The Opel Astra turns 30. The German compact, which for the first time abandoned the name Kadett, was launched in 1991 with the internal code “F”. Moreover, that of Kadett was a long tradition since in 1936 Opel was the first German manufacturer to bring to the market an affordable compact suitable for every family. Soon after, the Second World War began and the car market across Europe took well over a few years to recover. Thus, the development of compact models – somewhat larger and more usable than small cars – accelerated during the years of the “Wirtschaftswunder”, the German economic miracle, so much so that Opel built a new plant specifically dedicated to the Kadett in Bochum in 1962. in Germany. Here, in 1991, the production of the Astra also began, which was also built in Antwerp (Belgium) and Szentgotthárd (Hungary).
Three sites needed to satisfy a great demand, as the Astra F remains the best-selling Opel of all time, with 4.13 million units built between 1991 and 1997. The Opel Astra F was presented in world premiere in 1991, while the world was experiencing years of great changes. Also considering the previous Kadett, it was the seventh generation of a car that represents a pillar in the history of the Russelsheim house. The car took a new name – Astra, like the British twin Vauxhall – and was distinguished by the large number of safety systems, while the possibility of recycling numerous materials used for production demonstrated a first form of attention to sustainability. The development focused on the union of a modern design with a spacious and more comfortable interior.
All Astas offered an active seatbelt system with tensioners on the front belts, height-adjustable belts and side guards such as double steel reinforcement bars in all doors. For the first time, all engines were equipped with a catalytic converter. At its debut it was available with the classic hatchback sedan body, with three or five doors; Engines ranged from the quiet 60hp 1.4-liter naturally aspirated petrol engine to the GSI’s bright and powerful 150hp 4-valve-per-cylinder 2-liter cylinder head, but soon thereafter the first 57hp 1.7h naturally aspirated diesel also arrived. A year later it was the turn of the station wagon, the four-door sedan and the van variant. In 1993 the convertible designed by Bertone arrived, which could boast an excellently proportioned line, while in 1994 the whole range was updated with restyling. The Astra F was replaced in 1998 by the G generation, but the Cabriolet remained on the list until 2000.