I’ll wager £5 that most of you have never heard of the Opel GT, but now it’s staring you in the face, I’ll bet a further fiver that you’re happy it exists, right? You might remember that the GT made #2 in our 8 Epic Cars With The Coolest Headlights feature last week, but the GT’s more than a pair of manly pop-around headlights. Here’s why I love the GT:
Designed by Clare MacKichan and Chuck Jordan – the same guys who had a hand in designing 1950s Chevrolets – the Opel GT is a wonderfully sexy car to look at from all angles. It’s long nose, low ride height and broad shoulders made the GT look like a baby muscle car, while its 845-940kg kerb weight made it nimble enough to entertain drivers.
Interestingly, the fastback shape of the two-seater sports car meant that the GT did without a rear hatch, so the parcel shelf behind the rear seats could only be accessed through the GT’s doors. With those looks, we’ll forgive its impracticality.
Two engines were available – a 1.1-litre with 67bhp and a 1.9-litre with 102bhp – but it was the latter engine that buyers went for most. It gave the lightweight sportscar modest performance (115mph max speed), but the GT’s front-engine, rear-drive layout ensured maximum driving pleasure.
Unlike most other pop up headlights, the GT’s are operated manually by the driver. Flipping the lights involved a strong tug of a lever next to the gear lever – that’s why people often said that they could spot a GT owner a mile off because of his massive right arm.
Car culture popularity
The Opel GT has amassed a cult following – especially in Germany – where cars have been modified to all manner of body shapes. Hit this Opel GT fan site link and see a GT with gullwing doors, a shooting brake version, a pick-up truck, and even a GT with a rear-mounted mini crane.
Built between 1968 and 1973, only 103,463 Opel GTs were sold. Today, they fetch well north of £12,000, but finding a car in good shape (finding one altogether) is difficult. Very, very difficult. If you ever get the opportunity to buy one, make sure you do. There’s only one direction the value of these things is heading, and that’s up!
So now I’ve had my say, what are your thoughts of the Opel GT?