German automaker Opel was at one time widely known for providing cutting edge, modern cars to their consumers. The Opel Omega was no exception to the rule. Beginning production in 1986, the Omega was a full sized luxury car. It was marketed worldwide, and is best known in the United States as the Cadillac Catera, in Australia as the Holden Commadore, and the Chevrolet Omega in South America. Production for most Omega variations ended by 2003, with no replacement or successor. Like many of Opel’s models before, the Omega had a variety of bodies and options to meet the needs of consumers.
The Opel Omega A was the fist of the Omega family to see production. Released in 1986, with manual and automatic transmission options, it was intended for use as a replacement for the earlier Opel Rekord. Soon the Omega saw success and became an entity all its own. Designed for efficiency, it was built to be aerodynamic. With optimal fuel efficiency and sleek design, it was voted European Car of the Year in 1987 – a mere one year after its premiere on the market. The Omega was cutting edge at the time, with many modern features including anti-lock breaks, LCD instrument panel display, and an on board computer that could diagnose itself and relay problems to mechanics via specialized equipment. It boasted a multitude of trim packages, known as LS, GL, GLS, and CD. They ranged from simple, affordable packages to more expensive, flashy options. The Omega also offered a vast selection of engine options for their consumers.
Many expensive luxury variations of the Omega were produced, including the Lotus Omega, the Omega 500, and the Omega 3000. The Lotus was a high performance, racing based car with technical specifications to increase speed and performance. Omega 500 was built specifically for competing in a German car racing series known as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Miesterschaft. Known to others as the German Touring Car Championship, it was short lived and thus was the life of the Omega 500. A sportier version of the Omega A, the Omega 3000 featured a 3.0 liter engine and a lower suspension. It had a top speed of 240 kilometers per hour, making it one of the fastest cars in its class. However, it did not fare as well as expected in the racing industry and posed no immediate threat to those racing against it such as the 5 Series, produced by BMW.
Like everything must, production for the Omega ended in 2003. While it was a well loved and consumer ready car, time went on to reveal that the Omega depreciated quickly and became unreliable. It was not uncommon to see an Omega being used as a traffic patrol car in the United Kingdom in the last years, however the popularity continued to wane and production of the Omega ceased. Some photos rumored to be a re-release have surfaced over time, but no there have been no comments from Opel to confirm the plan to reproduce or the authenticity of the photos. The Omega has yet to have a formal successor.
Opel has been widely known for manufacturing and designing cars to meet a spectrum of consumer based needs, and that reputation is upheld with the production of the Omega series. Although it eventually became known for its less favorable qualities, the Omega had a short period of success with enthusiasts and common consumers alike. With versatility to serve as a practical family car as well as a high performance German racing model, the Omega was definitely one of a kind and very versatile.