We like the Calibra. We’ve owned one, and it was fantastically reliable. We’ve written a post detailing why you should buy one. And when we’re not working, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be on the likes of Car & Classic looking for one. Yep, the Calibra is a car that Not £2 Grand has a lot of time for. And rightly so. This feat of vehicular design was from Vauxhall. VAUXHALL?! How could the company that gave us the Carlton be capable of, in the same breath, building a car like this? The mind boggles, but whatever the reasoning may have been, we’re glad it came about.
Of course, there are some who will dismiss the Calibra as being nothing more than a Cavalier in a sharp suit. And they’d be right, but so what? It’s like it was based on a Trabant. The Cavalier was a decent car. Why not base a coupe on it? General Motors had the platform there, so why spend millions developing another one? To dismiss this car because of that is a fool’s move. No, the Calibra isn’t a full-on GT car, but it drives well and the common underpinnings mean it’s cheap to run and maintain. Happy days. And of course, there are some other reasons why you should buy one. Five reasons, as it happens…
1) Just look at it
1989. That’s when the Calibra came out. Look at it though. It still looks sharp, it’s still impossibly sleek and the design is just so very well balanced. Those thin, wide headlights, the beautiful profile of the roof, the sharp arse on it. Ooof. It’s just a very, very pretty car. If you drive a Calibra, nobody is going to ask you how it is, instead they’ll just want to know more about it. It’s a car that you can enthuse about, and rightfully so. One that on looks alone, you’d be proud to own.
2) You’ll learn all about drag
The big story with the Calibra was the impressively low drag-coefficient. Drag is basically the resistance an object creates as it move through a fluid environment like water or air. The Calibra was a revolutionary car in that the drag-coefficient was 0.25. Something that wasn’t beaten for another ten years (Honda Insight, 1999, in case you’re wondering). But don’t worry if you don’t know what that all means. Buy a Calibra and many, many Clives and Geoffs will tell you. Don’t ask them; there’s no need. Just arrive, watch their nerdy eyes light up, and wait for them to tell you all about it. Which they will. Every time.
3) It’s remarkably practical
Cavalier underneath, innit? That means it’s very practical. Two full-sized humans can get in the front without issue. You can fit two smaller ones in the back with ease (tall human beings won’t thank you if you stick them in the back though, as headroom is limited). Then, you can fill the frankly massive boot with all their stuff. And the boot is massive. We had a baby when we had ours, and never once were we short on space for pushchairs, nappies, poor life choices or whatever the Mrs. had bought from Mothercare that week. Not once.
4) They respond well to modification
Now don’t get your knickers in a twist. If you put a body-kit and 20s on your Calibra before having it wrapped in a camouflage motif, you deserve to be brought into the street and beaten. However, if you drop the suspension a few mm – 40 or so – and fit some bigger wheels, nothing more than 17-inch, you will make an already good looking car exceptional. Unless you put TSW Venoms on it, in which case you need to have a word with yourself. You loon.
5) Prices are going up, fast
Again, the Calibra is over thirty years-old now. It’s getting into classic territory, let alone modern classic. For years, the Calibra was ignored, it was scrapped, it was modified to oblivion or it was driven into the ground. Now though, the enthusiast market has looked around and come to the sudden realisation that there are none left. Turbo and 4×4 Turbo models are getting on for £10k now, with 16V models close behind. However, the odd V6 in ‘project’ condition, and the 2.0 eight-valve versions can still be had for a couple of grand. Get one, look after it, and pretty soon you’ll be able to cash out. It’s not like Vauxhall is making any more.