Sloan suggested that GM take the helm of Opel again for a two-year "probationary" period to see whether the economic conditions, then called "close to stagnation" in Germany, would improve. Sloan set other important goals: "General Motors should risk no additional capital in Opel. Credit facilities should be available. We should have complete freedom in personnel policies and administration. The products produced by Adam Opel AG should be solely within the jurisdiction of management, and if prices had to be approved by government authority, a reasonable return on the capital should be allowed."
The saloon and estate car versions were produced in China by Shanghai GM as Buick Sail and Buick Sail S-RV, respectively from June 2001 to February 2005. That year, they received a facelift and became known as the Chevrolet Sail and SRV. In September 2006, Chile became the first country outside China to receive the Chinese assembled Sail; it is called the Chevrolet Corsa Plus there, available as a four door saloon with a 1.6 L 92 PS (68 kW) engine. The Corsa Plus includes dual front airbags, anti lock brakes, air conditioning, electric windows and central locking as standard equipment.
Just at war's end, a small skeleton crew began clearing the rubble from the plant. By May 1945, this work had advanced enough to allow the beginning of production of desperately needed Opel parts. Getting the materials for them was more dependent on barter and black markets than it was on normal sources of supply, which had all but ceased to exist.
That makes it a similar size and weight to the outgoing Corsa, at a whiff over four metres long and 1177kg. Beyond that, new means new. Every panel on the mildly Adam-ised, slightly more butch exterior is different. Every component forward of the A-pillars is new. Every suspension component, too, as are the pick-up points for the front MacPherson struts and the rear torsion beam.
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.
Launched in 1962, GM Europe's small car for the 1960s, the Opel Kadett, looked like a shrunk Chevy Nova, and hid a 1.0-liter water-cooled overhead-valve four-cylinder up its nose. While this motor had pre-War origins, it was a good one. It weighed just 211 lbs, revved beyond 6000 rpm, and made 54 horsepower in the high-compression 'S' version, as long as you used premium fuel.
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.
The 5-door Corsa was essentially the same car as the 3-door version with little differences to tell the two apart, except the extra set of doors, of course. Powered by an almost identical range of engines, the 5-door Corsas had a large wheelbase which lead to a trunk volume increase from 9.2 (for the 3-door) to 10 cubic feet. The GSi was not a level equipment to be found among the engine-milder ...
Technically, Calibra was closely related to the first generation Opel Vectra. It was styled by General Motor's designer Wayne Cherry and German designer Erhard Schnell. The Calibra united exciting design with optimized aerodynamics and everyday practicality. The wide-opening tailgate gave easy access to a versatile, 980-liter luggage compartment. Generous standard equipment included power steering, a five-speed close-ration gearbox, a six-speaker audio system and tinted windows. Air conditioning, a four-speed automatic transmission and an electric tilt/slide sunroof were among the options.
In marketing terms the "Kadett KJ38" was intended to fill the niche that Opel had recently vacated with the departure of the Opel P4, but the KJ38, priced at 1,800 Marks, was more expensive than the P4 and its reduced specification left it with the image of a car for poor people (..Image des Arme-Leute-Autos..) at a time when economic growth in Germany was finally fostering a less minimalist approach to car buying. The "Kadett K38 Spezial" fared better in the market place: in 1938 and again in 1939 it was Germany's top selling small car. By May 1941 the company had produced 17,871 "Kadett KJ38"s and 56,335 "Kadett K38 Spezial"s.
GM retains an engineering centre at Millbrook in the UK and is no stranger to tuning cars there, because it knows that British road conditions are different from those elsewhere. So whereas Opel Corsas, belying their German engineering origin, will apparently have greater straight-on stability to their steering, UK cars get a different power steering tune (electric assistance makes that much easier).
The 114bhp 1.0-litre engine fires to a near-silent idle, and in general it’s responsive and keen. It revs willingly, and such is the quietness and consistency of output that there are times while cruising when you could be in any of, say, three gears and you wouldn’t notice much difference in either noise or throttle response. It drives as standard through a six-speed gearbox that is occasionally notchy but otherwise positive.
A convertible version wis an aa available, for the first time in 1987, biggit bi Bertone o Torino/Italy, bringin it tae line wi key competitors sic as the Ford Escort an Volkswagen Golf which wur available as cabrios afore. For the 1988 model, capacities wur raised tae 1400, 1800 an a new 2000 cc ingine, again uised on the GSi an Vauxhall Astra GTE. In 1988, a 16-valve twin-cam version wis developed for a hie performance GSi/GTE model, yieldin 156 hp (115 kW) in manufactured form.
*Fuel economy values are determined through CO2 measurement in accordance with the latest ECE R101/SANS 20101 standards, as prescribed by South African government, conducted in a controlled environment and were correct at the time this disclaimer was published, which is subject to change. The specifications are for comparison purposes between the different vehicle models available in the S.A market which are all tested in the same manner, specific driving cycles and controlled environment.
A mark of General Motors' confidence in their plans for the small car sector, and something that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhall Viva had in common, was that the manufacturer built for each new model a completely new car plant in a region characterized by relatively high unemployment and the availability of a skilled workforce, but with no strong tradition of volume auto-making. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car built at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant while the Kadett A was the first product of Opel's new purpose built Bochum plant. Ellesmere Port and Bochum would effectively become sister plants, producing subsequent generations of Kadett as well as their Vauxhall badged sisters (the Chevette and Astra) for the next fifty years.
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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 GSi's engine mapping had been carried out by Opel tuning specialists Irmscher. A model with the 82 PS (60 kW) 1.4 L multi point fuel injected engine, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi, also became available as the Nova SRi in the United Kingdom. In January 1988, a turbocharged version of the Isuzu diesel engine was introduced, with power increased to 67 PS (49 kW).