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Photo of the day: the Vauxhall Astra is 80
The Opel Kadett - aka Vauxhall Astra - is 80 years and 24 million cars old
The Opel Kadett – more recently known as the Vauxhall Astra – is 80 years old. And here, before you, is each generation of the car neatly collected together, ahead of the birthday buffet.
Its history is a little convoluted – production hasn’t been non-stop since 1936, nor has every model been called Kadett (nor Astra). But that doesn’t make its place in the car world any less impressive: it’s been aimed at exactly the same market for the whole time, eschewing the crossover craze of recent years, and has sold 24 million cars across those eight decades.
The very first model boasted the novel introduction of independent front suspension, while it switched from a rear-driven saloon to a front-driven hatchback in 1979, a cheaper and more practical solution for family cars.
Highlights for those who like quick cars (you, we assume) are the teardrop-shaped Astra GTE hot hatch (top row, far right) of the 1980s, and the Astra VXR (front row, second from left) from the mid-2000s, a lightly torque-steery but ultimately fun Ford Focus ST rival.
And then there’s the current Astra hatchback, sitting front and centre. There may not be a hot one (yet), but it is European Car of the Year, proving the model’s relevance a whole 80 years after it first appeared. Right, where’s the cake?