We’ve come a long way from the beginning of mass production and automobiles. Vehicles are safer, and smarter than ever, and production techniques have implemented modern, revolutionary tactics.
That doesn’t mean the past wasn’t innovative, though. Opel has defined the innovation timeline with its Astra Sports Tourer, which began with humble beginnings in the 1963 Opel Kadett. Even from the start, Opel strived for innovation, touting the 1963 Kadett’s fuel tank outside of the cargo area, meaning no gasoline smell inside. It also arrived with a water-cooled front engine, a dig at the then über popular Beetle, and it produced a stout 40 hp.
As the Kadett wagon took on the CarAvan name through the 1970s, engineering continued to set the wagon apart from competitors. It became longer, more powerful and even introduced a double-wishbone front axle.
By the millennium, Kadett had been shelved for the Astra name we know today, but Opel continued to strike a balance between affordability, and engineering. The Astra G CarAvan arrived with a fully galvanized body, and was first to the performance wagon arena with the Astra CarAvan OPC. It was the quickest wagon in 2002, and topped out at speeds of 150 mph on the Autobahn.
Now, as we are upon the Astra K Sports Tourer, the CarAvan name has also been replaced. Naming strategies may come and go, but innovation runs deep. The Astra K Sports Tourer is the first vehicle to introduce LED Matrix lighting technology in an affordable vehicle, and its slew of clean-burning diesel and fuel efficient petrol engines helped earn the 2016 European Car of the Year award.
Never forget where you came from, even if the beginnings are quite humble.