Opel Kadett - Kadett C (1973–1979)

Kadett C (1973–1979)

Kadett C
Also called Buick-Opel (USA)
Chevrolet Chevette (BRA)
Daewoo Maepsy/Maepsy-Na (ROK)
Holden Gemini (AUS)
Isuzu Gemini (J)
Saehan Gemini/Bird/Maepsy (ROK)
Opel K-180 (ARG)
Vauxhall Chevette (UK)
Production 1973–1979
Engine 1.0s, 1.2, 1.2s, 1.6s, 1.9E, 2.0E
Transmission 4-speed manual
3-speed automatic (5 speed "dog leg" ZF= 1.9E and 2.0E)
Wheelbase 2,410 mm (94.9 inches)
Length 4,140 mm (163.0 inches) (Coupé)
4,150 mm (163.4 inches) (Caravan)
Width 1,590 mm (62.6 inches) (Coupé)
Height 1,290 mm (50.8 inches) (Coupé)
Curb weight 790 kg (1,741.7 pounds) (Coupé)

The Kadett C appeared in 1973 and was Opel's version of General Motors' "T-Car". The T-Car was also built in Japan by Isuzu and sold as the Isuzu Gemini and in Australia where it was marketed as the Holden Gemini. In South Korea, Saehan Motor then Daewoo Motor built a version of the Gemini originally known as the Saehan Gemini, later becoming the Daewoo Maepsy and Maepsy-Na after a final facelift.

The T-Car also formed the basis of the British Vauxhall Chevette, which had a restyled front end and launched with a hatchback body, in addition to using a 1256 cc OHV (over-head valve) Vauxhall engine rather than the 1196 cc OHV Opel engine. The Chevette made the Kadett C notable by allowing it to become Opel's first hatchback — a version named Kadett City appeared in August 1975, based on the Chevette's hatchback body. The Kadett's coupé body style was never manufactured as a Chevette however. Although Kadett C production ended in 1979, the Chevette was produced until January 1984. Unusually for Vauxhall models, the Chevette was imported to Germany starting in 1979 to satisfy the need for a cheaper car than the Kadett D. This import version, however was never officially badged as an Opel or a Vauxhall - being named simply as 'Chevette'. It was replaced by the Corsa A.

The Kadett C Coupé in the Rallye and GT/E models were built first with the Bosch fuel-injected 1897 cc CIH (Cam In Head) engine, and followed by the updated 1979 cc CIH engine.


Included in the range from 1976 was the Aero-Kadett, an open-top Kadett with targa roll bar, detachable roof insert and a separate convertible top aft of the roll bar (like the contemporary Lancia Beta Spider). This car was built in limited numbers by Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart. The manufacturer's recommended retail price was DM 15,500 at a time when Volkswagen's 1303 Cabriolet was offered for DM 12,735.

The Kadett C reached the United States as the Buick–Opel. This was an Isuzu Gemini; an updated version of this car was marketed in the USA as the Isuzu I-Mark in the early 1980s.

In Brazil, the Kadett C was released six months before its European release, as the Chevrolet Chevette. It was available with a choice of three petrol engines, in 1.4 L, 1.6 L, and 1.0 L displacements (the latter available only for the 1992/3 model year); 1.4 L and 1.6 L versions were also available running on ethanol.

In Argentina GM manufactured a modified version with a locally developed 1.8 L 4-cylinder OHV motor -based on the 6-cylinder 194 engine- as the Opel K-180 in three versions "Base", "Rally" and "LX" from 1974 to 1979, when GM Argentina closed its doors.

This Chevette went through several redesigns — first front and rear panels similar to the Opel version, then a look similar to the British Vauxhall Chevette, and finally a design reminiscent of the updated USA Chevrolet Chevette version. It was available in several different bodies: hatchback (1979–87), estate (called Chevrolet Marajó, 1980–89), pickup (Chevy 500, 1984–95) and saloon (1973–93). The Chevette sold over 1.6 million units in Brazil, being replaced by the Chevrolet Corsa.

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