What we have here, then, is a three-door, four-seat coupe, its wide-opening tailgate neatly disguised within the flowing lines down to the rear bumper. Launched in 1989, the Calibra was sold in the UK for the best part of 10 years, although it’s rare to see one now – especially anything as nice as this extremely low mileage example from Vauxhall’s heritage fleet.
The saloon model was built and sold in Latin America as the Chevrolet Corsa Classic until 2010, when it was replaced with the model previously released for China in 2005 as the Buick Sail. A budget version introduced for the Brazilian market, the Chevrolet Celta, has bodywork resembling the end of the 1990s Vectra and Astra. The Celta was sold in Argentina as the Suzuki Fun for a certain period.
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.
The parent company PSA is also preparing the transition to the electric age: By 2025, the carmaker intends to offer offshoots with electric or hybrid drive for all 40 models of its brands. It will start in 2019 with all-electric versions of the Peugeot 208 (reservations opened in the UK last month) and the DS3 Crossback. An electric version of the Peugeot 2008 will follow in 2020. PSA’s plug-in hybrid offensive starts in 2019 with a corresponding offshoot of the DS7 Crossback, the PHEV versions of the Peugeot models 3008 and 5008, the Citroën C5 Aircross and the Grandland X mentioned above.
*The fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures mentioned are determined according to the NEDC homologation regulations (R (EC) No. 715/2007 and R (EC) No. 692/2008, in the versions respectively applicable), which allows comparability with other vehicles. From 01/09/2017 the fuel consumption and CO2 emission values of certain new vehicles are determined using the new worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), and the relevant values are translated back into NEDC to allow the comparability. Please contact your dealer for the latest information and to check if the values have changed.
Chevrolet has only released a teaser photo of the redesigned 2016 Spark minicar so far, but the final product has been hiding in plain sight as the Opel Karl that debuted at the Geneva auto show. The Chevrolet version will have a slightly different look with its brand-specific fascias, but the European-market Karl otherwise provides a good preview of the U.S.-market Spark we’ll see at the New York auto show in a few weeks.
Still, a number of Kadetts has been captured as trophies by the Red Army and available for study and reverse-engineering. This project was conducted by design bureaus formed as Soviet-German joint ventures under the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD). There were 11 of them in total. One in Berlin (reverse-engineered the engine and transmission. Another in Schwarzenberg worked on the steel body. The wooden-bodied station wagon was developed in Chemnitz. The vast majority of the personnel of these design bureaus were German specialists and craftsmen hired by the Military Administration. These design bureaus not only prepared the necessary blueprints and documentation, but also provided the wooden master model for the body. They even developed the new trim pieces which distinguished the Moskvitch from its Opel prototype, including hood emblems and hubcaps with a large "M" (for "Moskvitch"). However, the stamping dies and most of the tooling had to be produced in the USSR.
Detail improvements, such as a new dashboard and a steering-column shift, embellished the Kapitän line in May 1950. Bigger changes were saved for March 1951, to anticipate the opening of the doors of the Frankfurt show on 19 April for an 11-day run. Its earlier fast-back style was modified to a mild notch-back contour, and a new horizontal grille – not the prettiest in Opel history – dominated the frontal view. With a higher compression ratio (still only 6.25:1), engine power was 58 bhp (43 kW; 59 PS) at 3,700 rpm and top speed was 80 mph (130 km/h). Output increased to 60 bhp (45 kW; 61 PS) during the further life of this model, which ended in July 1953.
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.
Cars and truck production lines were lost by Opel. As reparations for war destruction, under plans of the Allied Forces, the Soviet Union asked the Allied military government for the tools, jigs, dies, fixtures, and drawings for the Kadett. This, they said, they would use to begin auto production at an Opel subsidiary in Russian-occupied Leipzig. The equipment was duly delivered to the Soviets in June 1946, and that was the last Opel was to see of it – but not of the Kadett.
The Kadett D was introduced in the middle of August 1979, with deliveries on the home market beginning early in September 1979. In November 1979, the car went on sale in the United Kingdom, some five months before the Vauxhall Astra Mark 1, the British version, was launched in April 1980. The cars were designed as three- or five-door hatchbacks and estates or station wagons. There were also two- and four-door sedans featuring separate boots/trunks, which shared the silhouettes of the hatchbacks: in the United Kingdom, the sedan versions were soon withdrawn, until the 1986 launch of the MKII-based Belmont. For the first time since 1965 there was no coupé-bodied Kadett in the range: the previous Kadett C coupé was indirectly replaced by the three-door 1.3 SR sports model.