Black Gold – 1982 Opel Kadett "Corsa"

Remember the ever-so-slightly dubious “Black Gold” commercial for the 10th anniversary 1980 Datsun 280ZX? Looks like Opel wanted a slice of the solid gold easy action as well and trimmed the 1982 Kadett D with all the gold bits it could find, creating the “Corsa” special edition. It’s just as confusing as the Ford Fiesta Focus models from the ’90s, as Corsa is and has always been a separate Opel model line; perhaps they felt the Corsa nametag would add the Kadett some much-needed Italo Disco flair.

Kadetts are getting rarer and rarer, since Opels have always been an eagerly-scrapped make everywhere they’ve been offered. Seems like there hasn’t been safety in numbers, quite the contrary. These days, it’s surprising to find any Kadett in clean condition as the rust worm has been fond of Opel bodywork, and finding this somewhat rare special edition one is even stranger. Make the jump to admire it in all its early-’80s glory.

Where should I start? There are thick cascading stripes along both sides, the alloy wheels are partially gold-painted, the metal portions of the bumpers have gold stripes on them, the interior is tan… The contrast is great, but the car couldn’t have come from any other time period. There are black plastic slats on the rear window, there’s a squishy rubber spoiler on the hatch and an aerofoil on the roof as well – and a period-correct sunroof. The car has everything. It’s almost a John Player Special with the colour scheme.

The Kadett is driven by a 90-hp 1.6-litre engine. It’s fairly big-block, as most of them were 1.2-litre. There was a 1.8-litre GTE proto-hot hatch with as much as 115 hp, but I’ve never seen one of those. In a way, the 1979-1984 D-Kadett (the first FWD one) was an in-betweener: the preceding Kadett C had Stateside equivalents as the Chevette, the I-Mark and whatnot; the succeeding Kadett E was sold there as the Pontiac LeMans and in Canada as the Asüna SE/Passport Optima, but the D had no New World version.

The seller of this Kadett Corsa (it was just sold) claimed this to be one of 9 in existence here, and I don’t think all of those are roadworthy anymore. This one has been in the same family for the last 25 years, has never had bodywork repairs and looks to be in excellent condition.

I like the side profile on the Kadett a lot. Stock, it’s generic and fairly boring; with the appearance-boosting bits and the cookie alloys it’s actually sporty looking for its time. The rear window slats somehow give it a Sonic the Hedgehog sort of stance. It also has a family resemblance to the late-’70s Rekord.

I hope the new owner of the Kadett will hold onto it, and I do think that’s likely. It takes a special edition kind of person (namely an Opel enthusiast) to really “get” this car, and looking at the sales ad comments I don’t think the old owner let it go for pennies.


[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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