Steffi Graf was the German tennis star of choice for young lads growing up in the 1980s. So an Opel Corsa bearing her name was a game, set and match made in heaven.
She had it all. Powerful strokes that earned her the nickname ‘Fräulein Forehand’, a powerful serve and – let’s be honest – Germanic blonde bombshell good looks.
Although with hindsight, you never saw Steffi Graf and Jürgen Klinsmann in the same room.
As a brand ambassador for Opel, it made sense for the company to cash in with a special edition model. Hence the serving of the Opel Corsa Steffi Special. Other tennis puns are available and might be used throughout this piece. Sorry.
“Kommt sie mit dem Auto?” asked a legion of German men who should have known better when they caught sight of the press advertisement. Steffi Graf was pictured sprawled across the bonnet or laying in front of the car. New balls, please.
“If you ask Steffi, good equipment is sometimes half the victory,” proclaimed the advert, before revealing a spec list that was far from breaking point, even for the time.
A radio-cassette player, quartz clock, tinted glass and a cigarette lighter is hardly an ace selection. Should Opel even be promoting a cigarette lighter in conjunction with a sports star?
But there’s more, because the Steffi Special also came with Steffi side stripes, a signature on the tailgate and the best/worst seat covers you’re ever likely to see. Unless you’ve sat in a Fiat Panda Italia 90.
These seat covers could only come from a company that would go on to create the Opel Speedster Scorpions, and a nation that lists ‘The Hoff’ as one of its favourite pop stars. Jump in my Steffi Special, said Hasselhoff, in 1988.
Earlier models featured covers that wouldn’t look out of place in a branch of Athena, and were, in fairness, rather tasteful. Later versions were not.
The covers might have looked fine on a Steffi Graf all-in-one duvet and pillow cover set, but not in an Opel Corsa. On the plus side, you did get a Steffi Graf backpack and umbrella. Eat your heart out, Skoda.
Originally available in a white as “white as the white sport”, later versions were offered in red or black. An electric folding roof was an option.
Opel ended its association with Steffi Graf in 1995 amid tax evasion charges, so the chances of seeing a Grandland X Steffi Special are non-existent.
We were cruelly deprived of the Corsa Steffi Special in UK, although we did get the Vauxhall Nova Swing, seen here in Opel form with Ms Graf. Schwing indeed.
Vauxhall toyed with launching the Nova Jeremy Bates Special, but the idea was canned following fears that the car would crash out before the end of the first week and would only really operate with Jo Durie in the passenger seat.
Thanks for the memories, Steffi, and thanks for the rear arches, Opel.
Thanks to Opel-Corsa-A.com. Images © Opel and Wheelsage.