Factory involvement from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Rover, Ford, Opel and finally Audi propelled the DTM into the public eye. With cars strongly resembling the ones parked down virtually every street, the series managed to gain traction among the average car buyer. Nowhere else could you see your uncle’s boring Rover take on your dad’s humble Ford in a ferocious battle to the finish line. With contact a frequent occurrence, the spectacle was complete.
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.
Power will come exclusively from a three-cylinder 1.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine developing 75 HP (55 kW) delivered to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Opel and Vauxhall say the chassis has been tweaked to provide "exceptional safety and comfort" and both cars come with traction control, hill start assist and electronic stability control.
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.
Available as standard-version or 180° panorama, the rear view camera helps you with optimal visibility all round, bird's-eye view and zoom function. What used to be invisible hazards like approaching objects from the side or crossing rear traffic, driving off becomes so much easier and safer. The zoom turns on automatically if objects are closer than 70 centimetres.
A rare "Sport" model was produced in 1985 to homologate for the sub 1,300 cc class of Group A for the British Rally Championship. These sport models were white and came with unique vinyl decals, a 13SB engine with twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, an optional bespoke camshaft, a replacement rear silencer, and few luxuries. This gave 93 hp and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) with a 0–60 mph time of 8.9 seconds. These are by far the rarest models (500 produced) and thus acquire a high market price if one does become available.
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.
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The suspension and brakes got some serious attention too, and the Rally 1900 was quite the sensation in its brief heyday, and garnered a very positive review by Car and Driver. (see related story on C/D’s Opel Kadett assassination story). Until the Ascona/Opel 1900 (CC here) came along in about 1971, the Rally carried a bright flame for Opel. The Ascona had been planned as a replacement for the Kadett, but when Ford launched their very bare-bones Escort, Opel kept the Kadett on, although at least in the US, it reverted to a very basic trim level and only with the 1100 cc motor, and sales swooned, due to rising prices as a result of the falling dollar.
Joseph DeBattista and his son, Joey, acquired this Lapis Blue wonder after trading a Volkswagen. Owing to its rarity, they had to be creative with the restoration. While Joey was hunting for parts on eBay, his father bent metal to perfection, slowly completing a car that will always remain an underdog, a nice conversation starter, and a fail-proof daily driver. Just ask Richard Hammond, if you need more proof.
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.
Detail improvements, such as a new dashboard and a steering-column shift, embellished the Kapitän line in May 1950. Bigger changes were saved for March 1951, to anticipate the opening of the doors of the Frankfurt show on 19 April for an 11-day run. Its earlier fast-back style was modified to a mild notch-back contour, and a new horizontal grille – not the prettiest in Opel history – dominated the frontal view. With a higher compression ratio (still only 6.25:1), engine power was 58 bhp (43 kW; 59 PS) at 3,700 rpm and top speed was 80 mph (130 km/h). Output increased to 60 bhp (45 kW; 61 PS) during the further life of this model, which ended in July 1953.
Further information about official fuel consumption, official specific CO2 emissions and consumption of electric energy can be found in the “guideline about fuel consumption, CO2 Emissions and electric energy consumption of new passenger cars” ('Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen') in German language, which is available free of charge at any point of sales and at DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Helmuth-Hirth-Straße 1, D-73760 Ostfildern.
Clever design tweaks set the KARL ROCKS apart from most of its A-segment rivals. The functional silver roof rails, rugged front and rear bumpers with integrated skid pads, front and rear wheelhouse moldings and unique 15-inch bi-color-look alloy wheels blend in perfectly with typical Opel design cues such as the Opel blade that sweeps dynamically up towards the rear. Combined with the sloping roofline this creates a dynamic, sporty appearance that links the KARL ROCKS to the KARL while simultaneously giving it a distinct rugged look.
The Opel Kadett B was sold from 1966 to 1973, with two- and four-door versions (including notchback and, from 1967, fastback form), a three-door wagon, and two coupés (regular and fastback). There was also a competitive Opel Kadett Rallye, with a 1.9 liter engine. The Kadett B was sold in the United States through Buick dealers from 1967 through 1972. Kadetts were technically simple cars whose task was to compete with the market leader, the VW Beetle. Schuco is a legendary German toy manufacturer, founded in 1912. The company achieved worldwide fame with its toy cars manufactured in the '30s, '40s and '50s, many of which were patented. While Schuco continues to issue a limited number of metal retro-toys for collectors, today the company is better known for its amazing diecast vehicle replicas. Working directly with manufacturers and car collectors, Schuco painstakingly re-creates each vehicle in miniature, often incorporating tiny details only visible with a magnifying glass. Most Schuco models are issued in specified limited quantities, and once gone, will not be made again. That’s why wise collectors know that a Schuco model isn’t just a purchase: It’s an investment with a lifetime return of enjoyment.
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).