Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Opel GT has German mechanicals, a French-built body, and looks that make it seem to be a baby Corvette. Let’s see what such international flavor might stir up when it comes to spending American dollars.
Honda was the first Japanese manufacturer to enter Formula One, fielding a factory-backed effort in 1964. American driver Richie Ginther would pilot Honda’s RA273 racer to its first win at the Mexico City Grand Prix the very next year, paying dividends to the company’s sizable investment in the sport. Since then, Honda has had an international presence in both automobile and motorcycle racing, dominating many of the series’ it has entered.
Those efforts didn’t seem to rub off on the non-factory 1991 Honda CR-X drag (and more!) racer we looked at yesterday. Its appearance was a bit cobbled together, and while the seller claimed it to be turn-key, few of you took much interest in wanting to twist that key. Not even the promise of a parts car as an incentive could muster much enthusiasm for the Honda racer’s $4,500 asking price. The result was a massive 90 percent No Dice loss to kick off our week.
Much more road-worthy, and seemingly almost entirely factory, save for some expected consumables — today’s 1972 Opel GT offers much more of what we expect in a turn-key car.
Opel introduced the GT as a design concept for the 1965 Paris Salon de l’Automobile. The show car expressed design elements similar to those of the Pontiac Banshee design study of a year earlier, and, more notably, of the C3 Chevy Corvette that would hit the market in 1968, the same year that the production GT would make its debut.
The only really questionable aspect of the show car’s styling was the choice of headlamps. Those were rectangular units that, when open above the gaping air intake below the bumper, lent the car a terribly distraught-looking facade.
That would be fixed before the production car hit the market, and indeed, the GT’s headlights are one of its most endearing features. Instead of the show car’s sad-sack rectangular units, the production GT received standard 7-inch round-sealed beams, required for the car to be sold in the U.S. When open, they give the car a face that looks wide awake and happy. When down, it switches to sleek and sexy. The best part is that the lights don’t just pop up, they roll over. That’s controlled by a stout lever on the driver’s side of the center console and the entirely mechanical action means the GT should never be at a loss for lumens.
That party trick notwithstanding, there’s lots more to like on this ‘70s yellow-over-black-and-cream GT. Firstly, the ad notes a clean title and just 48,277 miles on the clock. The bodywork is clean and the chrome is appreciably shiny. Even all the rubber looks to be in decent shape. The GT’s bodywork was constructed in Nantes on the western edge of France by Brissonneau et Lotz, a company that also built locomotives. The final assembly was handled at Opel’s plant in Bochum, Germany.
Inside the GT, it’s much the same story as the outside, although the dash does wear a carpet that may be masking some cracks. Despite that, the upholstery seems to be in excellent shape, as does the carpet, door cards, and the lovely wood-rimmed steering wheel.
This is a tiny car, and its design did not afford a hatchback or traditional trunk opening. There’s still plenty of storage on the space behind the front buckets, but should you have a flat you’ll have to wrestle the spare out from its cubby in the very back past anything you might have there.
The GT is based on the platform of Opel’s second generation Kadett and this one is powered by the company’s 1.9 liter CIH (Cam-in-Head) four-cylinder. In 1972, that engine managed 90 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque, and redlines at a lazy 6,000 rpm. Backing up the engine is a four-speed manual with a fun hypodermic needle-style puller for engaging reverse. Drive is by way of a coil-sprung live rear axle.
According to the ad, the car runs well even with its old-school Solex carb and points and condenser ignition. Despite that advocacy for tradition, the car is being sold with an additional Pertronix electronic ignition and coil, plus a Weber carb. There are also some body parts and manuals that come with the car. Considering the parsimonious storage space in the GT, it might be best to bring a truck or plan multiple trips upon purchase.
But at $7,500, would any of those trips actually be warranted? What do you think? Is this classic GT worth that kind of money as it sits? Or, is that just too much for a wannabe baby ’Vette?
H/T to glemon for the hookup!
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