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Quicks » News » 2014 » Rewind to 1985: Opel Kadett

Opel Kadett which inspired the Vauxhall Astra design
Welcome to this week’s edition of Rewind where we’ll tell you about a former European Car of the Year. However, as always we’ll recap some of the talking points from the year to give you an idea of what was going on.

It was a big year for gamers as the first Nintendo console was released in the USA. There was also first in the world of television as the BBC’s most successful soap opera, Eastenders, was initially aired. As well as firsts, there was a last that year, as Roger Moore appeared for the final time as James Bond in A View to a Kill.

The impressive feat of being the youngest recipient of a degree in the UK was achieved in 1985 by Ruth Lawrence. She studied Mathematics at the University of Oxford at the age of just 13. Elsewhere, the UK’s manufacturing industry took an upward turn after years of suffering, as Nissan started constructing their cars in their new Sunderland production plant.

We’ll finish with a bit of popular culture to end our recap of 1985. Shakin’ Stevens topped the UK Christmas charts with Merry Christmas Everyone’, and across the pond in America, the Edmonton Oilers beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the final of NHL’s Stanley Cup.

Now we move on the car chat, probably the main reason why you’re reading this article. 1985 saw the Opel Kadett comfortably claim the European Car of the Year award ahead of the Renault 25. If you’re a fan of the Vauxhall Astra and have owned one in the past, you can thank the Kadett because much of the Astra’s excellent features originated from its predecessor.

The Kadett is quite unique in relation to the other cars we have reviewed in this Rewind feature as it was first manufactured way back in 1937 and was in production for 3 years. It made its comeback in 1962 and eventually had its long lifespan ended in 1991 to make way for the Astra.

It was the ‘E’ (5th) edition which was launched in 1984 that won the car of the year title in 1985 and certainly impressed the judges. Despite the standard model being kitted out with a 1.2L engine, the Kadett had excellent power levels and still remained extremely economical.

Its attractive design and sporty chassis meant the Kadett scored well in terms of aesthetics and another area it performed well in was versatility. Available in a saloon, hatchback and an estate (internally known as the ‘Caravan’), it was a model that was aimed at a mass market and to gain as many customers as possible.

The best way to measure the car’s popularity is to simply look at the length of time it was in production. The Opel Kadett was one of the most worthy winners of the European Car of the Year award.

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