrich Lutzmann, a locksmith at the court in Dessau in Saxony-Anhalt, who had been working on automobile designs for some time. These cars were not very successful and the partnership was dissolved after two years, following which Opel signed a licensing agreement in 1901 with the French Automobiles Darracq France to manufacture vehicles under the brand name Opel Darracq. These cars consisted of Opel bodies mounted on Darracq chassis, powered by two-cylinder engines.
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.
The Rally’s 1100 cc SR engine was hardly a drag-strip terror: the little 1100cc buzz-bomb got higher compression and a second carburetor, as well as possibly some other changes. The result was 67 gross/60 DIN-net hp. And what little torque there was, now moved even higher into the rpm range. I can hear their raspy and nervous exhaust in my ears still, as common as they were now in the Towson area. Undoubtedly, they improved on the regular Kadett’s 21 second 0-60 dash by maybe a couple of seconds. But they looked good doing it, as well as sounding good.
To keep sales brisk, Opel facelifted the car in 1994 with the 2.0-litre engine getting more efficient but less powerful. There were various minor changes to help improve the Calibra without alienating existing customers. Most notable were improvements to safety, which included the introduction of a full-sized driver's side airbag. Exterior styling, perhaps the car's single greatest strength, was almost completely unaltered. The only way to tell a post-facelift car is the Opel badge is tucked into the middle of the grille, while early cars have it nailed to the bonnet.
Opel campaigned the car extensively in motorsport too. The rally version was uncompetitive, but Opel eagerly waded into the 160mph traffic jam that was the International Touring Car Championship. The ITCC was created from the German DTM series, in which Opel had struggled. A rule change allowed Opel to use a new 480bhp V6 derived from the road car. The resultant four-wheel-drive monster carried Manuel Reuter to the 1996 ITCC driver's crown and Opel won the manufacturers' gong, beating Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz. It was the Calibra's finest hour.
The Corsa E has been around since 2014 essentially as a more thorough facelift of the model before it and it won’t be until towards the end of the decade when the supermini is going to be overhauled. The development phase has not been what we would call smooth sailing considering the major corporate change. We’re obviously talking about PSA’s decision to buy Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors, which is going to have a direct impact on the new Corsa.
Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection works automatically at speeds between 5 and 140km/h. For speeds between 5 and 30km/h a 0.9g deceleration is applied to reduce the impact speed of the collision. For speeds of 30 to 140km/h the system reduces the speed by up to 50km/h. To reduce speed by over 50km/h the driver needs to provide additional braking. The operational speed range depends on the type of obstacle detected: