was a happening guy in the ‘80s. His engaging personality,
the right haircut and the keys to a certain red hatchback made him a hit with the ladies. Fresh out of high school, I figured he was someone I needed on my male role-model list.
I worked on my conversation skills, grew a mullet and started saving for the hatchback. Of all the weapons in his considerable lady-killer repertoire, I coveted Uncle Rob’s Opel Kadett GSI the most. With its 1,8-litre engine delivering a mighty 85 kw, it could just dip under 10,0 seconds for the 0-100 km/h sprint and the speedo would nudge 200 km/h if you were as brave and daring as my uncle.
I also had a Kadett, but it was the boxy, previousgeneration 1,1-litre base model and the ladies did not like it all that much. I would eventually scrape together enough money to make a down payment on the closest GSI equivalent I could afford – the 160 GSE – and soon after met my wife. High five, Uncle Rob.
One of our cover cars this month made me think of him. Like his GSI, the Honda Civic Type R will be coveted by many a young man, but that’s about the only thing the GSI and Type R have in common. It’s a real eye-opener to see just how much more powerful and faster hot hatches have become over the last 30 years. The Type R produces nearly three times as many kilowatts as the GSI, but even that power peak is shy of the outputs achieved by a crop of hyper hatches spearheaded by the Audi RS3, Ford Focus RS, Mercedes-amg A45 and upcoming Golf R420.
Can you imagine what Uncle Rob would’ve gotten up to in those?