Opel icons

I’ve got the throttle pinned to the carpet of the OPC’s footwell, modulating 177kW through the treacherous bends overlooking Simon’s Town. The resultant roar resonates deliciously off the cliff walls on my left, a roar amplified by the soundtracks of four others. I am in the middle of the most iconic convoy of Opels I’ve ever been a part of. We do our best impression of an automotive accordion, opening up on the straights and converging on the bends as each car, representing a different era and model version in the five-generation Astra line-up, does its best to despatch the sinewy ribbon of tar that leads, prophetically perhaps, to an abandoned gun battery. The cars themselves are equally deadly (road) weapons, also facing the spectre of redundancy. What a pity. The hot hatch war still rages and Opel has been a power player for almost three decades. To lose hard-won territory due to the recession is unthinkable. But then I’m biased, I’ve owned four Astras in my twelve certified (Maybe that should be certifiable. – Ed) years of motoring.

ZEITGEIST

We’ve sourced the best of the best, ranging from an ultra-rare MK1 GTE, to the showroom-sourced OPC I’m piloting – arguably the ultimate hatcher of the crop, if only in terms of pedal to the metal manners and sheer visual drama. We’re joined by the Group N-conquering Superboss T-car, which is essentially a homologated roadgoing version of the local touring car legend, and by its spiritual successor, the torquey 200tS, which sports a boosted version of the same engine. Then there’s the gorgeous Bertone-designed Astra Coupé. An OPC was also available in this guise but we decided to go with the Coupé instead, for the sake of variety and to show off that inimitable copper paintwork.

Opel’s on-and-off love affairs with Lotus, Cosworth, Italdesign and a host of reputable tuning and engineering firms means that each car on the mountain today benefits from factory fettling of the highest class – noticeable on the downhill bits where the cars remain tightly packed despite the gaps in power outputs. These aren’t mint examples, either. Hell, they’re not even stock. These are real cars, owned by real drivers, each with their own take on performance. For a petrolhead the convoy is exciting to behold, for an Opel man it’s simply breathtaking. The chances of seeing this collection assembled again are slim; it’s been a logistical nightmare to bring five generations together. The result, however, is a worthy feast for the eyes and ears.