What do you do when you own a rare buzz-bomb? Arrange a play date with peers, among other things. Seeking out proper company takes some effort on an owner’s part, but when you own one of these little birdies, you learn to advocate for them. Because despite what you might be told, it’s not easy being this pretty all by yourself.
Gorgeous, aren’t they? No wonder Eric Clem added these shots to his long list of excellent CC contributions. These Kadett B-based darlings were discontinued in 1973 after the Kadett C and its components went into production. They have no direct successors, although the Kadett C did spawn the original Isuzu Piazza/Impulse several years later. Finding three of those cars in the same color posed together would also be quite a feat!
Sheer beauty, and a nice driving car. For its day, it couldn’t hold a candle to the 240Z, but was still a lot better than either the MGB-GT or that six cylinder Triumph Spitfire variant (GT6?). I’d love to find one.
Ca. 1970 Road & Track did a comparison test of the 240Z, Fiat 124 Coupe, Opel GT, MGB, and Triumph GT6, and your comments parallel theirs very nicely:
“One of our testers thought the 240Z should be in a class by itself. But the Fiat came surprisingly close, and the Opel was far from unpleasant. As for the two Britishers, we do not wish to kick dead horses. We hope that England will get off her duff, build some great cars, and challenge the world again.”
The big advantage these had over the 240Z in 1970 was availability. The Z car’s popularity meant Datsun dealers were adding healthy markups to the sticker price. That’s why my father bought a GT instead of a Z.
Unfortunately Dad’s Opel went to the crusher about a year before I got my learner’s permit, so I never got to drive it.
The styling holds up remarkably well for a 45-year old design. It’s hard to tell from these pictures, but they’re tiny — about the size of an NA Miata.
These have been parked on the same spot for years, unfortunately.
A reverse lookup of the phone number tells me that they’re at 2309 North Northlake Way, Seattle.
Opels in general weren’t given their due. They were sold through Buick dealerships, of all places.
Always thought these were interesting as a “mini-Vette”, but I think this is a collector/hoarder, not a play date. Street view of the same location (as of May 2014):
I’m also thinking hoarder. Washington hasn’t handed out those green plates since the ’80s, maybe the early ’90s.
Any license plate issued in Washington since 2 January 1987 has been the mountain graphic, a face-lifted version of which is still being issued. At the time a lot of people replated to the new graphic-style plates, since the green on white variety had been issued since 1968. But now the graphic plates have been issued for 27 years and I wouldn’t be surprised if a change back to green on white would elicit a similar response.
When did collecting become synonymous with hoarding? It doesn’t exactly look like the cars are filled to the roofs with trash.
Otoh, they are obviously not being used.
Oh if only I’d known!
Like a pocket Ferrari! Beautifully proportioned and catch those aircraft style doors! Made anything from British Leyland look like the outdated, unreliable relics they were. Quite a sensible sports car for the times. Compared to say, a Corvette, it had decent fuel economy and insurance rates had to be lower. Also cost thousands less.
Never thought these were given their due by GM here in the states. Little marketing and they disappeared just as the 240Z was getting started. Too bad. They coulda been a contenda.
As I recall, exchange rates were shifting in the early 70s in a way that made Euro imports very expensive in dollars, while Japanese imports were much less so. GM was in a place where it either had to lose money on the Opels it imported, or price them so high that few would buy them. Hence the “Opel Isuzu.”
Back then I didn’t appreciate the devastating effect American inflation had on “captive imports.” All I knew was, the first American Escort cost less than the smaller Fiesta, because the latter was built in Köln at the time.
The Germans are still averse to infaltionary monetary policy, attributed to the Weimar period (wheelbarrows for spending money).
“The Germans are still averse to infaltionary monetary policy, attributed to the Weimar period (wheelbarrows for spending money).”
Not surprising. As I read current events, this tension still exists in the EU with Germany much less comfortable with easy money than many other EU countries.
Other countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, suffered through hyperinflationary periods, but few were as historically pivotal as Germany’s, which gave rise to Hitler and the Nazis. So it’s understandable why the Germans fear inflation so much.
In the 1970’s, however, the dollar-mark exchange rate went from 4 marks to the dollar to less than two. That knocked the Germans out of the low end of the US auto market. Opels stayed home, Beetle production moved to Mexico and Rabbits were bred in Pennsylvania.
To say the least! Ask the new Greek Prime Minister
Great pictures! Although I had no real experience with these, I always thought that Opel/GM nailed the styling for a little GT coupe. The Opel Manta was good looking, but the GT was about perfect. This color looks good on these, too.
Really nice, what a unique find !
As mentioned they never got a direct successor. But Opel has a very rich coupe (as in fastback) history. This was their smallest post-GT coupe/fastback, the Kadett C coupe. The GT/E from the late seventies had a 115 hp 2.0 liter injection engine.
For a short while in the 1990’s these were very popular in Germany where they were made into roadsters , mostly using Fiat tops .
A buddy of mine here in Sunny So. Cal. land of rust free junkers , would find and buy them , weld in the reinforcement kits then lop the top off , section a Fiat rag top and widen it to suit , re paint it and re sell it .
As I’m a Junkyard Junkie , I was always running across them in VGC , untouched and un loved , he’d get them out of the deep rows for $250 (he’s a good talker) and rebuild them .
I got a ride in one once , owned by a Kadett Club nutter who’d found a 2.0 Liter engine brandy new in Germany and had it shipped here where he installed it ~ we took a spirited ride from L.A. to Sta. Barbara via back roads and it was a hoot ~ the car literally flew over rises in the road like the Dukes of Stupid did , except in full control and *much* faster =8-) .
I’m fascinated by the idea of a Kadett Club here in SoCal. Although there’s a club for just about everything, I guess. I’ve never seen one of the roadster conversions, though I do see a GT occasionally.
I loved these cars. Tuesday evenings in the fall of 1969, I’d finish up my college night school class just after 9:30, and dash around the corner and up the street to Dubose Buick on Broad Street in Richmond. There were always a couple of these on the showroom floor, and the salesmen were good joes. They didn’t mind me getting in one for a few minutes and fantasizing. Maybe it was because I was the only person under 50 they’d seen all day.
Lovely little cars – it’s a shame all three of these seem to be parking lot ornaments. Wonder if any of them are in running condition? Using the history feature on Google Street View, they were not there in October 2012, but appeared sometime before mid 2013 (when the first article linked was posted). Hopefully they are simply “stored” rather than abandoned–the leftmost one, at least, looks to be in quite nice shape!
I always have liked the looks of these “mini Corvettes” ever since I saw a new one parked on the street. It was a gold color and these cars look better in the flesh then in pictures. 3 in a row would have been rare even back in the day, except maybe at your local Buick dealership.
This comes close, a bit. An Opel Speedster (2001-2005), normally a roadster, with an aftermarket carbon top.
Source and more pictures:
The Vettes of the period have not worn well, but these took the proportions down a notch from rolling phallus and perfected them.
Back when I was in middle school (mid-eighties) I would see one of these little GTs parked in the same spot on my way to school every day. It was the same color as these. Even back then I think it was just a driveway “ornament”. It was the first time I noticed Opels in the US! I still want one!
There is one of these setting in front of a shop in Roe, Arkansas just off of hwy 79 in the middle of town. Been there since the early 80s at least. Used to be yellow.
I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had an Opel GT. His looked just like the GTs in the picture, except his was a chocolate brown colour. It wasn’t a bad looking car, except its brown colour didn’t do it any favours.
My sister bought a new yellow 73 Opel GT, her fiancé had a 71 240Z. The GT had better road manners, but the Z was far better in the twisties. I used to borrow the GT to drive to high school. The perfect car for a junior to cruise into the school parking lot.
I have always loved the Opel GT since intro. Wasn’t the discontinued story that they were actually made in France and something went wrong? (Have to dig out my Brooklins Opel GT book–recommended!) Having owned a 1976 Corvette, I can point out a great advantage of the Opel: storage space. Although no trunklid or hatchback accessibility. Also, was the Opel’s battery in the engine bay? The C-3 Corvette behind-the-driver’s seat placement drove me insane. The Opel’s hideaway headlamps were operated by a mechanical turn knob under the dash–no electrical or vacuum failures!
The body was made in France by Brissonneau et Lotz. And here’s a car they put their own badge on (no Opel connection):
GM made a horrible mistake selling these at Buick dealers. Buick dealers’ indifference to all things Opel virtually guaranteed failure.
As noted, the last year of the GT was 1973. It is not a coincidence that this was also the last year of the Volvo 1800ES – forthcoming bumper regulations killed them both. Either would have been butt-ugly with 5-mph bumpers.
Isn’t that the truth?! I bought a new Opel 1900 Sport Coupe and that was the exact attitude of the folks at the Buick dealer I bought it from. It wasn’t much better than “Get this POS off our lot”….
After owning the car for a little over a year, that became my attitude toward it as well.
Wow, Opels two days in a row. I am a happy guy. Wish we could buy current Opels badged as such in the U.S. today. I told our Saturn dealer in 2007 that I would plop money down on the spot if he could get me a Sky wearing the Opel GT livery. He didn’t even try.
Then there’s this. 🙁
I always thought that was a mutilated Porsche.
911 has a one night stand with an Excaliber.
My sister’s fiancee had an orange GT. It wasn’t a horrible little car, but was really too small for him. And it was so slowwwww. He still had it in ’74 when my sister dumped him when he emptied out their joint bank account and lost it at the horse track. I had pissed off my sister, but I never saw her as pissed as she was when she came out of the bank after finding out that he had lost over $10K at once. I don’t know who was more hostile to him that night when he came over, my sister or my mother. Soon, he was gone, and her future husband, supernerd, was in the picture. They will soon be married 40 years. Scary how quickly time has gone by..
Did she have any money left over to hire a hit man? 🙂
Triple treat indeed.
That’s more than I’ve ever seen before, in total. Very rare in the UK, though I do know of one
Well look here it isn’t triplets but quadruplets as this long lost sibling is for sale in Novato now.
In the early 1970s, I had a green ’69 Opel GT. It was a blast to drive, and all the girls thought that it was just adorable. I traded it for a ’65 Corvette in near mint condition. My girlfriend’s reaction? “The Opel was so cute, and this car is so … Old!”