Friday 3 December 2010
The front-wheel drive Corsa was first launched in April 1983 to replace the Opel Kadett C City. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door versions arriving in 1984. The basic model was called just the Corsa, which was followed by the Corsa Luxus, Corsa Berlina and the sporty Corsa SR. Six years later, the Corsa received a facelift, which included a new front fascia and some other minor changes. The models were called LS, GL, GLS and GT. The Corsa was known in the UK market as the Vauxhall Nova.
Power first came from 1.0 L 45 hp, 1.2 L 55 hp, 1.3 L 70 hp and 1.4 L 75 hp petroleum engines. (the first engines were all equipped with carburators, fuel injection came later, only on the 1.2 and 1.4 engines). The engines were based on well proven GM Family II design, except for 1.0 L engine which was based on the OHV unit from the Kadett C. There was also a 1.5 L diesel engine available, which was also used in the Isuzu Gemini at around the same time. The engines and most of the mechanical components were derived from those used in the Astra/Kadett.
A rare "Sport" model was produced from 1983 in order to homologate for the sub 1300 cc class of Group A for the British Rally Championship. These sport models had SR suspension, SR engine with twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, a bespoke camshaft, close ratio GTE gearbox, and few luxuries. This gave 93 hp and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) with a 0-60 mph time of 8.9 seconds. These are by far the rarest models (500 produced) and thus acquire a high market price if one does become available.
A 1.6 L multi-point fuel injected engine with 100 PS (74 kW) and capable of 186 km/h (116 mph) was later added to the Corsa/Nova, giving decent performance and being badged as a GSi (GTE in pre-facelift models in the UK, later models were all called GSi). A model with an 82 PS (60 kW) 1.4 L multi-point fuel injected engine also became available as the SRi, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi.
The design was freshened in 1990 with new bumpers, headlights, grille and interior, but the car was showing its age against strong competition such as the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 106.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1200 cc
- horsepower: 55 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 150 km/h