Opel GT

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Opel GT
Opel GT, Bj. 1973 am 16.07.2006.jpg
ManufacturerGeneral Motors

The Opel GT is a front-engine, rear-drive two-seat sports car manufactured and marketed by Opel in two generations — separated by a 34-year hiatus.

The first generation Opel GT (1968-1973) debuted as a styling exercise in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows.[1] The production vehicle used mechanical components from the contemporary Opel Kadett B and two-door hard top bodywork by French contractor Brissonneau & Lotz. The styling of the GT was often cited as similar to the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette which went on sale in September 1967.[2]

Opel marketed a second generation GT (2007-2009) as a rebadged variant of the Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice two-seater convertible, manufactured in Wilmington, Delaware, USA.

In 2016, Opel introduced the GT Concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show as a lightweight, turbocharged, rear-wheel drive two-seater.[3]

GT (1968–1973)[edit]

Opel GT 17RM0442.jpg
AssemblyBochum, Germany
Body and chassis
Classsports car
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel-drive
  • 1,078 cc (65.8 cu in) OHV I4 (gasoline)
  • 1,897 cc (115.8 cu in) CIH I4 (gasoline)
Transmission4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,415 mm (95.1 in)
Length4,113 mm (161.9 in)
Width1,580 mm (62.2 in)
Height1,225 mm (48.2 in)
Curb weight845 kg (1,863 lb)–940 kg (2,072 lb)
Rear view
The reduced specification GT/J (for "Junior") introduced in 1971 represented an attempt to broaden the appeal of the Opel GT.

The Opel GT was equipped with a base 1.1 L OHV straight-4 engine, which produced 67 hp (SAE) at 6,000 rpm. However, most buyers chose an optional 1.9 L camshaft in head engine, which produced 102 hp (SAE) at 5200 to 5400 rpm. Some of the early 1968 models also came with a slightly higher compression "H" code cylinder head. In 1971, due to emissions regulations, Opel reduced the compression ratio of the 1.9 L engine used in the US and output fell to 83 hp (SAE). There was also a GT/J model, which was a less expensive version of the 1900-engined GT which was sold only in Europe. Standard transmission was a manual four-speed. A three-speed automatic was available with the 1.9 L engine. The model run of the Opel GT was from 1968 to 1973.

The Opel GT uses a steel unibody and a conventional front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout. The engine is mounted far back in the chassis to improve weight distribution. Front suspension consists of upper A-arms and a lower transverse leaf spring. A live axle and coil springs are used in the rear. The power-assisted braking system uses discs in the front, drums in the rear. Steering is unassisted.

One unusual feature of the Opel GT is the operation of the pop-up headlights. They are manually operated, by way of a large lever along the center console next to the shifter. Unlike most pop-up headlights, they both rotate in the same direction (counterclockwise from inside the car) about a longitudinal axis. One standard joke about GT owners was that you can easily spot them due to the heavy muscles on their right arm built up by using the lever to pop up the headlights.

Designed by Opel stylist Erhard Schnell,[4] the GT is a fastback, that has neither an externally accessible trunk nor a conventional hatchback. There is a parcel shelf behind the seats that can only be accessed through the main doors. Behind the parcel shelf is a fold-up panel that conceals a spare tire and jack. The interior of the GT is surprisingly large for a car of its size, owing to its original design process in which the exterior metal was sculpted around an interior model. Headroom and legroom are sufficient for those over 6 feet (1.83 m) tall.

During 1968 to 1973, a total of 103,463 cars were sold. The most collectible GTs are probably the first few hundred cars hand-assembled in 1968 and the 1968–1970 models with the 1.1 L engine, which totaled 3,573 cars. Of the later cars, 10,760 were the cheaper model (GT/J), which lacked nearly all chrome parts and offered fewer standard features. In some markets, items like a limited slip differential, front and rear anti-sway bars, heated rear window, and engine bay light were standard, although most cars were shipped without them.

In North America, the GT was sold at Buick dealerships. Reasons for ending production were the need to redesign the car to remain competitive with up-and-coming sports models, such as the Datsun 240Z, as well as the termination of Brissonneau and Lotz' bodybuilding contract. Unusually for the period, here was no Vauxhall equivalent model to the GT sold in the United Kingdom.

The Opel GT was also used by Italian bodybuilder Sergio Coggiola to create the Opel Sylvia GT, an angular design of the folded-paper school. The 1973 Sylvia was also designed with an eye to safety.[5]

Appearances in media[edit]

Automotive magazine Road & Track reviewed the GT in their June 1969 issue, recording 0–96 km/h in 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 182 km/h. Road & Track also found the car to have strong understeer, suggesting the 165x13 tires to be too small, although the ride was comfortable.

A gold 1969 Opel GT was Agent 86 Maxwell Smart's car in the last season of the comedy TV series Get Smart. Maxwell Smart drove a GT in several episodes, and the car features prominently in the opening credits. In the 2008 movie adaptation Get Smart, Bernie Kopell (who played Siegfried in the original Get Smart series) makes a cameo appearance in which he drives a GT. Maxwell Smart's cars in Season 1 and 2 (a Sunbeam Tiger) and in Seasons 3 and 4 (a VW Karmann Ghia) are also in the scene.

In the January 20, 2016 episode of Criminal Minds seen on CBS called "Drive", Dr. Tara Lewis, (played by Aisha Tyler) is seen pulling up in a vintage White Opel GT. When asked by the character Special Agent David Rossi (played Joe Mantegna), "Who's your restoration guy?", She answers, "Oh, um, you're looking at him." In real life, the 1970 Opel GT belongs to the actor Joe Mantegna.

Classic GTs today[edit]

The Opel GT shared many parts with other Opel models, mostly the Kadett B. Opel also used variants of the CIH engine from 1966 to 1995, so most parts are somewhat available. Also, in the USA and Europe, there are companies which specialize in Opel GT parts and services; including some new body parts. Some of the rarest and most costly parts are the ignition switches, rear trim strips, and 1968–1970 rear axle bearings.

One can fairly easily adapt larger engines, transmissions and brakes from newer Opels. For example, a fuel-injected 2.0 L engine (110 hp DIN) and a five-speed GETRAG manual transmission from a Rekord E or Manta B may be used to improve both fuel economy and performance.

GT (roadster) (2007–2010)[edit]

GT (roadster)
Opel GT front.JPG
Also calledSaturn Sky (USA & Canada)
GM Daewoo G2X (South Korea)
Model years2007–2010
AssemblyWilmington, Delaware, USA
DesignerFranz von Holzhausen
Body and chassis
Classsports car
Body style2-door roadster
LayoutFR layout
PlatformKappa platform
RelatedPontiac Solstice
Engine1998 cc I4
Wheelbase2,415 mm (95.1 in)
Length4,091 mm (161.1 in)
Width1,813 mm (71.4 in)
Height1,276 mm (50.2 in)
Curb weight1,325 kg (2,921 lb)–1,406 kg (3,100 lb)
PredecessorOpel Speedster
Rear view
2003 Vauxhall VX Lightning Concept (based on the 2002 Pontiac Solstice Concept, as an indirect preview of the production car and a commemorative vehicle of the 100th anniversary of Vauxhall back then)

On February 1, 2006, Opel issued a press release announcing the upcoming production of a new Opel GT, as a likely 2007 model.

The GT was a badge engineered variant of the Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky and was available solely with the 2.0 L, 260 hp (194 kW; 264 PS) direct injection turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder engine.

The Opel GT replaced the Opel Speedster in the European line, was not manufactured in RHD, and did not replace for the Vauxhall VX220 in the United Kingdom, meaning a Vauxhall-badged version was never offered.

The GT featured 18-inch alloy wheels and a folding cloth top similar, cigarette lighter on the driver's side door, two ashtrays (one on each door), a passenger-side storage cubby (instead of a speaker grate, behind the passenger seat), and a rear fog light — and did not include OnStar, as OnStar had not yet launched in Europe. Built-in Bluetooth was not available. 2009 model year GTs do not have rear cupholders mounted at the rear of the console, leaving the car with a single cup holder on the passenger side of the drivetrain tunnel. The GT featured unique tail lights, and a unique front grille. The rear bumper also has a wider license plate area and accommodate European license plates.

Production by model year[edit]

Model Year Total Opel GT (Roadster) Production[6]
2007 2,365
2008 4,851
2009 301
2010 2
Total 7,519

2016 concept[edit]

2016 concept
2016-03-01 Geneva Motor Show G215.JPG
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutFMR layout
Engine1.0 L LDB I3 (turbo gasoline)
Transmission6-speed semi-automatic
Curb weight2,200 lb (998 kg)

The 2016 Opel GT concept debuted on January 27, 2016.[7] Built on an all-new compact rear-wheel-drive platform, the GT has a lightweight construction and stripped down interior. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine producing 145 hp with a 6-speed semi-automatic gearbox.

The concept features historic design cues associated with Opel's past products; the twin tailpipes with the GT wordmark in the middle are reminiscent of those on the original 1965 GT prototype.

The car made its first public debut on March 1 at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.[8] A production version has been conjectured to follow in 2018, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the original Opel GT's unveiling in 1968,[9] and Opel hasn't ruled out the possibility.[10]


  1. ^ "Opel GT Corvette for Europe?". Autocar. 129 (3790): 55. 3 October 1968.
  2. ^ Opel GT at Howstuffworks.com
  3. ^ ALEXANDER STOKLOSA (January 2016). "Opel GT Concept: The German Mini-Corvette Returns". Car & Driver.
  4. ^ "Opel GT designend by Stylist Erhard Schnell".
  5. ^ World Cars 1975. Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. 1975. p. 19. ISBN 0-910714-07-X.
  6. ^ "General Motors: Investors: Sales and Production Reports: Historical Production". GM. 2009-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  7. ^ Vijayenthiran, Viknesh (2016-01-27). "Rear-Wheel-Drive Opel GT Sports Car Concept Revealed". Motor Authority. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  8. ^ Joseph, Noah (2016-01-20). "GM has a new Opel GT concept in store for Geneva". Autoblog. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  9. ^ Meiners, Jens (2016-01-21). "The Opel GT—It's Coming Back [UPDATE]". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  10. ^ Gnaticov, Cristian (2016-03-22). "Opel GT Concept Might Gain Production Version, Use Mokka's AWD System". Carscoops. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  • Henrion/Müller (1997). Opel GT Projekt 1484. Podszun. ISBN 3-86133-170-5.
  • road test article compilation (n.d.). Opel GT Gold Portfolio 1968–1973. Brooklands Books. ISBN 1-85520-326-X.

External links[edit]