The Insignia flagship followed exactly the same initiative as the Astra. Once again the Opel engineers’ main objective was efficiency. Thanks to optimized packaging and lightweight materials they could save up to 175kg on the Insignia Grand Sport compared with its predecessor – much to the benefit of dynamics and fuel consumption. Depending on powertrain and equipment, the current Insignia Sports Tourer even weighs up to 200kg less than the similar model variant from the first generation.
In 1935 the time was ripe for the people’s car – from Opel, mind you. The P4 presented in November rolled of the assembly line soon thereafter. The four-seater with four-cylinder four-stroke engine – according to the P4 brochure “like the most expensive cars in the world” – cost only 1,450 Marks in the standard version. “How is this possible? To offer so much value, a real full-out automobile that even exceeds expectations for so little money?” The answer was clear: thanks to state-of-the-art mass production. This also came into play shortly thereafter with the Kadett 1, which also took over the design of the Opel Olympia. This made it one of the first German cars to feature a self-supporting all-steel body, which was more comfortable, safer and more durable than the conventional frame structures.
As an Opel, it could've been a great rival for the Ford Probe, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Celica and all of the handsome sport coupes that popped up in the early '90s. You could get a Calibra with an all-wheel drive system, or a turbocharged engine (not from Saab), or a 2.5-liter V6 (shared with Saab). It had a hatchback for practicality. Versions with big wheels look rather handsome, too. Had it been priced like a Saab, though, it would've attracted too many comparisons with the E30 and E36 coupes from BMW at the time, and that probably wouldn't have ended well.
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.
The other reason for the B’s success had to do with GM: once again, after having failed to slow down the VW’s ascent with their 1960-1961 compacts, they were forced to take the small car market seriously. That led eventually to the Vega in 1971, but in the shorter term, it meant marketing the Opel as something other than with which to remodel the garage. Now the Kadett family, which included a new fastback coupe, sedans and wagon, was seen in front of the typical American garage: two Opels for the price of one Buick.
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Use the dropdown at the top right of this page to find sales figures for any other car model sold in Europe since the early 2000’s. Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
Throughout the production run, several special edition models were launched. Customers who chose a Calibra Cliff Motorsport Edition in May 1996 were way ahead of the game. Its paintwork was the same as the Class 1 racing car in which Manuel Reuter would win the ITC championship for Opel at the end of the season. The street-legal Cliff racer had a 20 mm lower sports chassis and BBS light alloy wheels (7J x 16).
But how was Opel/PSA able to shave off so much fat from the hatchback? For starters, all engines will be made from aluminum (-15 kg / 33 lbs), much like the hood (-2.4 kg / 5.3 lbs). The optimized seats (-5.5 kg / 12.1 lbs front and -4.5 kg / 10 lbs rear) contribute to this significant weight loss, while the insulating material used throughout the cabin is also a new weight-saving development. The most important diet is found in the body-in-white, which is a term referring to the body panels being joined together before adding the engine, sub-assemblies, and trim. The new BIW is an impressive 40 kg (88 lbs) lighter than the old one.
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.
Power was initially from 2.0 L 8-valve (115 bhp) and 16-valve fuel-injected (156 bhp) four-cylinder engines. In 1992 a turbocharged 2.0 L engine (204 bhp) (a turbocharged version of the X20XE) was added to the range. With four-wheel drive, a six-speed Getrag manual transmission and a claimed top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph), this flagship model finally gave the Calibra the dynamics to match its looks.
The Carnection thing was only part of Behlmann’s problems. The fact that no one was buying full-size conversion vans anymore surely couldn’t have helped. Behlmann was by far the biggest dealer in the country for those things. The ’90s SUV craze was a little slower to take hold in STL because Behlmann’s volume allowed them to sell big conversion vans for not much more than a loaded up SUV. Those vans were EVERYWHERE!
Production started on December 4, 1946. The Moskvitch 400/420 continued to be made in Moscow with some minor changes until 1956, when it was replaced by the Moskvitch 402. The latter was an all-new design apart from the engine, for which Moskvitch continued to use the Kadett side-valve engine until 1958, when it was replaced with a domestically designed OHV engine.
The Latin American Corsa received a small facelift in 1999, with smoother bumpers, and from April 2002 (when the new Corsa II was introduced) the Corsa B began being marketed as the "Corsa Classic" until 2010, where it became the "Classic" when the Corsa B derived Chevrolet Sail and Chevrolet Celta replaced it. Production finally ceased in October 2016.
During the 1930s, the Rüsselsheim plant was never given a major role in Germany's war preparations. Neither was Ford's plant in Cologne considered trustworthy enough for a big assignment, such as tank manufacture, in view of their earlier foreign associations. Initially, of course, the war was thought to be a short one settled in Germany's favour. Auto plants were shut down, to conserve resources, but not converted to other jobs. As was common with much of the production in Nazi Germany during the war, slave labor of deported civilians and Soviet POWs was utilized in the Opel factories.
That's distressing, but it's also distressing to see how far along GM and Saab dealers went with that plan. In a June 1990 article from Automotive News, even then-Opel chairman Louis Hughes said "There's quite a difference between the Calibra concept and the traditional Saab concept." That's about as close as any auto exec will get to saying "this car doesn't fit in with the brand, but we're going to badge it anyway." That Auto News story expected the car would be approved to go by the end of 1990, and that they'd be built in the same factory in Finland that turned out special Saabs like the 9-3 Viggen and all of the convertibles.
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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.