Unlike it’s sporty brethren, The Opel Kadett is a family car. It got it’s regal beginnings in 1936 as the Opel Kadett I. Many versions were produced over the lifespan of the Kadett. Like it’s model sibling the Opel GT, The Kadett made two appearances in production before being removed. It featured a streamlined body, with rolling curves and a roomy interior. Early versions were used as limousines for the wealthy and social elite in Europe. It was a classy vehicle both inside and out. Later versions were known to be a very practical small family car, typically with a hatchback design and many economical options. It was well known for having many options and effortlessly filling the needs of consumers.
In the Beginning
In the beginning, the Kadett was presented by renowned director Heinrich Nordhoff. Nordhoff later became well known for his role in aiding the success of the Volkwagen company. Sticking with the economical trend of the 30’s, the Kadett was designed to be produced at high volume with low production costs. With revolutionary hydraulic breaking and a spring suspension system, the Kadett was cutting edge for it’s time. As time went on, Opel added several options and modifications such as a different grill, extra body trim and chrome stripping. There was also a more luxury “Spezial” edition that offered a more modern and well equipped interior. For the first time in the Kadett’s history, a four door option was also available via the “Spezial” edition. The first series of the Kadett ended production in 1940. These editions were a common purchase in World War II era Germany.
In later years, the Kadett adopted a more affordable family car feel. Resurfacing in 1962, it was available in a coupe or sedan body style. It featured a modern design with many options such has a two door hatchback, four door sedan, three door caravan with sufficient rear storage space, and fastback option with very little room for storage. The Kadett met the needs of consumers by being affordable, reliable, economical, roomy in certain styles, and stylish. Like it’s predecessors, the roomier models were also used and labeled as “limousines” despite their much smaller frame. The Kadett filled a variety of needs, from a practical family car to a sporty two door fastback for leisure.
The lifespan of the Opel Kadett lasted a total of approximately 33 years, not including it’s 22 year hiatus. It’s final model would be the Kadett E. It was produced between 1984 and 1991, from factories in Belgium, Germany, Portugal and the UK. It also had many option to meet the needs of consumers, such as three and five door hatchbacks, four door sedans, three and five door wagons, and a sporty two door convertible. It had many different petrol based engine options and one 1,488 cc turbocharged diesel engine option. It was available in both automatic and manual transmissions with an option of either four or five speeds for the manual option. In 1985, the Kadett was voted European Car of the Year, as well as Semperit Car of the Year in Ireland.
Stateside, the Kadett was commonly mistaken as Daewoo LeMans and Nexia, thanks to early influence in the production of the Daewoo brand in South Korea. The Kadett was later widely known as an Astra and picked up production under the new name with the first Astra J. Astra models are still being produced today with the same economical and consumer savvy options and versatility standards set forth by the Kadett. Although considered a compact car, the Astra follows perfectly in the footsteps of its predecessor.