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Stondon Motor Museum (116)

1981 Vauxhall Viceroy

The Opel Commodore is an executive car produced by Opel. 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 lineage continues with the Australian Holden Commodore. The last generation was sold in the United Kingdom primarily as the Vauxhall Viceroy although Opel models were also sold.

Commodore A (1967–1971)

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, Opel in February 1967 launched the Commodore as a faster up-market version of the Rekord. The Commodore was initially available with the known 2.2 L-six or a larger 2.5 L engine developing 120 PS (88.3 kW; 118.4 hp) with single carburettor. Body styles comprised a two-door or four-door sedan and a two-door hardtop coupé. In September 1967 the sporty Commodore GS offering 130 hp (96 kW) from a double-carburettor 2.5 L-six was introduced.

For model year 1969, the 2.2 L-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 und six crankshaft 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 formerly 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), which gave the car a top speed of 197 km/h (123 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).

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

Commodore B (1972–1977)

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 saloon and two-door hardtop coupé (although the fastback design was replaced by a more conventional three-box design). Power ranged from 115 to 160 PS (84.5 to 118 kW).

The Rekord and Commodore were also assembled as CKD kits in Netherlands 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.

Opel Commodores were also build in Iran between 1973–1976 under the name Chevrolet Iran or Chevrolet Royale 2800 and 2500 with both 2.5 L and 2.8 L engines by Iran General Motors Company.

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 where as the A series briefly used in Motorsports, and the extreme "Jumbo" Commodore raced 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.

Commodore C (1977–1982)

The Commodore C was introduced in late 1977, at the same time as the Rekord E. The Commodore continued to be a larger and more luxurious version of the Rekord, but was available only as a saloon with a more conservative and boxy design, following the European trend of the time. There was no coupé version of the Commodore C, as it was replaced by the Opel Monza, the coupé version of the Opel Senator. The single engine used by the Commodore was the straight-6 2.5 L.

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. 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. There was an estate version (dubbed the "Voyage" in Germany) offered in the Opel range from 1979 to 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 in the UK as a Vauxhall 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.

The Commodore was dropped by Opel in Europe and absorbed into the Rekord range of 1983. However, in South Africa, Delta (formerly General Motors South Africa) offered a revised version of the Commodore until the early 1990s, again combining the bodyshell of the Rekord with the front end of the revised Senator, which was not sold in that country. A similar model, the Royale, was also produced by Daewoo in South Korea.

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 a model with styling based on the Senator and Omega models.

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