The Calibra holds the title of having been the most aerodynamic car in the world at its 1990 launch, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26. With engines ranging in displacement from 1998 cc to 2498 cc, the car reigned supreme over other makes at the time. Its privileged position as the most aerodynamically efficient car would be held until the end of the 90's when the Calibra was overthrown by new Audi and Honda releases, the A2 and Insight respectively.
Rüsselsheim. The sixth-generation Opel Corsa is based on a completely new design, which is the basis for an increase in efficiency. The Corsa will celebrate its premiere before the end of this year. Whether diesel, petrol or – for the first time – electrically powered, every new Corsa benefits from the lower weight: the driving dynamics improve, the fuel consumption falls. The lightest version of the next generation even undercuts the magical 1,000-kilogramme mark – excluding driver, the five-door will weigh only 980kg. Compared with its predecessor, this model variant is a useful 108kg lighter. This is a weight-saving of around 10 per cent, although the new model has a similar length of 4.06 metres. Reducing so much weight while retaining similar dimensions is a remarkable development achievement that directly benefits the customer.
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.
However, Opel Team Joest was in for a tough fight. Not only had Alfa Romeo not been sitting on their hands, Mercedes-Benz had finally found the time to build a proper Class 1 car. Although the C180 V6 DTM lacked four wheel drive and only produced 400 horsepower, it featured a 6-speed sequential transmission, F1-derived active suspension, an innovative active ballast system which counteracted the pitching and diving of the nose under acceleration and braking and an all-carbon bodyshell bringing weight down to 980 kg (2161 lbs).
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In 1924, the Rüsselsheim-based company went even further to cater to the “average consumer” – also thanks to an automotive innovation. After all, from the very first minute Opel was committed to producing cars as efficiently as possible and thus making them affordable for a broad customer base. Consequently, the 4/12 hp heralded the start of assembly line production in Germany. And because the 60 km/h fast car was only available “in a quiet green that pleases the eye” to keep the time and effort required for production at a minimum, everyone called it the “Tree Frog”. Soon, 25 two-seater “cars for everyone” left the assembly line every day. In the following years an entire vehicle family was built on the Tree Frog technology. The smoother production ran, the greater the cost advantage that Opel passed on to its customers. Unbelievable but true: the purchase price of the 4 hp model series, of which 119,484 units were produced, was almost 40 per cent lower in 1931 than at the launch of the Tree Frog model.
Journeys can be made even more relaxing and safer with the numerous ultra-modern technologies and assistance system available with the new Opel Crossland X. Innovative full LED headlamps ensures outstanding visibility in the dark. The optional head up display reduces the danger of distractions and projects the most important data on speed, navigation and assistance systems into the driver’s direct line of sight.
My brother’s best friend’s family traded in the “kids’ car”, a much abused ’55 Chevy six two door on a new ’67 Kadett B, like this one, and every bit a stripper like the Chevy 150 had been. Geoffrey was a capable driver, and some of my more memorable mind-expanding experiences in the year 1967 – 1969 came about thanks to their willingness to let younger brother tag along. That often involved sitting in the back seat of the Kadett, hanging on for dear life as every effort to catch air on the winding back roads was exploited. Perpetual caning was SOP, and I have doubts whether their Kadett lasted as long as the old ’55 Chevy six. My father’s Kadett A needed a valve job at 40k, probably precipitated by my brother’s similar abuse. He traded it in on a ’68 Dart; that tells you all you need to know.
The Corsa E has been around since 2014 essentially as a more thorough facelift of the model before it and it won’t be until towards the end of the decade when the supermini is going to be overhauled. The development phase has not been what we would call smooth sailing considering the major corporate change. We’re obviously talking about PSA’s decision to buy Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors, which is going to have a direct impact on the new Corsa.
I join in the question: “Where did they all go?” These were pretty common in the upper midwest (as imports went) in the late 60s-mid 70s. I knew a Lutheran minister who owned one (maybe a 69 or so?) in the mid 70s, and got to ride in it once. He seemed pretty proud of the fact that he had put about 80K on it and it seemed to be running strongly. Although it was starting to look a little worn, it seemed to hold up a lot better than my Scoutmaster’s 69 Cortina.
One of my step-daughters works at a Michael Kors retail store, and she keeps coming home with overpriced clothing and jewelry that she gets at an alleged discount, but she just can’t seem to understand that an “MK” logo on a watch doesn’t make it a nice watch, it makes it a cheap Asian watch with a fancy logo on it. She doesn’t understand the concept of value, she is something of a “brand whore” like her father.
** = Fuel consumption data and CO2 emission data are determined using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), and the figures are re-calculated into NEDC to provide comparative data. (according to regulations R (EC) No. 715/2007, R (EU) No. 2017/1153 and R (EU) No. 2017/11). The figures do not take into account variations in driving style, driving conditions, equipment and options including the type of tyres fitted. For more information on official fuel consumption and CO2 emission values, please visit http://wltpfacts.eu or consult your Opel dealer.
While critics raved about the Calibra's looks and performance, they were less keen on the interior which, despite sporty looking seats and some nice detailing, used a dash lifted straight from the Vectra. The Vectra also donated most of its chassis, which led to some less than flattering road tests at the time. The critics were especially harsh about the gearchange, vague steering and low-speed ride quality, although praise was heaped on the car for overall refinement, keen prices, practicality and performance.
The Kadett C appeared in August 1973 and was Opel's version of the General Motors' "T-Car". It was the last small Opel to feature rear-wheel drive, and remained in production at Opel's Bochum plant until July 1979, by which time Opel had produced 1,701,076. Of these, 52% had been exported outside West Germany, most of them to markets in other parts of western Europe.
The way it nearly came to the US is interesting, though. Back then, GM North America was a very different place than GM Europe, and it looked like there was very little interest in bridging the gap, unlike today. But after GM bought a 50% stake in the Trollhattan trolls, the General was now burdened with the problem of attracting more than devotees to an aging lineup at dealerships. The solution was to sell the Calibra to Americans through Saab dealerships, but badged as a Saab.