You may remember the beloved Opel Kadett A named “Oliver” that Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame slogged through the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan of Botswana. He became so attached to the little car that he had it restored and owns it to this day. Hammond’s love of this classic comes with good cause as it was a secret weapon of Opel developed specifically to invade the dominance of Volkswagen during the 1960s. Even though it delivered similar levels of horsepower (around 40 hp) it did offer better heating as well as more interior and luggage space. The Kadett’s popularity and engine reliability provided a resurgence for Opel and the car was exported to many countries including the United States. Whether you punish yours in the muck and mud or reserve your driving strictly to the road is entirely up to you.
The range has a high level standard specification compared to similar vehicles from other manufacturers, including a lane departure warning system, cruise control, speed limiter, trip computer (instant MPG, average MPG, average speed, stop watch and trip computer), tyre pressure monitoring system, electronic stability program and traction control, front fog lamps and cornering lamps.
My parents got a ’66 Wagon in December, 1965, just after the ’57 Beetle they had owned ground its engine to bits on the way to my grandmother’s house in ‘DC. I still remember the chemical smell of the upholstery, those black rocker switches on the left side of the dash with little diagrams in lieu of English, and the twin plastic bulges in the “way back” for the fuel tank and spare tire. The clutch pedal fell apart the first year, and I remember it being an ongoing battle getting it to start in wet weather; GM sold (thanks for nothing!) some kit that was supposed to fix the problem, but it never really went away. The rest of the clutch also eventually fell apart, though I’m not sure if that was Opel’s fault or that of the last person to service it. My father got $50 for it just before he took delivery of a fuel-injected VW Type 3 “Squareback” in 1969; a much better car for only a little more money. There seem to be plenty of references to Kadettes loosing parts in these comments, so I can’t help but assume that they weren’t screwed together all that well. But I also suspect that with more diligent customer support from GM and Buick, these problems would have stayed fixed longer, some of the chronic problems of this car (like starting in North-American weather) would have been worked out and they would have stayed on the road longer. Such support was probably more than what anyone could expect from a Buick dealer used to selling twice the car at twice the price.
The base car was available only as a two-door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon). Customers looking for a soft-top "Cabrio-limousine" would need to specify a "Kadett Spezial". For the first time Kadett buyers, provided they were prepared to choose a "Kadett Spezial" could also specify a four-door "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) bodied car, priced at 2,350 Marks as against 2,150 Marks for a "Spezial Cabrio-Limousine" and 2,100 Marks for a two-door "Spezial Limousine".
The Opel Kadett was reintroduced by Opel in 1962, with deliveries beginning on 2 October, a little more than 22 years after the original model was discontinued in May 1940.[1] Like the original Kadett, the new car (designated the "Kadett A") was a small family car, although it was now available in 2-door saloon, 3-door Car-A-Van (estate) and coupé versions.

The Opel Corsa is a supermini car[1][2][3] engineered and produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel since 1982. It has been sold under a variety of other brands (most notably Vauxhall, Chevrolet, and Holden) and also spawned various derivatives in different markets. Its current fifth generation is built in Spain and in Germany. However, despite its global presence, it has never been sold in the United States or Canada.
The real people’s car successor was the 1962 Kadett A. The low maintenance costs were expressly part of the recipe for success of the two-door notchback model. The lines were matter-of-fact and modern. At the same time, the interior space was anything but typical of a small car. The advertising promised “well-formed seats, plenty of legroom. We have dispensed with overhanging metalwork and unnecessary bells and whistles. That would only have cost a lot of money.” Instead, the boot was a real luggage compartment and – the fuel filler cap was on the outside! “You never have the smell of petrol in your boot,” it said with a wink towards Wolfsburg. With its modern, water-cooled front engine, the Kadett offered a further design advantage over the Beetle. “Opel Kadett, in short: O.K.” – Opel built almost 650,000 units by 1965 alone.
Opel will already open the order books for two new electrified models in the first half of 2019 – for the battery electric version of the next Corsa, and for the Grandland X SUV as plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. “Opel is going electric!” said Opel CEO, Michael Lohscheller. “That is what we announced at the presentation of our PACE! strategic plan in November 2017, and now we are delivering.”
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.[7] 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.[8] 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.
The new four-cylinder, oversquare one-litre water-cooled Opel OHV engine weighed only 96 kg and was the first all-new engine developed by Opel since before the war. The side-mounted camshaft was driven not through gear-cogs but using a single chain with a hydraulic tensioner, the valve train employing rocker-arms and light-weight hollow rods. The arrangement was low on weight and on friction, permitting engine speeds above 6,000 rpm. The pistons were formed from an aluminium-alloy and incorporated a bimetal expansion strip to ensure uniform thermal expansion. The three-bearing forged crankshaft was of more traditional construction. The carefully designed aluminium inlet manifold provided for efficient feed of the fuel-mixture to the cylinders and helped provide the engine with good fuel economy characteristics.
Competitive pricing led to commercial success, and Kadetts continued to be produced during the early months of the war: by the time production ended in May 1940, following intensification of World War II, 106,608 of these Opel Kadetts[6] had come off the assembly line at Opel's Rüsselsheim plant, which had been the first major car plant in Germany to apply the assembly-line production techniques pioneered by Henry Ford.
All of this was a product of corporate leverage and synergies and all of these corporate-sounding words that sound so much better when Jack Donaghy says them. The cynical say that the idea to badge Opels as Saabs happened a few years later with the second-generation 900, which shares a lot of pieces with the Calibra, but in reality they're very different cars. As a Saab, I say the Calibra would've been derided from the start and its reputation ruined that way. Listen to Chris Goffey and his beard go on about its styling and merits when he drove it as the Vauxhall Calibra on old Top Gear.
The GSi's engine mapping had been carried out by Opel tuning specialists Irmscher. A model with the 82 PS (60 kW) 1.4 L multi point fuel injected engine, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi, also became available as the Nova SRi in the United Kingdom. In January 1988, a turbocharged version of the Isuzu diesel engine was introduced, with power increased to 67 PS (49 kW).[8]
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