One-shot: a 53-year history of the compact family on Opel

Sergio Alvarez ( @sergioalvarez88 )

Opel launched its first family compact in 1963, it was the Opel Kadett Caravan. 5.4 million cars and 10 generations later we have arrived at the Opel Astra K Sports Tourer, which we have recently been able to try out in your presentation. This is the history shot one of the most long-lived strains of family vehicles.

After the Second World War, came the “baby boom”. A demographic explosion that filled the streets of children, and presented no few challenges to the car manufacturers of the time. The concept of a family car as we know it today did not exist back then, and it was common that the traditional way is to install rows of additional seats in the rear of commercial vehicles. Gradually, some companies started to offer kits to convert commercial vehicles to transport passengers – who wanted to go on vacation and have a large cargo space in any of the cases.

In this case we are talking about Opel and was a Opel Olympia Kastenwagen – a van intended for the transport of goods – the first vehicle to be transformed into a kind of minivan. In Opel they saw the opportunity that represented this segment in its beginning stages, so in 1953 launched the innovative Opel Olympia Rekord Caravan. It was a large family whose engine just developed 40 HP, but I was able to load with a big family – no one seemed to strange to fit 4 or 5 kids in the rear bench – and their belongings. This surname could accompany the family Opel for decades, incidentally.

In 1963 Opel launched the Opel Kadett, a car that would be the seed of the compact traditional C-segment. Although the outside just measured 3,92 metres, its thin body panels and thin seats allowed for a great use of space. During the event presentation of the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer, the German manufacturer we are graced with the presence of an Opel Kadett A Caravan and an Opel Kadett D Caravan, that we could not test, unfortunately. Opel has sold 5.4 million family members since the launch of the Kadett Caravan. We believe that they deserve a good historical overview, photo to photo.

1963. Opel launches the Turning To, whose version Caravan had only three doors. With 3.92 meters in length, had a huge interior space and panoramic windows. Its small four-cylinder 993 cc developing 40 HP, which moved only the rear wheels.

1965. Already with a length greater than 4 meters, the Opel Kadett B Caravan is sold in configuration five-door shape optional, and could load loads of 1,57 meters of length in your trunk. Came to be available with an engine of 1.1 liters and 55 HP of power. It sold 2.6 million Opel Kadett B.

1973. Although the Opel Kadett C are best remembered for their fearsome sport versions GT/E, were the sedan and the Caravan which contributed to its total sales of 1.7 million cars. Was the last Kadett propulsion rear. The nice family was available with a popular engine of 1.2 liters and 60 HP.

1979. Presented at the iaa in Frankfurt in 1979, the Opel Kadett D released a new front wheel drive platform, and thanks to a packaging very efficient, in its 4.20 metres in length entered objects up to 1.420 liters of volume. Brake discs front and a new motor 1.3 KW / 75 CV were two major incentives technical.

ADAC is the most important club of motorists of Germany. Think of a RACE, of much greater dimension and age. Since the time of the Kadett B, relied on family Opel as assistance vehicles on the road. In the presentation of the new Astra Sports Tourer we were able to enjoy the presence of a flawless copy of Opel Kadett D Caravan in the ADAC, with its full equipment of a mobile workshop, which many motorists will be helped.

1984. The latest generation of Opel Kadett was launched in 1984, and was one of the first families to leave that image as grid, with the objective to pay special attention to the aerodynamics. It grew even more in size, and popularized the diesel engines in family vehicles: still look to roll those primitive 1.7 diesel air 54 HP.

1991. Come the nineties and the first Opel Astra. The Opel Astra F has been the Model most successful in the history: sold 4,13 million units in the 6 years that was on sale. Engines with electronic injection, the first airbag and more space than ever were its main weapons in a market already very competitive.

1998. tuned by Lotus, and with a design that still does not acknowledge the 18 years that have passed since its launch, the Opel Astra G was the first Astra to have a body fully galvanised. Its security was further enhanced and the growth of their battle allowed to take its capacity inside a step beyond. Was the first Astra family to carry the surname OPC, and an engine 2.0 turbo 192 HP under the hood.

2004. The Opel Astra H already had a length exceeding 4.50 metres, and the battle of 2.70 meters was the longest to date. With a last name Sport Wagon, emphasizing the playful side of those vehicles is still known as “ranchera”. Cushioning electronics, lighting, adaptive curve, or powerful turbo up to 150 HP power represented a significant challenge to its rivals.

2010. The Opel Astra J premiered the appellation Sports Tourer, and during the 6 years that was on sale had to endure – with reason – accusations of overweight and dynamics could be improved. More loaded technology, but without any radical innovation, yes I enjoyed the added space and load capacity to date, known in the family Astra.

2016. We get behind the wheel of the Opel Astra K Sports Tourer, despite being of identical dimensions to its predecessor, it is at least 110 pounds lighter – and up to 190 kg in some versions. 53 years later, it has become to equip engines liter under its hood, even if they are advanced tricilíndricos of a liter with more than double the power of the Kadett A.

2016. An image of family. 53 years of family compact Opel.