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The Daewoo Royale is a series of mid-size cars that was produced by Daewoo Motors in South Korea from 1983, being replaced by the Daewoo Prince in 1991, although production of the top-line Daewoo Imperial continued until 1993. The Royale's predecessor was launched in 1972 by General Motors Korea (GMK) as the Rekord, becoming the Saehan Rekord in 1976 when Saehan Motors replaced GMK, until production ended in 1978. This car was a version of the German Opel Rekord D.

The second generation Saehan Rekord was a development of the Opel Rekord E. Production began in 1978, along with the Saehan Royale. The Royale was the Rekord E bodyshell with the front grafted on from the Opel Senator A. The Saehan Royale became the Daewoo Royale in 1983, with Saehan Rekord being discontinued and incorporated into the Royale lineup as the Daewoo Royale XQ. In 1989, the flagship Daewoo Imperial was introduced, based on the standard Royale. While Royale production ended in 1991, Imperials continued until 1993, being replaced by the Daewoo Arcadia.

First generation (1972–1978)

General Motors Korea (GMK) launched the Rekord in August 1972. The GMK Rekord was based on the German-designed Opel Rekord D. In August 1975, a version of the Rekord, known as the Rekord Royale was launched by GMK The Royale version was based on the Opel Commodore B, which was essentially the Opel Rekord with a lengthened engine bay. 12,005 Royales were produced between 1975 and 1978. In November 1976, GMK changed its name to Saehan Motors, and as a result, the Rekord and Rekord Royale became the Saehan Rekord and Saehan Rekord Royale.

Second generation (1978–1993)

The second generation Saehan Rekord was based on the Opel Rekord E. It was introduced in 1978 along with the Saehan Royale, which was essentially the Rekord E, featuring the front-end of the larger Senator A.

In January 1983, after Daewoo gained control, Saehan Motors changed its name to Daewoo Motors. At the same time the Saehan Royale was renamed Daewoo Royale, and the Saehan Rekord was absorbed in the Royale range, becoming known as the Royale XQ. Production of the XQ ended in 1987.

Until November 1984, Royale body panels were stamped by Holden in Australia, where the Rekord-Senator hybrid was manufactured there as the Holden Commodore. Opel adopted Holden's amalgamation as the Opel Commodore C. After November 1984, Daewoo began pressing their own panels on a newly installed production line. The shift to local production also coincided with an update to the car; the original series was based on the Opel Rekord E1, while the 1985 onwards models were based on the E2. The Royale Salon Super was introduced in 1986. However, unlike other Royales that utilised the Opel Rekord E2/Senator A2 hybrid with the four-window glasshouse design, the Salon Super used the six-window design from the Senator A. A second design revision came in 1987 with a new front-end design, featuring a revised grille and headlamps, along with minor trim changes. While lower-specification versions such as the Royale Salon retained the four-window design, the Royale Super Salon continued using the six-window design from the now discontinued Salon Super. 1989 marked another design change; the Royale Prince inherited a new grille insert and adopted the six-window glasshouse. From 1989, Daewoo introduced the top-of-the-range Imperial, which was marketed separate from the Royale range. Imperial production ended in 1993, replaced by the Daewoo Arcadia.

Specification levels

Daewoo Royale engines were four-cylinder Opel units, with Daewoo offering the Royale in several different levels of luxury: the Diesel, Salon, Duke, XQ, and Prince:

  • Royale Diesel (May 1980–April 1989):
  • Royale Salon (September 1980–September 1991): fitted with a 1,979-cubic-centimetre (2.0 L) engine and three-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain combination produced 44 kilowatts (59 hp) (DIN) and 156 newton metres (115 ft·lb) (DIN). Top speed was claimed at 170 kilometres per hour (110 mph).
  • Royale Salon Super: (March 1986–1987):
  • Royale Super Salon: (1987–1991):
  • Royale Duke (1987–March 1989):
  • Royale XQ (March 1982–1987): fitted with a 1,492-cubic-centimetre (1.5 L) engine and four-speed manual transmission. This powertrain combination produced 74.6 kilowatts (100.0 hp) (DIN) and 100 newton metres (74 ft·lb) (DIN). Top speed was claimed at 135 kilometres per hour (84 mph).
  • Royale Prince (July 1983–May 1991): fitted with a 1,897-cubic-centimetre (1.9 L) engine and four-speed manual transmission. This powertrain combination produced 62.6 kilowatts (83.9 hp) (DIN) and 142 newton metres (105 ft·lb) (DIN). Top speed was claimed at 168 kilometres per hour (104 mph).
  • Daewoo Imperial (1989–1993): the Imperial was the ultimate development of the Royale, developed in response to the Hyundai Sonata and Grandeur. Imperial styling was reminiscent of the contemporary Chrysler Imperial and New Yorker, but also some Japanese luxury sedans. Its formal roofline, and much revised front- and rear-end styling helped to cover up the car's Opel Senator roots. Imperial was specified with a vinyl roof, Bosch anti-lock brakes, digital instrumentation, cruise control, automatic climate control air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, power steering, a trip computer, and leather upholstery. A 2,969-cubic-centimetre (3.0 L) engine and four-speed automatic transmission was also fitted. This powertrain combination produced 116 kilowatts (156 hp) and 153 newton metres (113 ft·lb). Top speed was claimed at 195 kilometres per hour (121 mph).