During the XNUMXs, the need for cars with high-performance six-cylinder engines grew. In West Germany in particular, the car with a six-cylinder on board was considered a prestige object. Opel did not miss that either. Rüsselsheim had already built up quite a reputation with the large KAD-Opels. At the same time, the gap between the large Opel models and the Opel Rekord grew. In other words: there was room within the upper middle class to develop a sporty and luxurious car with its own model name. Thus it happened. Based on the brand new Opel Rekord C, Opel presented a new and higher positioned asset: the Commodore A. .
Yes. There was a Rekord C with a six-cylinder 2.2 engine, which was also constructed according to the CIH principle. But in fact this engine offered no added value compared to the equally strong four-cylinder 1900 S engine, which was lighter in several respects and much more popular than its six-cylinder brother. Opel did not get away with that, it had to tap into a different vessel to play a significant role in the higher six-cylinder middle class.
Existing model, modular starting point
The Opel representatives did not hesitate, but went back to the modular Opel construction system that had already become reasonably fashionable. In this case, they looked closely at the shelves and decided to use the Rekord C as the basis for a luxurious and sporty new model. That became the Commodore, which in every way was higher in the tree than the popular Rekord. The Commodore got the five-hole axles and was instantly recognizable by things like the redesigned grille, a wide aluminum strip between the taillights, more chrome, wood accents in the interior, a wooden steering wheel and different wheel covers. The Commodore was available in the classic two-door and four-door body styles. Naturally, the coupé was also on the menu, a truly beautiful car.
Chassis: few changes compared to the Rekord C
Undercarriage technically Opel made few changes compared to the Rekord C. The Commodore got the Fúnflenkerachse system with a Panhard rod at the rear. Opel also installed a stabilizer there. At the front, the wheels were suspended independently of each other, on transverse wishbones of unequal length. Furthermore, the Commodore got a separate and power-assisted braking system with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear.
Production start, exclusively with six-cylinder engines
Opel started series production of the Commodore A on January 24, 1967. The new asset in the upper middle class was available with the 2.5S CIH engine with 115 DIN hp. For a small discount, you could also opt for a Commodore with the now well-known 2.2 CIH engine from the Rekord 6. The latter model remained available for a while next to the Commodore. He eventually cleared the field. So did the Commodore 2.2, which disappeared from the books in July 1968. the slip-on became a rarity with only 1300 units sold.
The 2.5S engine initially delivered 115 DIN hp, a value that was later adjusted by Opel to 120 DIN hp, partly thanks to the installation of a new carburettor. This engine was not the only 2.5 variant. Because Opel also released the 2.5H engine with two register carburettors. This found its way to the Commodore GS and delivered 130 DIN horsepower to the crankshaft. The GS was recognizable by the red GS letters in the (matte black) grille, a double exhaust pipe and black accents. The instrumentation in the Opel Commodore GS was expanded with a tachometer, an ammeter and an oil pressure gauge. In addition, the GS version had stronger suspension.
GS/E with Bosch injection
Opel had closed the gap between the Rekord and the KAD series, and developed the Commodore further. In February 1970 Opel presented the Commodore GS/E, with the 2.5E engine equipped with Bosch D-Jetronic injection. The power source was good for 150 DIN horsepower and enabled the GS/E to reach a top speed of 190 kilometers per hour. Like the other Commodore versions, it got a manual gearbox with four gears.
GS 2.8, with standard GM TH180 automatic transmission
In April 1970 Opel presented another strong version of the Commodore: the GS 2.8 with twin carburettors, 145 DIN hp and a torque of 227 Nm. The choice to use this engine, well-known from the KAD series, had everything to do with the entrance Opel wanted to make within the higher echelons of motorsport. Certainly during the early 2.8s, this was a prestige-sensitive matter. The regulations dictated a tolerance. The 1971 engines were allowed to be bored to a capacity of three liters. In 270 a special GS/E series with a three-liter engine with 2.8 DIN hp was available. A small number of these were destined for the Netherlands. For regular use, every 180 version was equipped with the Dreigang Automatik (GM TH2.5) from the GM factory in Strasbourg as standard. This automatic transmission was also available in 1968 versions. In XNUMX this automatic had replaced the two-speed GM Powerglide transmission.
Special body styles, never on the program
The Karmann company in Osnabrück built another four convertibles based on the Opel Commodore A. Ultimately, Opel decided not to include this beautiful open Commodore in the program, because it would involve quite a high price tag. Furthermore, the Voyage - a luxury Opel Commodore station wagon - did not reach the production stage. However, the choice not to take these special versions into series production did not harm the success of the Opel Commodore A. Even without these body styles, the model had a lot of prestige.
Over 150.000 copies
The Commodore A became a prestige object for the Opel-loving motorist, who sought luxury and potential within the upper middle class. It sold well, even after Opel took the cheese slicer over things like chrome and aluminum from 1969. Between January 1967 and December 1971, Opel built 156.467 copies of the Commodore A, which became a strong competitor for the established six-cylinder order in the upper middle class thanks to a wonderful price/quality ratio. And thus unleashed a nice triumphal march before the Opel Commodore B took over the production baton in December 1971.