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Opel GT

Opel GT Published: 30th Apr 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Opel GT
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Baby Opel is a cut-price Corvette style and is rarer than a Ferrari

I Saw a Picture of What Looked Like Corvette But Smaller – What Is It?

You’re probably talking about the Opel GT and the similarities are hardly a coincidence as the same outfit designed both! Some say that it also bears a remarkable resemblance to the Ferrari Dino which was launched around the same time.

Why The Connection?

Both Chevrolet and Opel are part of General Motors and 50 years ago, the Opel GT was showcased at the Frankfurt motor show, going into production in 1968 until 1973.

American in style but built in France, before being shipped to Germany for finishing, this cosmopolitan GT was a strong seller, especially in the US, which accounted for 80,000 sales.

Dose it GO as Good as it Looks?

Not quite. Underneath those supercar looks, lurked nothing more exotic than an Opel Kadett which was little more than a Vauxhall Viva HA, although the Opel did at least boast a 90bhp 1.9-litre engine taken from the Rekord (basically a German Victor) and a nice sporty two-seater interior.

What’s Its Downfall?

Performance is quite okay, it’s the handling that needs a tweak. Like the HA Viva, the Kadett featured a quirky front transverse leaf spring suspension set up and both of these family ferriers were hardly renowned for getting around corners. To be fair, the GT is not too bad as Opel moved the engine back as far as it could to aid weight distribution although it’s not a patch on the bigger Manta. That said, there’s ample tuning gear available in the States to make the GT drive as good as this Opel undoubtedly looks, – try http://www.opelgtsource.com. There again, you’ll probably need to as American spec cars lacked European niceties such as anti-roll bars and a Panhard rod for the rear axle although they may well be fitted now by subsequent owners or improved upon.

The GT has a roomy two-seat cockpit but luggage space is hindered by the car having no boot or hatch entrance to speak of.

Is The Opel a Cheap Corvette Then?

Of sorts, although the days of cheap GTs are over. It’s always been a rare car on our shores and so was never made in right-hand drive guise. Yet that hasn’t stopped a strong following for the car – pop along to the annual Vauxhall Opel weekend gathering at Billing Aquadrome (Northants) every summer and you’ll see a field of them along with their dedicated owners.

Bank on paying up to £15,000 for a top example and half this for a good one and perhaps half again for a tatty type. You may find projects for around the £1500-£2000 mark but think hard about one as spares – especially those body parts – aren’t particularly easy to obtain anymore meaning restoring one may not be worth the expense and effort.

In total over 100,000 were made but perhaps no more than 100 reside in the UK, so if you want an Opel GT you may have to import one.

Best Models?

The mainstay was the 1.9-litre model in standard trim although there was a stripped out racier GT-J. Standing for GT Junior, it’s a badge (that also featured on other Opels at the time) sought after as are – strangely – entry level versions using regular Kadett 1100cc power. With only 60bhp it’s hardly a road burner although the larger 1900cc engine can be fitted, as well as larger variations of that unit which were stretched up to 2.4-litres in later Vauxhalls and Opels. We’ve seen the Rover V8 squeezed under the bonnets but an Astra GTE engine can make one fly just as well.

What Should i Look For When Buying ?

Rusting of the French Brissoneau & Lotz built body is the biggest worry even from cars originating from dry states in the USA. Bottom end rust is common along with the valance panels and that shapely nose. Structural rot centres around the inner wings, arches, floor and bulkheads. In the US, glass-fibre



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