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Love hate – My ongoing affair with Opel/Vauxhall Calibra

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  • Love hate – My ongoing affair with Opel/Vauxhall Calibra

    A short back story.
    1989 and the first time I saw the ads for the new Opel Calibra in red driving down a slope with a cloud of dust rising.
    https://youtu.be/AY97q1Il7CI
    It looked good in video but never thought it photographed particularly well. Roll on 6 years later and I bought a 91 Calibra, blue with a C2.0XE 4x4. I really enjoyed it, nice speed, decent grip and very practical. While living in Dublin it got stolen, used in a robbery in Kildare I think, and recovered in Tallaght. Damage was only to the drivers door lock, Steering column and clutch. All repaired I kept it for another few months including some great commuting over the Wicklow gap in some heavy snow when others were “parked” in the ditches, it was no problem to the Calibra. Family life, kids and a long commute dictated a more suitable car was needed and 91 Cally was gone. My memories were I loved driving it but it was the most unreliable car I had owned. It never failed to get me to my destination but there was always something going faulty with it.

    Now imagine your sped up montage of life, work and kids growing up.

    February 2020, roll on midlife crisis (It’s an excuse for all my madness over the last few years) and I’m searching classifieds for I don’t know what but expecting inspiration from the next click of the mouse. Yea, sod your iPads and phones for searches, I’m still old school with a laptop and mouse. Anyway, up pops an ad for a Calibra turbo on FB in the UK.
    Calibra 001.jpg
    It looks really clean and on further investigation its being sold by someone I have known and trusted for over 14 years of my Opel GT ownership. He had started up a classic car dealership and this was probably one of the newest cars he had for sale. I sent an inquiry and replied that he had a few calls already about the car and didn’t expect it to hang around long. I know it sounds like sales speak but this is a guy I trust. I sent him a deposit and said I would be over at the end of March to drive it home. Well, guess what? I couldn’t collect it as some minor inconvenience got in the way and it was July before I eventually organised someone to go collect it for me. Thanks JD Recovery Services. Met him in Dublin and drove it home. Insured with Autoline and VRT was a relatively painless process.

    The car is totally standard. Fully serviced, valid MOT, refurbished alloys, new tires and very clean. It has a near complete service history and only 71242 Miles on the clock as it had been unused for the last few years.
    Calibra 002.jpg

    Calibra 003.jpg
    When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

    Very often that individual is crazy.

  • #2
    NCT wasn’t due for about 6 months. Before the test I got a pretest done with recommendations to fix a sticking calliper, slightly high emissions, front wishbones be replaced, and the airbag light had decided to remain on. Airbag itself was faulty and got a replacement from a friend. Same as an Astra F I think. I had the front wishbones (Don’t ask why). He freed up the calliper and after throwing in an engine additive to the oil the emissions came down. It was suspected that due to not being used much the valve stem seals were letting a little oil into the engine. Little to no oil has been burnt now.
    Recently had an issue with erratic idling. I had been told it most likely was the Idle Control Valve. A :D:D:D:D:D to get at as it is under the inlet manifold, so you are undoing it blind. I got it out and relocated the replacement for easier access by recutting the existing hoses to it. Seemed to fix the issue for a short while but then the erratic idling reoccurred. After a bit of prodding here and there it turned out that the throttle position sensor was intermittent. Replaced provided a permanent cure.
    Calibra 004.jpg
    I'm not great at taking photos of my own cars but I will include a few to break up the story.
    When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

    Very often that individual is crazy.

    Comment


    • #3
      With so few events on the calendar over the last 2 years I haven’t got out in it as much as I would have liked but earlier this month, I took a 3 ½ hour round trip to Athlone C&C. Mostly motorways on the way there and backroads on the way back and I loved every minute of it. Only issue is an engine light came on a few times at motorway speeds plus but went out when I slowed down a little. Needs some investigation as no fault code shows.
      Conclusion so far after about 3300 miles. Don’t believe everything you hear about what JC has to say on the Calibra. If you consider what you have to pay for every other manufacture with a 2 ltr turbo 4x4 fast car, the Calibra really is a lot of car for the money. I don’t give a lot of thought to fuel consumption on toys but I have noticed regularly reaching high 20s in miles per gallon which isn’t bad or maybe I’m just driving hard enough. It says a lot about a car that when you have a few to choose from, including more comfortable and more powerful, this is the one I am most likely to jump into.

      Taken not long after it arrived in the country and with my other toy.
      Plans for the future? I am torn between keeping it completely standard or some light modifications such as improved brakes. Front disks are 288mm and I have carriers to allow to increase this to 305mm Opel disks. With this mod I would most likely have to change the alloys to 17”. I may just use better pads with the existing setup. I would also like to replace the bushings and thinking of installing fast road bushings after all most of them are 25 year old.

      That is everything up to date. My main aim is to get out in it more, enjoy it and document it here.
      I only realised it as I was writing this that this is my 4th Calibra in the last few years and 5th overall but this time I had decided no more project cars and I would only buy the best I could find. So far so good.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by charlie; 11-01-2022, 04:46 PM.
      When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

      Very often that individual is crazy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Fantastic two car garage there charlie. I really like the Opels of old. Following with interest.

        Comment


        • #5
          That's a lovely combo - novelty aside, which one has gotten under your skin more?
          https://www.instagram.com/diecast_1_64/

          Comment


          • #6
            If I want lots of fun with a large amount of feed back then I take the GT. If I want more comfort with the risk of loosing my licence then its the Calibra. At the moment I mostly take out the Calibra. Also my wife hates the GT. Too raw.
            They are both under my skin. Both keepers
            When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

            Very often that individual is crazy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Johnny 89 View Post
              Fantastic two car garage there charlie. I really like the Opels of old. Following with interest.
              It's not a 2 car garage but that's for another thread someday.
              When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

              Very often that individual is crazy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by charlie View Post

                It's not a 2 car garage but that's for another thread someday.
                Great stuff... look forward to hearing... any clues as to what else you have?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Johnny 89 View Post

                  Great stuff... look forward to hearing... any clues as to what else you have?
                  It's a project and if I can decide on how I want it to end up I may be able to get started on it. No clues really other than it could be the best of both worlds.
                  When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

                  Very often that individual is crazy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was waiting for this thread to come up for a while as I knew you mentioned in one of the other threads that you had picked one up. The colour is beautiful if you are changing alloys the BBS 16's from the DTM would look lovely under it.

                    It really is a gift of a find nearly all of these were stripped for parts or ruined with crazy mods or the engines stolen for other projects.

                    I'm sure you already know but keep all 4 tyres the same brand and rotate them often it will lengthen the life of the dreaded transfer box no end.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fast focus View Post
                      I was waiting for this thread to come up for a while as I knew you mentioned in one of the other threads that you had picked one up. The colour is beautiful if you are changing alloys the BBS 16's from the DTM would look lovely under it.

                      It really is a gift of a find nearly all of these were stripped for parts or ruined with crazy mods or the engines stolen for other projects.

                      I'm sure you already know but keep all 4 tyres the same brand and rotate them often it will lengthen the life of the dreaded transfer box no end.
                      Thanks FF. The transfer box is the only thing I dread even though I do have a locked box as a spare. Think i would prefer to send it to Germany for repair than use the locked box. I know how much that costs.
                      Tyres are due to be rotated shortly. Aim to do it every 2000 miles.
                      When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

                      Very often that individual is crazy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lovely car. Nice one. Unusual in blue too, they're nearly always red.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Looks spotless - Fords and Opels were my 80's and 90's cars.
                          _________________
                          Older but no wiser.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Always loved the Calibra and I also thought you had a previous build thread going? I do prefer the Opel badged unhindered grille aesthetics though.
                            I’m standing in a field full of sheep, is it wrong that I feel aroused?? 🤨🤪

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bloke View Post
                              Lovely car. Nice one. Unusual in blue too, they're nearly always red.
                              4 of the cars I have had were various shades of blue and one black

                              Originally posted by Bazg2 View Post
                              I also thought you had a previous build thread going?
                              We won't talk about that other than to say there was too much wrong with it.

                              Originally posted by Bazg2 View Post
                              I do prefer the Opel badged unhindered grille aesthetics though.
                              I do know some would swap all the badging over to Opel but I think i prefer to keep it original.
                              When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

                              Very often that individual is crazy.

                              Comment

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