It was at the 1973 Frankfurt motor show when the Opel Kadett C was launched — and it wasn’t just a mode of transport like its Kadett B predecessor. It had an attractively styled and more modern body and was far better to drive too, however, things would improve even further when the GT/E variant of the C — a road version of the racing car — came along two years later. In fact, the sporty coupe would give the Golf GTI something to think about.
Way before the letters OPC became synonymous with Opel’s hot hatches, and even before the Superboss came to be, the Kadett GT/E was the marque’s halo hatch. In fact, it was ‘The rally specialist for all days’ according to Opel and it made a healthy 105 horses which was big power for such a small car weighing only 910kg.
The 1.9-litre cam-in-head engine boasted Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injection (which the Volkswagen also shared...) and came mated to a four-speed manual. The rear-wheel drive car displayed sure-footed handling (it featured up rated anti-roll bars and Bilstein gas shock absorbers in all four corners) and could be had with a five-speed close ratio manual and a limited slip differential.
Again at Frankfurt, the ‘77 model GT/E was unveiled and it featured softer looks and a eye-catching yellow and white paint job while the following year, power increased to 115 horses. It could hit 100kph from rest in 9.0 seconds and had a top speed of 180kph.
By the end of the C’s production run in 1980, 18 different variants were available ranging from the base Junior to the flagship GT/E — and even a half-cabriolet which was based on the saloon called the Aero. Although it looked decent enough, it wasn’t a sales success.
The fact that you can pick up a clean, well mainted GT/E today for the bargain sum of just Dh25,000 puts it very high on enthusiasts lists.