Opel Corsa: 40 years of history

On the sidelines of Opel's 160th anniversary, the Corsa celebrates its 40th anniversary. The manufacturer takes the opportunity to pay him a beautiful tribute through a limited anniversary series.

A collector's model characterized by several small details from 1982 fashion, it is of course modernized here to suit our times.

For us, the opportunity is also too good to return to the saga of this city car, which has sold over 14 million copies worldwide.

Time passes quickly and Adam Opel couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the current working-class city of Rüsselsheim, staffed by 15,600 employees and capable of producing 180,000 vehicles a year.

He who started in a simple barn making sewing machines before experimenting with two wheels, then the automobile in 1899.

Source: Reproduction

Adam was no longer of this world that year, but his sons took the lead in making Opel a brand whose worldwide reputation was built on quality models, with a consistently competitive price/equipment ratio.

Among the many models that made the brand successful, there is one that celebrates its 40th anniversary today. The Corsa. Before him, the versatile Kadett, which occupied both the city and family segments, was the only answer to the demand of families looking for an affordable car.

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In order to adapt to this clientele, which was also becoming more and more demanding, the Kadett continued to grow, to the point where it was no longer comfortable in the box of urban vehicles. So, in 1982, the Corsa landed on the automotive scene, with an iconic first generation.

We owe the pencil stroke of the Corsa A to Erhard Schnell, who also designed the superb GT or Calibra. And it wouldn't look like that, but the Corsa did hold the record for the best drag coefficient in its category.

Angular shapes and slightly flared fenders to bring out the virility needed to convince, not a male audience, but “the man of the house” in general. Which perhaps explains why Steffi Graf and her mighty racket kick were entitled to their special series?

Jokes aside, settling on board, 40 years later, is an experience in itself. Controls are more functional, hassle free. The very thin steering wheel or the long gear lever also testifies to another era, as does the braking of a bicycle or the exhaust smells that regularly rise up in the cabin. It must be said, for this last point, that with 800 kg empty, the little German obviously doesn't have much isolation. This, on the other hand, makes it possible to be satisfied with very little energy.

Imagine that the entry-level is only powered by a small engine of just 45 horsepower. Its GSI version, the sportiest at the time, reached just 100 hp. Another striking sensation on board, the entire cabin is bathed in light thanks to glazed surfaces and much less trimmed body pillars than we know today. Furthermore, the following generations clearly show the evolution towards comfort and safety.

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The second generation of 1993 completely rethinks its target, taking on much more rounded lines, to seduce a female audience. It has grown for better livability and offers ABS or front airbags as standard. And if a three-box version already existed before, Opel is releasing extended 5-door versions on the Corsa B and even a pickup version!

Source: Reproduction
Source: Reproduction

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