Late Night Capsule: 1968-73 Opel GT – Do You Think It Ran When Parked?

Remember the Opel GT? I spotted what was left of one a couple of months ago. I was on my way to lunch when I noticed something small and yellow to my left. “Is that an Opel GT?” Yes, it was. Or at least, it once was…

The Opel GT, with its baby-Corvette styling, was a pretty nifty little grand tourer in its day. I remember that Maxwell Smart drove one towards the end of Get Smart’s run–a gold one. As a 10-12 year old, it was my first exposure to the German sportster, thanks to Nick-At-Nite. They’re pretty few and far between these days, so I had to pull over and check it out, despite the rain, which was doing its best to haze over my photos.

Here’s an amusing Opel GT commercial on Youtube from around the time of its 1968 introduction. Yes, they were pretty small. But so compelling! We did do a CC on a much nicer GT; the writeup can be found here.

The GT was imported to the United States and, like other Opels, were sold through Buick dealerships. 1973 was the last year it was available–in Europe and elsewhere. European models had a choice of 1.1L or 1.9L inline four cylinder engines, but all U.S.-bound GTs came with the 1.9 and all of 83 emissions-regulated horsepower. A four-speed manual was standard, with a three-speed automatic an option.

I saw a restored twin to today’s car back in 1999, when I attended the Lake Carroll Car Show. My Dad put his 356 Roadster in the show, and I my 1991 Volvo 940SE; you can just see it over the Opel’s left shoulder. Looks quite nice in yellow, doesn’t it?

But back to the present. Our yellow GT here is going to need one of everything to get back on the road. The question is, is this GT getting a new lease on life or heading to the metal recyclers? Amazingly, this was not my first Opel GT sighting this year. Last summer, I saw three of these sitting together in the local junkyard, all extremely far gone. More and more, I’m thinking the QC area is the Eugene of the Midwest!