Opel Commodore

Last updated
Opel Commodore
MHV Opel Commodore A Coupe 01.jpg
Opel Commodore A Coupé
Manufacturer Opel (General Motors)
Body and chassis
Class Executive car (E)
Platform V body
Related Holden Commodore
Successor Opel Omega

The Opel Commodore was an executive car (E-segment) produced by Opel from 1967 to 1982. It is the six-cylinder variant of the Rekord with styling differences. The Commodore nameplate was used by Opel from 1967 to 1982. However, its nameplate/lineage continued until 2020 with the Australian Holden Commodore . [1] The last generation was sold in the United Kingdom primarily as the Vauxhall Viceroy although Opel models were also sold.


Commodore A (1967–1971)

Commodore A
Opel Commodore3.JPG
1970 Opel Commodore A Coupé
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon
4-door saloon
2-door fastback coupé
Related Opel Rekord C
Chevrolet Opala
Engine 2.2 L-I6:
95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp)
2.5 L-I6:
115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp),
120 PS (88 kW; 118 hp)
130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp)
150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp)
2.8 L-I6:
145 PS (107 kW; 143 hp)
Transmission 4-speed manual
2- or 3-speed-automatic
Wheelbase 2,668 mm (105.0 in)
Length4,574 mm (180.1 in)
Width1,754 mm (69.1 in)
Height1,445 mm (56.9 in)
Curb weight 1,130–1,270 kg (2,491.2–2,799.9 lb)

The Opel Commodore A was manufactured from 1967 to 1971, based on the Rekord C. After having offered a Rekord-6 powered by a 2.6 L 6-cylinder engine since March 1964, [2] Opel in February 1967 launched the Commodore as a faster up-market version of the Rekord. The Commodore was initially available with the known [3] A 2.2-litre six or a larger 2.5 L engine developing 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp) with a single carburettor. Body styles comprised a two-door or four-door notchback saloon and a two-door hardtop/fastback coupé. In September 1967 the sporty Commodore GS offering 130 hp (96 kW) from a dual-carburettor 2.5 L-six was introduced.

For the 1969 model year, the carryover 2.2-litre six was dropped and the optional 2-speed Powerglide automatic was abandoned in favor of Opel's new 3-speed automatic transmission.

From September 1969, the base 2.5 L-engine was pumped up to 120 PS (88.3 kW; 118.4 hp); at the same time, both remaining engines received hydraulic lifters for smoother running, a new exhaust system and six camshaft bearings. The handbrake lever was moved from its position under the dash to a location between the front seats and the fuel tank was enlarged from 55 to 70 litres.

An even more sporty model than the GS, the Commodore GS/E, debuted in March 1970. It had a 2.5 L engine equipped with Bosch D-jetronic fuel injection system developing 150 PS (110 kW; 150 hp), which gave the car a top speed of 197 km/h (122 mph). The Commodore GS/E also had a career in motorsports, with a car prepared by Steinmetz. In April 1970 a Commodore with a detuned and carburetted 2.8 L-six giving 145 PS (106.6 kW; 143.0 hp) followed (GS 2800).

156,330 Commodore As were built, including 2,574 GS and GS/E variants.

The Commodore A "V body" platform was used by GM to produce other models in many markets, these include the GM Ranger sold in mainland Europe and also in South Africa together with the GM Opala which was built and sold in South America from 1968 through to 1992. The Opala has a very big following in South America. Their production commenced two years after the Commodore A debut in 1966.

Today the name Commodore is a name synonymous with GM Holden of Australia. However, that wasn't always the case. The first-generation Holden Commodore actually is equivalent to the third-generation Opel Commodore.

GS/E History

All engines for the Commodore were 12 valve, CIH straight-six engines ranging from 2.2 to 2.8 litres. All but one engine option had single-barrel (2.2) or double-barrel (2.5; 2.8) downdraught carburetor. in 1970 the GS/E model was introduced which as its badge implies didn't utilise carburetors. The "E" meaning Einspritzung or injection in English.

Opels didn't have the reputation for performance cars in the period and they had seen the positive impact on sales for other race winning manufacturers on having performance models in their range of cars. Opel wanted to be in this area of the market and the results of this desire was the Commodore GS/E.

The carburettors were ditched in favour of a Bosch D-Jetronic, Bosch's first commercially produced electronic fuel injection system. Bosch D-Jetronic was a very early version of multi-point EFI, the “D” stood for “drucksensorgesteuert” (pressure sensor regulated). Unlike later Bosch fuel injection system, the injection was direct to the cylinder instead of via the Plenum inlets, which meant the a specific cylinder head was manufactured specifically for the engine, making this model unique and expensive to produce and purchase. Different from older mechanical injection systems, it incorporated taking input from the pressure inside the intake manifold. This is known as the Air Mass Sensor or in modern terms this would be known as the MAP-sensor (manifold absolute pressure), a part that's commonly found in more modern vehicles.

Bosch sold the patent to Japanese companies that continue to produce injection systems based on D-Jetronic.

D-Jetronic fuel injection was installed onto the 2.5 litre engine with the modified cylinder head, increasing power by 20 bhp (15 kW), making it more powerful than the larger 2.8 litre engine. The fuel injected engine, named 2500 E, now produced 150 hp (112 kW; 152 PS) at 5,800 rpm and 196 N⋅m (145 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 4,500 rpm with an unchanged compression ratio of 9.5:1. For comparison, the base model Porsche 911T in 1970 had 25 PS (18 kW; 25 hp) less, but was more expensive[ citation needed ]. The GS/E could accelerate from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.5 seconds, a similar value to the same period Porsche 911.[ citation needed ] It could also reach a top speed of 192 km/h (119 mph).

The GS/E Coupe model is known affectionately as the "German Charger".[ citation needed ]

Words from the official advert for the car from 1970:

150 bhp at your right foot ... power to kick you ahead. Acceleration that pushes you into the seats. Six cylinders that receive their fuel served electronically. An engine that doesn't let a single octane go to waste. GS/E: a lurking grumble in the two exhaust tubes.

Commodore B (1972–1977)

Commodore B
Opel Commodore vr orange TCE.jpg
  • 1972–1977
  • 1973–1978 (South Africa)
  • 1974-1976 (Iran, GM Iran)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door hardtop
Related Opel Rekord D
Wheelbase 2,668 mm (105.0 in)
Length4,607 mm (181.4 in)
Width1,728 mm (68.0 in)
Height1,380–1,415 mm (54.3–55.7 in)
Curb weight 1,210–1,305 kg (2,667.6–2,877.0 lb)

The Commodore B was based on the Rekord D, and launched in 1972. As in the previous generation, four models were offered: 2500 S, 2500 GS, 2800 GS and 2800 GS/E, as a four-door notchback saloon and two-door hardtop/notchback coupé (although the fastback design was replaced by a more conventional three-box design). Power of the 2.5-litre engine was 115 or 130 PS (85 or 96 kW; 113 or 128 hp) depending on the specifications (25S/25H), while carburetted 2.8-liters had 130 or 142 PS (96 or 104 kW; 128 or 140 hp). The fuel injected 2.8 used in the GS/E has 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp).

The Rekord and Commodore were also assembled as CKD kits in Belgium and Switzerland in the 1970s. These cars carried the name Ranger and differed from the originals in having different grilles and trim. These cars were exported to various countries.

In 1974, due to new regulations regarding pollutant emissions, the 2.5 L base models were dropped and the 2.8 L was detuned to 129/140/155 PS (127/138/153 hp). Commodore B production ended in 1977.

The Commodore B series was like the A series briefly used in motorsports, and the extreme "Jumbo" Commodore raced in the 1974 "interserie". It used a 6.0-litre V8 engine and had large wings which almost made it unrecognizable as an Opel. It never enjoyed much success despite of its massive powerplant and impressive output.

Foreign assembly

Opel Commodores were also built in Iran between 1974 and 1976 under the name Chevrolet Royale 2800 and 2500 with both 2.5 L and 2.8 L engines by Pars Khodro (General Motors Iran). [4] [5] The first Royale, also the first Chevrolet car built in Iran, left the production line on 15 January 1974. The Royale sold well initially, but the car had not been re-engineered for Iranian conditions and the low ground clearance coupled with carburettor troubles led to its reputation quickly being tarnished. The car was withdrawn by early 1977, replaced by Buicks, Chevrolets, and Cadillacs of American origins. [6]

It was also assembled in South Africa, where it was called the Chevrolet 2500, 3800, and 4100, and was a top seller in that market. These received inline-four or -six engines of Chevrolet origins, built locally.

Commodore C (1978–1982)

Commodore C
Opel Commodore C vl red.jpg
Also calledChevrolet Commodore (South Africa)
Vauxhall Viceroy (United Kingdom)
Body and chassis
Body style 2/4-door saloon
5-door estate
Related Opel Rekord E
Holden Commodore (VB)
Wheelbase 2,668 mm (105.0 in)
Length4,732 mm (186.3 in)
Width1,722 mm (67.8 in)
Height1,415 mm (55.7 in)
Curb weight 1,200–1,310 kg (2,646–2,888 lb)
Successor Opel Omega A

The Commodore C was first shown in late 1977, at the same time as the Rekord E. It only entered series production in October the following year, however. The South African version of this car, the Chevrolet Commodore, [7] was actually ahead of the European original model to enter production, in September 1978. [8] The Commodore continued to be a larger and more luxurious version of the Rekord. There was no coupé version of the Commodore C, as it was replaced by the Opel Monza, the coupé version of the Opel Senator, but a two-door notchback saloon was available until June 1981. The single engine used by the Commodore in Europe was the well-known straight-six 2.5-litre unit with 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp) or 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) when fitted with fuel injection.

The Commodore was never a success, occupying an uncomfortably narrow niche between the Rekord and Senator. Another concern was the fuel mileage, with a fuel injected Commodore taking considerably more fuel than the larger three-liter Senator. [9] The outdated engine also had little torque available at lower engine speeds, and was noisy. [10]

The new model featured a similar front end to the larger Senator. It was sold in the UK under the name Vauxhall Viceroy, with the Viceroy being a slightly more luxurious version of the Carlton. There was an estate version (dubbed the "Voyage" in Germany) offered in the Opel range from April 1981 until the end of production in 1982, which became a mainstay in the Holden range in Australia and was also available in the Chevrolet range in South Africa. It was never offered by Vauxhall in the UK as a Viceroy, although a one-off estate car was built in 1981 for Queen Elizabeth II, for her to carry her Corgi dogs. The car still survives today, one of only 15 Vauxhall Viceroys left registered in the UK, as of 2006.[ citation needed ]

The Commodore was dropped by Opel in Europe and absorbed into the Rekord range of 1983. It is this model which the early Holden Commodore models were based on, introduced in late 1978, and eventually replaced (after several facelifts) in 1988, with the VN Commodore, a model based on the then-current Senator and Omega models. [11]

Manufacture elsewhere

It was the Opel Commodore and Vauxhall Viceroy that formed the basis for the first Holden Commodore in Australia, and was sold in South Africa as the Chevrolet Commodore until 1982, when it was rebadged as an Opel. The South African Commodore was introduced in July 1978, at the same time as the Rekord E went on sale there. [12] These originally had Chevrolet engines, pushrod inline-sixes of 3.8 or 4.1 liters. [13] Sold as a standard or a GL (with the 4.1 only available as a sedan with automatic transmission), the South African version replaced the earlier Chevrolet 3800 and 4100, also based on the Commodore. [8]

However, in South Africa, General Motors South Africa (later Delta) offered a revised version of the Commodore until 1986, again combining the bodyshell of the Rekord with the front end of the revised Senator. [14] It was also sold there with the same 3-litre inline-six, producing 180 PS (132 kW). [15]


  1. "Holden axes Commodore range to focus on SUVs and utes as sedan sales dwindle". 2019-12-10. Archived from the original on 2020-02-24. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  2. Zink, Günther (2009). Oldtimer Katalog (in German). 23. Königswinter: HEEL Verlag GmbH. pp. 262–263. ISBN   978-3-86852-067-5.
  3. The 2239 cc engine with which the Commodore was launched shared its 82.5 x 69.8 mm cylinder dimensions with the four-cylinder 1492 cc Rekord engine on which it was based. The unit was first seen in the short-lived six-cylinder version of the Opel Rekord towards the end of 1966, but ceased to be offered in the Rekord after July 1967 when it became the entry level power unit for the newly introduced Opel Commodore.
  4. Wilson, Rodney (1979), The Economies of the Middle East, London: MacMillan Press Ltd., p. 6, ISBN   9781349034215
  5. Mazur, Eligiusz, ed. (2002). "Katalog Samochody Świata 2003" [World Car Catalogue 2003]. Samochody Świata. Warsaw, Poland: Print Shops Prego - Polska Sp. z o.o.: 226. ISSN   1234-8198.
  6. Qasemi, S.M. (2016-10-05). "شورولت رویال؛ خودرویی که از آغاز به پایان رسید!" [The Chevrolet Royale: A car that was finished from the beginning!]. jamejamonline (in Persian). Archived from the original on 2018-05-02.
  7. Chevrolet Commodore, South Africa
  8. 1 2 Wright, Cedric, ed. (August 1978). "New models: Chevrolet Commodore on its way". CAR (South Africa). Vol. 22 no. 7. Ramsay, Son & Parker (Pty) ltd. p. 14.
  9. Sundfeldt, Björn (1982-01-13). "Ljuva livet på vägen" [Life of delight on the road]. Teknikens Värld (in Swedish). Vol. 34 no. 3. Stockholm, Sweden: Specialtidningsförlaget AB. pp. 16–17.
  10. Sundfeldt, p. 18
  11. History of the Holden Commodore Part Two: VN, VP, VR, VS, 16 May 2018
  12. Chevrolet Commodore
  13. Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. pp. 186–187. ISBN   88-7212-012-8.
  14. 1984 Opel Commodore 3.0 E (South Africa)
  15. Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1985). World Cars 1985. Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books. p. 332. ISBN   0-910714-17-7.

Related Research Articles

Holden Commodore Car model

The Holden Commodore is a medium to large car that was sold by Holden from 1978 to 2020. It was manufactured from 1978 to 2017 in Australia and from 1979 to 1990 in New Zealand, with production of the locally manufactured versions in Australia ending on 20 October 2017. Sales of the Commodore ended in 2020, coinciding with the discontinuation of the Holden brand and nameplate entirely.

Opel Astra Motor vehicle

The Opel Astra is a compact car/small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991, currently at its fifth generation.

Opel Vectra compact executive car manufactured by Opel

The Opel Vectra is a large family car that was engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel. In the United Kingdom, the car was sold under the Vauxhall marque as the Vauxhall Cavalier and later as the Vauxhall Vectra, from 1995 onwards. It has also been sold by Holden in Australia as the Holden Vectra, and by Chevrolet in Latin America as the Chevrolet Vectra.

Opel Omega executive car engineered and manufactured by Opel

The Opel Omega is an executive car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel between 1986 and 2003. The first generation, the Omega A (1986–1993), superseded the Opel Rekord. It was voted European Car of the Year for 1987, and was available as a saloon or estate. The second generation, the Omega B, was manufactured from 1993 to 2003.

Opel Ascona Motor vehicle

The Opel Ascona is a large family car that was produced by the German automaker Opel from 1970 to 1988. It was produced in three separate generations, beginning with rear-wheel-drive and ending up as a front-wheel drive J-car derivative.

Opel Senator An executive car produced by the German automaker Opel

The Opel Senator is a executive car (E-segment) produced by the German automaker Opel, two generations of which were sold in Europe from 1978 until 1993. A saloon, its first incarnation was also available with a fastback coupé body as the Opel Monza and Vauxhall Royale Coupé.

Opel Monza Motor vehicle

The Opel Monza is an executive fastback coupe produced by the German automaker Opel from 1978 to 1986. It was marketed in the United Kingdom as the Vauxhall Royale Coupé by Vauxhall.

Opel Rekord Motor vehicle

The Opel Rekord was an executive car which was built in eight generations by the German car manufacturer Opel. Between 1953 and 1986, approximately ten million were sold.

Vauxhall Carlton Motor vehicle

The Vauxhall Carlton is a series of large family car/executive car sold in two distinct generations by the Vauxhall division of GM Europe between 1978 and 1994. The Carlton was based on the Opel Rekord E (Mk.1) and Omega A (Mk.2).

Opel Manta Motor vehicle

The Opel Manta is a rear-wheel-drive sports coupé built by German manufacturer Opel in two generations from 1970 to 1988. The Manta was a mildly sporting coupé based on the Ascona family car, akin to the Ford Falcon-based Mustang and its various imitators such as the Ford Capri. The Manta remained rear-wheel drive for both generations and also saw certain competition success.

Chevrolet Opala Mid-size car

The Chevrolet Opala was a Brazilian executive car sold under the Chevrolet brand in South America from 1969 to 1992, by General Motors do Brasil. It was derived from the German Opel Rekord Series C, Opel Commodore Series A, but used local design styling and engines sourced from North America. GM manufactured about one million units including the Opala sedan, Opala Coupé, and the station wagon variant, the Opala Caravan. It was replaced by the Chevrolet Omega in 1992, also an Opel spinoff. It was the first passenger car built by GM in Brazil by the General Motors do Brasil division. A luxury version of the Opala was marketed as the Chevrolet Diplomata.

Ranger was an automobile brand of General Motors which was produced from 1968 to 1978. Used in three main markets, the original automobile was marketed as "South Africa's Own Car" and was built in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, from 1968 to 1973. The European model range was sold in two main markets, Belgium and Switzerland. It was produced by General Motors Continental SA from 1970 to 1978 in Antwerp, Belgium. General Motors Suisse SA in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, also produced Rangers from 1970 until that factory's closure in 1975. A few Rangers were also sold in the Netherlands.

Opel Admiral Motor vehicle

The Opel Admiral is a luxury car made by the German car manufacturer Opel from 1937 to 1939 and again from 1964 to 1977.

Opel Insignia mid-size/large family car manufactured by Opel

The Opel Insignia is a mid size/large family car engineered and produced by the German car manufacturer Opel, currently in its second generation. Production of the Insignia started in August 2008, replacing the Vectra and Signum. The vehicle is sold under the Vauxhall marque in the United Kingdom, in Australia as the Holden Commodore, and sold in North America and China as the Buick Regal.

Opel Kadett C Motor vehicle

The Opel Kadett C is a small family car which was produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel from 1973 to 1979. The Kadett C, which was the third generation of the Opel Kadett, was released in August 1973, and was Opel's version of the General Motors' "T-Car". It was the last small Opel to feature rear-wheel drive, and remained in production at Opel's Bochum plant until July 1979, by which time Opel had produced 1,701,076. Of these, 52% had been exported outside West Germany, most of them to markets in other parts of western Europe. In other world markets however, various badge engineered versions of the Kadett C remained in production as late as the mid 1990s under other GM brand names.

Opel Corsa Supermini car manufactured by Opel

The Opel Corsa is a supermini car engineered and produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel since 1982. It has been sold under a variety of other brands and also spawned various other derivatives.

Opel Mokka Crossover SUV

The Opel Mokka is a subcompact crossover SUV sold by German automotive marque Opel since 2012. Sales began with the model year of 2013, at the end of 2012. In 2016, the Opel Mokka was renamed to the Mokka X. It is also sold under the Vauxhall brand in the United Kingdom, and as the Buick Encore in North America and in China.

Opel Rekord Series D Motor vehicle

The Opel Rekord D series is an executive car that replaced the Rekord C on Opel's Rüsselsheim production lines during the closing weeks of 1971 and launched on the West German market at the start of 1972. It shared its wheelbase and inherited most of its engines from its predecessor, but the bodies were completely new. Also new, announced in September 1972, was the option of a diesel powered Opel Rekord. Early advertising and press material called the new car the "Opel Rekord II" but in due course, the "Rekord II" appellation was quietly dropped and the Rekord D was replaced at the end of the 1977 summer holiday shut down by the Opel Rekord E.

Opel Rekord Series E Motor vehicle

The Opel Rekord Series E is an executive car that replaced the Rekord D on Opel's Rüsselsheim production lines in August 1977, following the end of the summer vacation plant shut-down. It shared its wheelbase and inherited most of its engines from its predecessor, but the bodies were completely new.

Opel cam-in-head engine Motor vehicle engine

The Opel cam-in-head engine (CIH) is a family of automobile engines built by former General Motors subsidiary Opel from 1965 until 1998. Both four- and six-cylinder inline configurations were produced. The name derives from the location of the camshaft, which was neither cam-in-block nor a true overhead camshaft. In the CIH engine the camshaft is located in the cylinder head but sits alongside the valves rather than above them. The overhead valves are actuated through very short tappets and rocker arms. The four-cylinder CIH was largely supplanted by the Family II unit as Opel/Vauxhall's core mid-size engine in the 1980s. A four-cylinder version of the CIH remained in limited production until 1998, and six-cylinder versions of the CIH until 1995.