Opel Kadett (D) Profile

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Opel Kadett (D) General Information

Note: This Opel Kadett D and the British Vauxhall Astra Mk1 are exactly the same cars. This is even important to note, as outside UK this was still known as the very successful Kadett model range now in its 4th generation, German Opel fans may not even know the Astra name came as early as this. But indeed the Kadett changed from a RWD saloon/coupé to a FWD hatchback, a very fitting moment for a model name change, which is exactly what Vauxhall in UK did despite the massive success of the Chevette.

In the top sporty version in Germany this car was called the Opel Kadett GT/E. But caution: Despite the identical names, this is not the classic Opel Kadett GT/E as in the RWD Kadett C Coupé. This is a hatchback and it is the first FWD Kadett. It as well wasn't going to be the big FWD Kadett number as this Kadett GT/E had only a 1.8 8v engine and was run alongside the Opel Manta 400 groupB, which enjoyed Opel's main attention at the time.

It is slightly difficult to pin down the point of this car as a groupA rally car. Though nice if a manufacturer cares for a large number of amateur drivers. But this car came into groupA when Opel Ascona B 2000 and Opel Manta B GT/E were still a big story. In fact the FWD Kadett D and the RWD Manta B were homologated into groupA at roughly the same time. And even though the Kadett D GT/E was not a bad car, it is hard to see why anyone would chose a 170BHP FWD Opel over a 185BHP RWD Opel for rallying. Indeed even as a groupA works car the Manta seemed to be the preferred option. I only know of one Kadett D as a proper works car, and that was given to newcomer Charly Beck for a German championship program 1984. However all the sudden the Kadett D received a kick start when in the snow of the WRC Swedish Rally 1984 a young Kenneth Eriksson performed miracles and drove it into 7th place overall. All the sudden some important names were seen in this car. Still the story ended rather soon again too when at the end of the same year the Kadett E (now top version called GSI at Opel but GT/E as the Vauxhall Astra Mk2) debuted in rallying. And that Kadett E GSI soon came with more powerful engines too and therefore soon turned into a real good alternative for many drivers, as the Manta was not getting younger either.

Really the Kadett D deserves more recognition. But on the road it suffered the same problems as the rally version. I feel the Volkswagen Golf GTI is overhyped, the Kadett C GT/E as a RWD Coupé also looked sporty, was relatively light and had 110BHP long before the Golf matched that figure. And although a completely new design, the Kadett D had typical Opel family looks at the time and still was very unique, see its triangle air vents in the rear side windows and a relatively flat tailgate. Maybe the Escort Mk3 was even more unique and beautiful, but engines of max 96BHP at first for an RS2000 replacement? Somehow the Opel shared the same sensations with the Escort, only not as extreme. With Opel having turned the Kadett theme into a FWD hatchback, they now needed to be compared to the Golf GTI. And the Kadett GT/E at least I feel looked a lot more interesting and more modern than the Golf, but until the Golf 2 arrived the Kadett was nearly 300mm longer, heavier and despite previous Kadetts being available with engines up to 2.0L, neither 2.0 nor 16v arrived until we had the E-Kadett. Well, very interesting in this particular comparison is that with the Golf 2 the famous Golf GTI suddenly got much bigger, heavier, but not really more powerful, while at Opel the Kadett E was not really bigger than the D but got more and more powerful engines. So with Golf 2 vs Kadett E we must have come to a point that who still believes the Golf is everything hot hatch GTI must be blindfolded, the Kadett surely long had the legs of the Golf! The Golf 2 seemed to go completely into the wrong direction while the Kadett D already was a good car with the Kadett E building on that with stronger engines.

You see as well that the Kadett D already arrived in 1979 and never was rallied at all for another 3 years. I guess what I am trying to say is: For turning the Kadett into a FWD Golf competitor, Opel did a very good job, it was a nice looking, characterful, capable car, but it could have done with the famous E-Kadett engines to compete the smaller and lighter Golf 1 GTI, and therefore it struggled to make its mark as Opel's first FWD hot hatch. And that's us back at square one again: Although Kenneth Eriksson in Sweden 1984 showed that the FWD Kadett was indeed a very capable car, just why would you want to rally it as long as you can wait in your Manta for the more powerful next generation?

Opel Kadett (D) Related Content

Opel Kadett (D) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Opel Kadett (D) GT/E (84-0) 170/7200 195/5200 3998.1656.1380 980 (5.8) FWD (2520)

Random Opel Kadett (D) Photos

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Opel Kadett (D) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
12th. 1985 WRC Swedish Rally B. Johannsson A. Olsson #15 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
7th. 1984 WRC Swedish Rally K. Eriksson L. Larsson #24 [UNKNOWN] 4:41:01
20th. 1984 WRC Rally of Great Britain A. Wood S. Bond #43 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

Opel Kadett (D) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1987 WRC Swedish Rally D. Metcalfe N. Hunter #54 [UNKNOWN] SS99 road crash
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye San Remo P. Fabbri P. Cecchini #27 [UNKNOWN] SS99 engine
Ret. 1985 WRC Rally of Great Britain D. Metcalfe . UNKNOWN #58 [UNKNOWN] SS47 engine
Ret. 1985 WRC Rally of Finland T. Tahko . UNKNOWN #38 [UNKNOWN] SS9 clutch
Ret. 1983 WRC Rally of Great Britain H. Hockly . UNKNOWN #88 [UNKNOWN] SS26 engine
Ret. 1982 WRC Rally of Great Britain H. Hockly . UNKNOWN #147 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?