Depending on the model version, the Corsa is as suited to singles and couples as to whole families. So it comes as no surprise that more than 13.5 million units have been produced since 1982. “The Corsa remains one of our most important models across Europe”, says Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. The bestseller therefore plays a leading role in this anniversary year. “Opel has been democratising mobility for 120 years”, added Duchemin. “In our cars we make pioneering technology and comfort features affordable for all. This is what we stand for and the best example of this is the Corsa! Our anniversary model line-up has the right car for everyone – with extensive equipment and at best prices.”
Unfortunately, Opel’s first victory in the DTM turned out to be as much of a fluke as the podium at Hockenheim. The Calibra’s fell behind once more, and resorted to occupying the lower end of the top 10. The airfield circuit at Diepholz, a third visit to the Nurburgring and the high-speed section of autobahn known as the AVUS-ring were all without meaningful results.
During its lifetime, the Calibra was much more popular in Europe, and outsold its nearest rival, the Ford Probe, which was considered to be underpowered, and very American for most European drivers. However, in the United Kingdom, it failed to outsell the Rover 200 Coupé, which offered comparable performance, but without 4WD in the top of the range models.
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.
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Using a gear-driven system, power was taken from the 6-speed sequential gearbox forward to the half-shafts, which appeared to embrace the raucous 54 degree V6. By doing this Opel had cleverly avoided a nose-heavy car, giving them a significant handling advantage. Weighing in at 1040 kg (2292 lbs)m the car looked like a serious challenger for Alfa Romeo.
Instead, it had the same front fascia as the Latin American Chevrolet Corsa, possibly because GM South Africa wanted the same front fascia as the sedan and pickup, as swapping with the European front fascia would have been expensive sawing and welding due to the Latin American Corsa's sharper headlights. This car was 2001 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.
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The Opel Calibra is a coupé, engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel between 1989 and 1997. In the United Kingdom, where it remained on sale until 1999, it was marketed under the Vauxhall brand as the Vauxhall Calibra. It was also marketed as the Chevrolet Calibra in South America by Chevrolet, and the Holden Calibra in Australia and New Zealand by Holden.
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.
The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.