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But the hot news of the new Kadett B line was the mid-year 1966 introduction of the Rally. Sporting both fog and driving lights, as well as the obligatory racing stripes, the Rally was something altogether new in the small-car market: the first really overt attempt to sell sportiness in the lowest end of the small-car market, at least in the USA. The Ford Cortina GT had been doing it for a few years, but was one class bigger and a fair bit more expensive. The Opel Rally set the template for all the little pocket rockets to come; just like with the big American muscle cars, blatant economy was out, and performance, or at least the impersonation of it, were in.
Chevrolet has only released a teaser photo of the redesigned 2016 Spark minicar so far, but the final product has been hiding in plain sight as the Opel Karl that debuted at the Geneva auto show. The Chevrolet version will have a slightly different look with its brand-specific fascias, but the European-market Karl otherwise provides a good preview of the U.S.-market Spark we’ll see at the New York auto show in a few weeks.
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.
Compared with the Opel Mokka X, which comes with optional four-wheel drive for occasional off-road outings, the new Opel Crossland X is predestined for urban areas with compact exterior dimensions while also being perfectly suitable for a shopping spree at the organic farm shop or for a holiday trip to Tuscany. With a length of 4.21 meters, the new Crossland X is 16 centimeters shorter than an Astra while at the same time 10 centimeters higher. Occupants enjoy an elevated seating position and the excellent all-round view it provides. Buyers looking for an even better experience can further improve the feeling of space with the optional panoramic glass roof.
The Opel Corsa in general and the Corsa “120 Years” in particular show that it is a core brand characteristic to always offer customers more than they expect in the respective vehicle class. The foundation for this was laid at the end of the 19th century by the Opel patent motor car “System Lutzmann”. Its short price list already included two innovative extras: the first was the pneumatic tire, which was invented by Robert William Thomson in 1845, but had not yet found widespread use in automobile production. The second was the optional removable child seat available for the small two-seat motorised coach, whose one-cylinder, 4 hp engine delivered a speed of 30 km/h. This example alone clearly illustrates what Opel has been all about from the very beginning: absolute suitability for everyday use instead of technology as an end in itself.
Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
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But that all began to change quickly in the fall of 1965, when the new Kadett B appeared on both sides of the Atlantic. This ad trumpets the Kadett’s doubling of sales in 1966, and taking the number two import spot. That still left a pretty big gap behind VW, but in the next three or four years, the Kadett did enjoy a very profound explosion in the US. There were two main factors: the B was a bit bigger in every dimension, making it a somewhat more palatable for Americans, although it still used the A’s rather archaic transverse leaf-spring front suspension and a torque tube in the back with leaf springs.
It had some crazy mechanical issues. At one point it stumbled and stalled because the carburetor had come loose from the intake manifold and I had to tighten it back down! Another time, my brother was driving it and the brakes failed. Somehow the end of the brake shoe that meets the brake cylinder piston had become worn on one side, causing the piston to slip off the end of the shoe when the brakes were applied, losing braking and squirting fluid all over.
The Kadett B was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in late summer 1965, The Kadett B was larger all-round than the Kadett A: 5% longer both overall and in terms of the wheelbase, 7% wider and 9% heavier (unladen weight), albeit 10 mm (0.39 in) lower in basic standard "Limousine" (sedan/saloon) form. Production ended in July 1973, with the successor model introduced a month later following the summer shut-down, in August. The two-seat Opel GT was heavily based on Kadett B components, its body made by a French contractor, Brissonneau & Lotz, at their Creil factory.
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.
¹Opțional. Funcționează automat între 5 km/h și 85 km/h. Între 5 și 30 km/h, decelerarea pentru reducerea vitezei de impact este de 0,9 g. Într 30 și 85 km/h, sistemul reduce viteza cu maxim 22 km/h. După acest prag, șoferul trebuie să frâneze singur pentru a reduce și mai mult viteza. Gama de viteze de funcționare a AEBPD depinde de obstacolul detectat (mobil: între 5 și 85 km/h; fix: între 5 și 80 km/h; pietoni: între 5 și 60 km/h). Sistemele Opel de asistență pentru șofer au rolul de a asista șoferul în cadrul limitărilor imanente ale sistemului. Șoferul rămâne responsabil pentru sarcinile conducerii. Se preconizează că va fi disponibil din toamna anului 2017.