|More Information on the Opel Speedster|
The Opel Speedster is a British-built mid-engined, targa-topped, 2-seat sports car sold by the German automaker Opel, introduced in July 2000.
It was built in both RHD & LHD versions, at the Lotus Cars plant in Hethel, Norfolk, England. It was sold as the Vauxhall VX220 in the United Kingdom and the Daewoo Speedster in the Asian market.
The car shared much in common with the Lotus Elise, although Opel claimed few parts were interchangeable.
Design and development
Due to the changes in European crash safety regulations for the 2000MY, Lotus needed to replace the original Elise. In October 1999, they struck a deal with General Motors in order to have sufficient investment for a new car. As part of the deal, Lotus agreed to develop and produce the Opel Speedster and Vauxhall VX220 on the new Series 2 Elise chassis. The first Speedster concept car was shown at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show.
Whilst the new Elise would use a 1.8-litre Toyota engine, similar to that found in the Toyota Celica, the Speedster was designed to use a 2.2-litre GM Ecotec engine from the Opel Astra. Neither engine had been used in the original Elise, which was fitted with an 1.8-litre Rover K-Series engine. In order to accommodate the production of the new cars, Lotus expanded its Hethel factory to a capacity of 10,000 cars, with around 3,500 slots allocated to Speedster production.
Production of the Speedster commenced in 2000. The Speedster utilizes an aluminium chassis tub that weighs only 72 kg (159 lb). The car also features bodywork made entirely of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). The entire car weighs only 875 kg (1,929 lb), which made it 100 kg (220 lb) lighter than the similarly-sized Toyota MR2. At launch, the Speedster's all aluminium alloy 2.2 L Z22SE engine produced 147 hp (149 PS; 110 kW), making the Speedster considerably more powerful than the Elise was at launch.
As an answer to calls for a more powerful version of the Speedster, Opel introduced a new 2-litre turbocharged version of the Ecotec engine, which produced 200 hp (203 PS; 149 kW), but also weighed slightly more, at 930 kg (2,050 lb).
The turbo version was able to reach a top speed of 242 km/h (150 mph) and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds.
The car was hailed by the motoring press as a great drivers' car and won several accolades, including Top Gear's Car of the Year in 2003. The 2.2 NA (naturally aspirated) version was considered the easier drive of the two standard variants, and some journalists recommended that the Opel/Vauxhall car was better value for money than the Lotus (such as Jeremy Clarkson in his 2003 DVD Shoot Out).
Speedsters were displayed with the Daewoo badge, although only one was built to be used for marketing purposes. A final version, the track-oriented Speedster, based on the turbo model, was tuned to give around 220 hp (164 kW; 223 PS) and used 16 in (406 mm) front wheels that allowed the fitting of smaller front tyres to give sharper handling.
Production ended in July 2005, with no direct successor. It was not until February 2007, when GM Europe adopted the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky into the Opel GT, that GM Europe had a replacement sector product, with no RHD version for the United Kingdom.
Opel ECO Speedster
The Opel ECO Speedster is a concept car made by Opel in 2002. The OPEL ECO Speedster is related to the production Opel Speedster and the Opel GT and it is a 2-door coupe with 2 seats and gullwing doors without any driving mirrors.