Three decades later, the first-gen Corsa still looks cute.

What is it?

The Corsa is a subcompact car engineered, designed, and produced by German automaker Opel. It’s on the market for 35 years now, but has never been sold in the United States.

When and where was it made?

The Corsa has five generations and we will focus on the original, first-gen model and its final facelift variant. Following a light refresh in 1987, it was launched in 1990 and sold until 1993, and produced in Zaragoza, Spain.

1987-1990 Opel Corsa

Why is it awesome?

Think of it as what the Golf is for Volkswagen – still in production after more than three decades, a landmark in its segment on the European continent. It was an instant sales hit when it debuted back in the early 1980s – some 500,000 units were delivered in the United Kingdom alone (under the Vauxhall Nova name) during the first ten years of production with about 1,750 of them still on the road even today.

While the mechanics were derived from the slightly larger Astra/Kadett, the Corsa was a small, charming vehicle offered with three or five doors. Initially, it was available with four gasoline engines and a Isuzu-sourced diesel, joined by a flagship 1.6-liter multi-point fuel-injected motor in 1987.

1987-1990 Opel Corsa
1987-1990 Opel Corsa
1987-1990 Opel Corsa

The 1990 facelift brought refreshed design with new bumpers, headlights, and grille, and almost completely redesigned interior. It was still clearly recognizable as a makeover of the early 1980s model, but the facelift kept it fresh and competitive to the new Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio for three more years.

What’s so special about this ad?

The Corsa A was very well advertised on the markets it was available. A TV commercial from 1986 featured Ritchie Valens’ hit "La Bamba”, while another ad from 1990 featured famous British actor Angus Deayton.

But our favorite Corsa commercial is this cute Tom & Jerry animation aired in Germany in the early 1990s. It’s a charming small car for a charming small character with impressive levels of computer animations for that decade. What’s not to love!

More from the 'Classic Ads' series:


Photos:
AutoWP

Gallery: 1987-1990 Opel Corsa