Rüsselsheim. In 2019 Opel celebrates 120 years of automobile production – and thereby 120 years full of innovations for everyone. The German brand has a tradition of pioneering high-tech advancements and quickly bringing them to series production. This makes mobility affordable for many and the cars safer, cleaner, more comfortable and more practical. The 120 years advertising campaign, “Opel. Born in Germany. Made for everyone.” is based on this philosophy. It was as true of the first Opel – the Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” of 1899 – as of all the other models that followed, from the “Doktorwagen” to “Laubfrosch” (Tree Frog), P4 and Kadett. Today the philosophy matches the Opel Corsa more than any other model.
The decklid badge says it's an automatic, but there's a four-speed manual inside. Was it a decklid or transmission swap? Either way, these cars were very, very cheap; the MSRP on a 1967 Kadett two-door sedan was $1,657 (about $12,500 in 2018 dollars), which compared favorably to the $1,639 Volkswagen Beetle that year. The Kadett had 54 hp to the Beetle's 53 (and weighed 93 fewer pounds than the Volks, to boot), so it was a bit quicker. On top of that, it had a heater that worked, plus a design dated a lot later than the late 1930s. Of course, most American car buyers looking for something economical preferred stripped-down versions of "traditional" American cars, e.g., the Chevy II ($2,090), the AMC Rambler American 220 ($2,073) the Ford Falcon ($2,118), or the Plymouth Valiant ($2,017). The Corvair two-door was $2,128 that year, too, and let's not forget the $1,790 Toyota Corona sedan.
The facelifted 2004 model was also imported, however, in December 2005, the Corsa C was dropped from the Australian and New Zealand Holden ranges as a cost cutting measure by GM, and was replaced by the Daewoo Kalos, rebadged as a Holden Barina. Motoring journalists were scathing in their criticism of the new model, particularly the bland handling, lackluster engine and below par safety features. The Kalos-based Barina was subsequently replaced with a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Sonic.
Power first came from 1.0 L 45 hp, 1.2 L 55 hp, 1.3 L 70 hp and 1.4 L 75 hp petrol engines. (The first engines were all equipped with carburetors; fuel injection came later, but never for the 1.0.) The engines were based on the well proven Family II design, except for the 1.0 L and early 1.2 L engines, which were based on the OHV unit from the Kadett C.
The Opel Corsa also keeps up with its competitors in terms of luggage space. With 286 liters of trunk space, an acceptible amount for storing 2 large or 3 medium-sized suitcases, most travelers will be able to fit whatever they need for their trip. For smaller travel groups who won't utilize the rear seating, the back seats can be folded down, providing additional luggage space totalling 1100 liters.
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.
But the hot news of the new Kadett B line was the mid-year 1966 introduction of the Rally. Sporting both fog and driving lights, as well as the obligatory racing stripes, the Rally was something altogether new in the small-car market: the first really overt attempt to sell sportiness in the lowest end of the small-car market, at least in the USA. The Ford Cortina GT had been doing it for a few years, but was one class bigger and a fair bit more expensive. The Opel Rally set the template for all the little pocket rockets to come; just like with the big American muscle cars, blatant economy was out, and performance, or at least the impersonation of it, were in.
In 2014, Opel revealed the fifth generation Corsa model, which almost looks like its Adam smaller brother minus the funkiness. The major design changes can be seen especially at the front, where the smiling grille sits more higher, encompassing a chrome ornament and the Opel badge, new headlights and foglights surroundings as well as a new hood. Te side profile is more accentuated by two sharp l...
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.