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Opel Reviews

Opel was founded in 1898, and initially built Lutzman and Darracq cars before introducing its own cars. Opel established itself as a respected carmaker, but didn't make enough profit to sustain the company during the 1920s - and the end result was General Motors took over in 1928 in order to take a share in the European market.

Under GM's ownership, Opel became the European market leader by the end of the 1930s. After the war, the Kapitan and Rekord ranges were the mainstay of Opel’s catalogues, joined by the smaller Kadett A in 1962. Gradually Opel’s range combined with that of GM’s British arm, Vauxhall. The two marques are separated by their badging, although Opel carries out the engineering, simply handing the results over to Vauxhall.

Good: American styling, German engineering
Bad: One for German car fans only
Good: Simple, honest, surprisingly charming for such a basic car
Bad: Never imported into the UK so a hardcore choice, people might think you're Richard Hammond
Good: American-inspired styling, big choice of engines, supremely well-engineered and refined
Bad: A bit too left-field for your average classic car fan in the UK
Good: Solid engineering, sharp looks
Bad: Underpinnings not as advanced as the styling
Good: More stylish than the Kadett A, available in Rallye form, sold in the UK
Bad: Saloons don't have anywhere near the same level of desirability as the Coupes
Good: Fine engineering and a wide range of engines, lots of room, quick in larger-engined forms
Bad: Try and find one, and if you can it's likely to be rusty
Good: Punchy straight-sixes, brilliant GS/E coupe is a delight to drive
Bad: The rest are a bit forgettable, despite their competence
Good: Like a Kadett B but more luxurious
Bad: You might wonder, now, what the point actually was
Good: Great styling, fun to drive, excellent handling
Bad: Rusty examples are still relatively commonplace
Good: Superbly well-engineered, will always be remembered for siring the gorgeous Bitter CD
Bad: One for Europeans or hardcore Opel fans
Good: Great looks, nice handling and steering, coupe looks and four-seats
Bad: Rust, low values compared with more elaborate rivals such as the Ford Capri
Good: Solid, safe and good to drive in 1.9-litre form
Bad: Rusty and hard to find parts for
Good: Well-made, solid and roomy
Bad: Lacking in charisma, suffers from 1970s GM corrosion
Good: Commodore GS/E looks great, has pillarless windows and is a swift all-rounder
Bad: Saloons thirsty and are hardly any more appealing than the Rekord they're based on
Good: Offered in a bewildering array of version, all of which are economical and great to drive
Bad: Rust is an ever-present issue, smaller engines are rough
Good: Fine performance and handling, cool styling
Bad: Rare and really hard to get hold of in the UK
Good: Open-topped motoring, sensible style
Bad: Lacking in the charisma department
Good: Smart and somehow classier than the equivalent Vauxhall, excellent to drive, quick in 2.0-litre form
Bad: Rust, rarity
Good: Good to drive, sharp styling
Bad: So few survivors now
Good: Good driving position, strong petrol engines, tidy handling, huge estate version is a great load carrier
Bad: Laughably slow diesel version - but extinct now
Good: Smooth six-cylinder engines, as solid as the four-cylinder Rekord is was based upon
Bad: Thirsty and not usefully quicker than the Rekord
Good: Another finely engineered good to drive big Opel, fast in 3.0-litre form, based on tried and tested components
Bad: Lacking some charisma compared with its rivals, not as well made or rust resistant as it could be
Good: Big, brutishly stylish, surprisingly capable high-speed cruiser
Bad: GS/E is an all-time great marred only by its digital dashboard, rust gets them especially on the sills and inner wings
Good: Great to drive with both excellent performance and roadholding
Bad: Rust was a big killer, as was camshaft failure in the Family II engines
Good: Well engineered, excellent handling rear-wheel drive coupe, good performance, roomy interior
Bad: Rusty, too many unloved 'projects' still around