From 1986 to 2003, Opel models were produced by Delta Motor Corporation, a company created through a management buyout following of GM's divestment from apartheid South Africa. Delta assembled the Opel Kadett, with the sedan version called the Opel Monza. This was replaced by the Opel Astra, although the Kadett name was retained for the hatchback and considered a separate model. A version of the Rekord Series E remained in production after the model had been replaced by the Omega in Europe, as was a Commodore model unique to South Africa, combining the bodyshell of the Rekord with the front end of the revised Senator. The Opel Corsa was introduced in 1996, with kits of the Brazilian-designed sedan and pick-up (known in South African English as a bakkie) being locally assembled.
That makes it a similar size and weight to the outgoing Corsa, at a whiff over four metres long and 1177kg. Beyond that, new means new. Every panel on the mildly Adam-ised, slightly more butch exterior is different. Every component forward of the A-pillars is new. Every suspension component, too, as are the pick-up points for the front MacPherson struts and the rear torsion beam.
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.
By the 1970s, Opel had emerged as the stronger of GM's two European brands; Vauxhall was the third-best selling brand in Great Britain after the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland) but made only a modest impact elsewhere. The two companies were direct competitors outside of each other's respective home markets, but mirroring Ford's decision to merge its British and German subsidiaries in the late 1960s, GM followed the same precedent. Opel and Vauxhall had loosely collaborated before, but serious efforts to merge the two companies' operations and product families into one did not start until the 1970s - which had Vauxhall's complete product line replaced by vehicles built on Opel-based platforms - the only exception to the rule being the Bedford CF panel van, the only solely Vauxhall design which was marketed as an Opel on the Continent. By the turn of the 1980s, the two brands were in effect, one and the same.
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.
A prototype for the next-generation Opel Corsa has been snapped during winter testing in Northern Europe, wearing a full-body wrap. As such, it's easy to discern the car's overall shape and form, but hard to make out many of its details. Despite this, we can see it will look substantially different to the next-generation Peugeot 208, which was spied earlier this month...
But how was Opel/PSA able to shave off so much fat from the hatchback? For starters, all engines will be made from aluminum (-15 kg / 33 lbs), much like the hood (-2.4 kg / 5.3 lbs). The optimized seats (-5.5 kg / 12.1 lbs front and -4.5 kg / 10 lbs rear) contribute to this significant weight loss, while the insulating material used throughout the cabin is also a new weight-saving development. The most important diet is found in the body-in-white, which is a term referring to the body panels being joined together before adding the engine, sub-assemblies, and trim. The new BIW is an impressive 40 kg (88 lbs) lighter than the old one.
(first posted 3/9/2012) For those under a certain age, the name Opel Kadett may be as familiar as Richard Speck, The Troggs, or Valley of the Dolls. Yes, 1966 was a long time ago, but that’s when the second generation of Opel’s VW fighter appeared and knocked down the long-time king of the small car hill. VW should thank Opel for that thumping; it really needed the wake up call that resulted in a new world order, spelled: G-O-L-F.
The smallest Opel in the current line-up replaces the Suzuki co-developed Agila with a Chevrolet Spark twin. Which is convenient since the Chevy brand is now defunct in Europe. The LPG-powered Karl (also known as the Vauxhall Viva in the UK) uses the same petrol engine as all the non-LPG variants (in fact, the line-up comprises one unit altogether), offering 75 PS of power and 95 Nm of torque from a displacement of 999 cm3. Which means the smallest Opel is poised to face the Skoda Citigo, which is also offered in autogas guise in some markets, including Poland.
The first cars were produced in 1899 after Opel's wife Sophie and their two eldest sons entered into a partnership with Friedrich Lutzmann, a locksmith at the court in Dessau in Saxony-Anhalt, who had been working on automobile designs for some time. These cars were not very successful and the partnership was dissolved after two years, following which Opel signed a licensing agreement in 1901 with the French Automobiles Darracq France to manufacture vehicles under the brand name Opel Darracq. These cars consisted of Opel bodies mounted on Darracq chassis, powered by two-cylinder engines.
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.
Depending on fuel price relations in particular markets, the factory-converted Karl should pay back the price premium over its conventionally motivated sibling after covering some 50-60 thousand km. That's not exactly little for a city car, but still the LPGTEC version should be interesting to those who would normally go looking for a diesel. Hopefully we'll be able to tell you more about this latest offering from Opel when we put it through its paces in a test!
In November 2010, a facelift was announced. A revised front end was the most dramatic difference over its predecessor, consisting of a new grille, a restyled front bumper and new 'Eagle Eye' headlamps (introduced on the Insignia) which contain daytime running lamps, standard across the refreshed Corsa range. (Vauxhall versions gained the latest badge from 2008 on the front grille, tailgate and steering wheel). A new 'Touch and Connect' multimedia system from Bosch was made available as an option on certain Corsas, replacing the CD60 unit. Alloy wheels are upgraded on SXI, SE and OPC/VXR versions. Production ended in the end of 2014, with the Adam styled Corsa E released.
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.
The engine came with a choice from two power levels. For the standard 1.0 litre engine maximum output was listed as 40 PS (29 kW) at 5,000 rpm, and in October 1963 the high compression "1.0 S-Motor" was added, sharing the 993 cc capacity of the original power unit, but offering a maximum 48 PS (35 kW) of power at 5,400 rpm. The more powerful "S-Motor" engine featured modifications to the inlet manifold, cylinders and camshaft along with a carburetor employing larger (36 mm (1.4 in) diameter than the 30 mm (1.2 in) used on the standard engine. This came with an 8.8: 1 compression ratio whereas the 40 PS (29 kW; 39 hp) engine used a compression ratio of only 7.8 : 1. Higher compression ratios for performance versions of standard engines were a growing trend in West Germany in the 1960s, led by Opel and Ford, and made possible by the growing availability of higher octane "Super" grade fuel at filling stations.