Curbside Outtake: Holden Calibra – The Sexiest Vectra

holden calibra

This is the closest I’ve come to seeing a Holden Calibra in the metal in years, craning over a chain-link fence to snap a long-distance photo of a beaten up example in a body shop’s yard. When (if?) I stumble across a better example, I will do a proper Curbside Classic. The Holden (née Opel) Calibra was a shapely coupe variant of the Opel Vectra, which was launched in 1989. Upon its release, it was touted as the most aerodynamic production car, with a cD of 0.26. The Calibra would outlive the family car from which it was derived, but would die in 1997, unreplaced and, at least in Australia, unmourned.

opel calibra range

The Calibra may have sunk without a trace in Australia, a notoriously coupe-averse market, but it wasn’t for lack of Holden’s trying. Initially launched with only a 2.0L 16-valve, 147 hp four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual, or a 113 hp, 8-valve four mated to a four-speed automatic, the Calibra would later receive a smoother, 167 hp 2.5L V6. Even more exciting, the Calibra would receive a 201 hp Turbo 4×4 variant. Poor sales means Calibras are thin on the ground in Australia, and Opel reliability wasn’t exactly exemplary either. The Calibra’s dynamics weren’t exactly as racy as the styling but still, don’t you wish GM had gotten over its Not Invented Here syndrome and launched the Calibra as a sporty Oldsmobile or Pontiac captive import?

pontiac sunbird le

And if you don’t agree with me, let’s just look at what Pontiac’s J-Body looked like at the same time. Nice, but not Calibra nice, and certainly no Turbo 4×4 variant to be found!