In March 2017, Groupe PSA agreed to buy Opel, its British sister brand Vauxhall and their European auto lending business from General Motors for US$2.2 billion. In return, General Motors will pay PSA US$3.2 billion for future European pension obligations and keep managing US$9.8 billion worth of plans for existing retirees. Furthermore, GM is responsible for paying about US$400 million annually for 15 years to fund the existing Great Britain and Germany pension plans.
More or less by fait accompli, in the absence of the tools to build the Kadett, Opel found itself in the middle-priced bracket in Germany's postwar auto market, sandwiched between Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. This position was familiar to both GM and Opel, and one in which it did amazingly well. In 1953, output rose above 100,000 units for the first time since the war, and in 1954, when the sprawling plant by the Main River was considered completely rebuilt, 24,270 were employed at Adam Opel AG and 167,650 vehicles were built, an all-time high. Opel actually fully recovered from the consequences of the postwar era.
In 1992 a potent turbocharged four-wheel-drive version joined the range. The 204bhp Calibra had a six-speed gearbox and an independent rear end borrowed from the Omega. Unlike the regular car, this Calibra Turbo struggled to find a following as it was complex and expensive, and the lack of a motorsport pedigree didn't help. The following year saw the introduction of perhaps the most sought after Calibra model. Dropping a 168bhp 2.5 V6 engine into the Calibra made for a refined and highly enjoyable grand tourer, a role that suited the spacious and comfortable car well.
Technologically, the Kadett D was a departure, as it was Opel and Vauxhall's first front-wheel-drive car. It was also the first application of the Family II engine design, with a single overhead camshaft, aluminium-alloy cylinder head, hydraulic valve lifters, with capacities of 1297 cc (producing 60 PS and 75 PS) and had a transaxle design that allowed the clutch to be replaced without removing the transmission unit. A carry-over 1196 cc Opel OHV engine from previous generations of the Kadett producing 53 hp and a top speed of 87 mph was also offered on entry level models from launch, and a new 1600 cc engine was offered after Frankfurt 1981, followed by an 1800 cc version introduced for the Kadett GSE/Astra GTE model. The Kadett D was also equipped with a 1600 cc diesel engine, an option which was first presented at the Brussels Motor Show in 1982. Another frugal model, mostly sold in Italy, was the 1.0 liter model with 50 PS (37 kW).
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.
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.
The Kadett did seem to be all over in the late 60’s early 70’s time frame, but rapidly dissappeared from the scene by the end of the 70’s. Bay Buick-GMC in Torrance CA. had an Opel sign for many years, at least until the mid-90’s. Maybe they thought Opel was coming back. Back in the early 70’s I remember a family that had a light metallic green Kadett wagon. I though it was cool for no other reason than it was a 2 door wagon.
In 1982 Opel once again accomplished a great feat with a small car: the Corsa A joined the range below the Kadett, which by now was becoming a compact model. Designed by Chief Designer Erhard Schnell, who also penned the legendary Opel GT, the only 3.62m-long Corsa was notable for its prominent rally-car wheel arches and a drag coefficient of 0.36. Offered initially as a two-door hatchback and sedan, and a five-door as of 1985, the Corsa again demonstrated how masterfully Opel can generate space on a small platform. The 100hp GSi also combined frugality with fun. Originally conceived as an entry-level model for those on a tight budget, the Corsa A had become a bestseller by 1993 with a total of 3.1 million units sold.
At the first round of the season held at the former Grand Prix track of Zolder in Belgium, Opel Team Joest’s misfortunes continued. Manuel Reuter retired in the early stages, with both John Winter (16th) and Keke Rosberg finishing a lap down on winner Alessandro Nannini (ITA) in the Alfa. Race 2 was more positive however, with only John Winter dropping early on. Reuter lead the Opel charge in 7th, with Rosberg in 10th.
As a German living in Germany, I join in the question “Where did they all go?”. Even in Germany you won`t find many Opel Kadetts “A-D”, the D-Kadett was built until 1984, being regularly driven anymore. Even at classic car shows that my wife and me attend with our cars you are sure to see at least about 30 vintage Porsche 911 or Mercedes SL for every Opel Kadett oder rear-wheel-drive (built until 1980) Ford Escort.
The case of the Saab Calibra is one I'm glad didn't pan out, but I wish the car had made it here somehow. Even weirder than this was a plan to sell the Opel Senator through Porsche dealers in the late '80s, after GM's dealers were uninterested because their lots were full of Park Avenues and didn't need another luxo-barge competing. Strange, too, since the company was willing to sell that car as an Opel until the cost of importing became too strong. That likely killed the math for sending the Calibra here, too.
EUR 24,780JPY 3,047,940BGN 48,465CZK 638,110DKK 185,084GBP 21,490HUF 8,034,419PLN 106,705RON 117,990SEK 267,104CHF 28,019ISK 3,414,684NOK 242,819HRK 183,652RUB 1,814,154TRY 167,840AUD 40,049BRL 110,873CAD 37,460CNY 191,430HKD 218,342IDR 401,414,194ILS 99,484INR 1,958,549KRW 33,036,696MXN 533,211MYR 116,015NZD 42,265PHP 1,459,492SGD 38,077THB 876,270ZAR 395,851
With a boot capacity of 410 litres the Crossland X with its SUV-styling provides one of the largest load capacities in its class - it can even be expanded to 1,255 litres. The Versatility Pack1 makes Crossland X even more flexible; the rear seats can be moved backwards and forwards whilst the backrest is adjustable and offers a 40/20/40 split-folding arrangement. The load area also features a height adjustable load floor.
The manufacturer now offered two versions of the Kadett, designated the "Kadett KJ38 and the "Kadett K38" the latter also being sold as the "Kadett Spezial". Mechanically and in terms of published performance there was little to differentiate the two, but the "Spezial" had a chrome stripe below the window line, and extra external body trim in other areas such as on the front grill. The interior of the "Spezial" was also better equipped. To the extent that the 300 Mark saving for buyers of the car reflected reduced production costs, the major difference was that the more basic "KJ38" lost the synchromous springing with which the car had been launched, and which continued to be fitted on the "Spezial". The base car instead reverted to traditional rigid axle based suspension similar to that fitted on the old Opel P4.
Replacing the orange for radiant tones of red and teal blue everywhere, it was the same in Brazil. I miss those days… at least when the loans got popularity we still could buy funny and long lasting products (Philips included) however today… I’m not surprised the 70’s and 80’s music are still popular as the cars of that time, everything today is carefully made to make us bored.
The Opel Kadett D was also built in South Africa by General Motors South African (Pty) Ltd. The South African range was made up of four-door fastback sedans, five-door hatchbacks, and a five-door estate model called the Voyage. The engines used are Opel's 1.2 litre overhead valve inline-four (L models only), or the OHC 1.3 liter (GL, GLS, and Voyage). Power is 60 PS (44 kW) and 75 PS (55 kW) respectively. Later a 1.6 liter was added and also a 1.8 in the GTE performance model.
My dad bought a Kadett when we became a two-car family in the 60’s (Mom got the Rambler Rebel, and then a 72 Impala). It lasted until ’77, when we used the Impala to help push it down the highway and into the Olds dealership where they were having a “We’ll give you $1000 for whatever you can drive onto the lot” trade in sale. (Sadly, we got an awful 77 Cutlas Supreme). I got some of my early driving lessons (in the neighborhood) in that Opel – shifting gears from the passenger seat, or sometimes riding on my Dads lap and steering.
In September 1995, the Vectra A was replaced, but Calibra production continued until June 1997. Although a smaller coupé (the Tigra) was available, the marque was left without a mid sized coupé until the Astra Coupé was launched in 2000, and with the introduction of the Opel Speedster in 2000, three years after the Calibra was discontinued, Opel finally offered a sports car again.
Design-trimmed cars lose the alloys and get 15in steel wheels, while SE models gain an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, electrially adjustable front seats, a 60/40 folding rear bench split, parking sensors and 16in alloy wheels, whole the range-topping Elite models include luxuries climate control, rear view camera, bi-xenon headlights, tinted rear windows, sports suspension and 17in alloy wheels.
My Familys first car in the US was a used 1959 Opel Rekord – I dont remember that one much but when I was 4 we got a powder blue Kadett Wagon – My mother a Berliner loved Opels – 1978-79 my Sister inherited the car as her first car and then I got it as a hand me down again in 1981 – when I first got it it had never been driven over 50 MPH so I was a bit of a shock to the poor car – but even back then it got amazing gas mileage. That is until we took it to a mechanic for a tune up and he had apparently wasn’t good with european makes – he went to adjust the carburetor and some spring loaded valve shot out and we couldnt find parts anywhere by that time. gas mileage dropped massively and running poorly the car died while crossing on the side of a field on a farm. The family there adopted it as a bit of a fort – clubhouse for a few years as we chose to buy another car when I graduated – I miss the simplicity of the car – of course I remember it fondly by I’m betting the reality of it would be a shock!
In the US, the 1968 Kadett took on the Olympia’s grille and there were other changes too. The Olympia and the US Kadett now were available with the bigger “high-cam” four, in 1.5, 1.7 and 1.9 liter versions (no 1.7 for the US). This changed the performance equation considerably, especially in the new Rally 1900, which had a new fastback to go along with its big jump in power. The 1.9 was rated at 102 (gross) and 90 (DIN-net) hp, and there was nothing that could touch it in its class. This was the equivalent of dropping the big block V8s in the GM midsize cars, the German Chevelle SS 396.
The Kadett’s role in facilitating that is a major piece of automotive history I’ve been wanting to tell for years, but finding a Kadett in this country has been impossible, despite Opel having dumped almost half a million on our shores. It took my son’s recent trip to the old country to find one, sitting on the street in Innsbruck, no less. Maybe folks back there have a greater appreciation for Kadetts and the role they played; Americans’ fling with the Kadett was a very fleeting one, and perhaps many would just as soon forget it. Not me.