The Opel Kadett and it's journey.
We look into the iconic Kadett from it's birth in 1937 to it's end in 1991...
The Kadett, produced by the German manufacturer Opel, was invented in 1936 as a 'small family car'. It was produced between 1937 to 1940 then again from 1962 to 1991 (The Cabrio continuing until 1993) until it was replaced by the Astra.
Kadett I (1936-1940)
The Kadett I was the first Opel car the carry the Kadett name, being presented to the public in December of 1936.
These were the first generation on Kadetts. The Opel Kadett 1937-1940, Kadett Strolch 1938, Kadett series II 234 and the Kadett Moskvitch 400 1947-1954.
Kadett A (1962-1965)
The Kadett was re-introduced in 1962 after 22 years since the original model was discontinued in May 1940. Like it's predecessor, it was marketed at a 'small family car' only now it was available in 2 door, saloon, 3 door estate and coupe versions.
The two models in this generation were the Opel Kadett Coupe 1962-1965 carrying a 993 cc engine, and the Kadett L 1964-1965.
Hammond's 1963 Kadett
It's Oliver ya'll! Who could forget?
He was bought back from their Botswana adventure and restored by the man himself, and he still lives today. My younger self never forgets coming home from school every day to watch Richard Hammond's Blast Lab on CBBC, always to be excited about Oliver's appearance. It's no secret that not just Richard fell in love with him, but all of us over here did too, it was a pull at the heartstrings when he was christened the name Oliver on national television. I was also pleased to know that my granddad owned one of these, even in the same colour, it's a shame it isn't still around today :(
Kadett B (1965-1973)
This generation of Kadett was larger all-round than the Kadett A. 5% longer overall in terms of wheelbase, 7% wider and 9% heavier, however production ended in July 1973.
The Kadett B generation includes the Opel Rallye Kadett 1965-1970, Kadett 4-door Limousine, Kadett B coupe F 1967-1973, Kadett LS Fastback Sedan saloon 1967-1970 and the Kadett B 3-door Caravan (Kombi) 1965-1973.
Kadett C (1973-1979)
The Kadett C appeared in 1973 and it would be the last Opel to feature rear wheel drive. It remained in production until July 1979 which by that time Opel had sold 1,701,076 of them, 52% were exported outside Germany.
This generation of Kadett includes the Kadett Coupe 1973-1979, Kadett Caravan 1973-1977, Kadett Coupe GT/E, Kadett C 4-door 'Limousine', Kadett City and the Kadett C 'Aero' 1977.
Kadett D (1979-1984)
The Kadett D (Otherwise known as the Vauxhall Astra Mark 1 in Britain) was introduced in August 1979, it would be Opel's first front wheel drive car. It had the first application of the Family II engine with a single overhead camshaft, aluminium-alloy cylinder head, hydraulic valve lifters with capacities of 1297cc, it had a transaxle design which allowed the clutch to be replaced without removing the transmission unit.
This was a small generation of kadetts. It included the Kadett 3-door 1983 and the Kadett Caravan 3-door 1979-1984.
The range of engines used were used for later models of the Vauxhall Corsa and the Nova: 1196cc, 1600cc, 1800cc and the 1600cc diesel engine.
Kadett E (1984-1991)
The Kadett E was first introduced August 1984. It was voted European Car of the Year in 1985. The 1984 model was a more conventional 3-box design with a tailgate, badged as the Vauxhall Belmont in the UK. In South Africa, the Kadett Notchback was sold as the Opel Monza along with a convertible, which replaced the Opel Ascona. A convertible was also available for the first time in 1987 bringing it in line with popular competitors such as the Ford Escort and the VW Golf.
For the 1988 model, capacities were raised from 1.3 to 1.4 litres. The Kadett E was never officially sold in Britain, it was seen as a grey import and by 1989, General Motors was only marketing the Vauxhall brand in the UK, although the Astra's assembled at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port Plant were exported to the rest of Europe badged as Opel Kadetts.
The Kadetts of this generation include the Kadett Caravan 1984-1989, Kadett Sedan 1985-1989, Kadett 3-door 1989-1991, Kadett 5-door 1989-1991 and the Kadett Sedan 1989-1991.
The Kadett E would be the last generation of Kadetts until production seized in 1991, only the Cabrio continuing production until 1993.