At no time during this story will you hear me utter the phrase: baby Corvette. I’m not even going to mention the term “baby Corvette” at all, just so we’re clear on that. This very cool, almost-baby-Corvette-like 1970 Opel GT is in Rochester, Minnesota, home of the famous Mayo Clinic, and also home to Clements Chevrolet, which coincidentally sells real, adult Corvettes. This little, baby Corvette is listed on eBay with a current bid of just over $500 and five days left on the auction.
The Opel GT was made almost entirely during the Nixon administration, from 1968 through 1973. Coincidence? I think not. I have no idea what that means, I was just trying to start a rumor. Actually, President Lyndon Johnson was still in office when these baby cars (fooled ya!) came to market. The Opel Experimental GT wowed the Frankfurt and Paris Motor Shows in 1965. Although it had rather pedestrian underpinnings from the Opel Kadett B, its shapely body was formed by the French firm of Brissonneau & Lotz. The public response was understandably positive and the car was brought to market, albeit, as is usually the case, with quite a few changes to the design. But, overall I think it was a successful transition from concept to production car.
This particular car was purchased by the current owner in 1990 and was put into dry storage where it’s been ever since. After realizing, some 26 years later, that they won’t have time to restore it, it’s now on the market. It will need quite a bit of work, in fact a total restoration is probably needed on this car. They were “told that it was a Texas car”, but there’s “a little Bondo in the body” and also “some rust-through at the bottom of the rockers and a couple small holes in the floor.” I guess vehicles can rust even in Texas.
As you can see, this was originally a Chrome Yellow car, but it was painted in some sort of wine-country shade of Merlot or something, for some reason. I would have to do a nut-and-bolt restoration on this car and it wouldn’t take long before the restoration costs would equal the value; like about two weeks into it. But, for a learning and life experience, everyone should restore a vehicle at some point if they have the opportunity to do so. Some Opel GTs came with automatic transmissions but thankfully this is a 4-speed car. However, the seller says that the “transmission works in all gears but the #2 & #3 synchros are weak.” The interior looks fairly rugged but maybe not too far gone.
Opel made 103,463 GTs between 1968 and 1973 and this 1970 GT has the 1.9L as opposed to the 1.1L engine. Oddly enough, the smaller engine would be more collectible today because they only made a little over 3,000 of them. But, when it comes to power, bigger is usually better so most folks opted for the bigger 1,897 cc engine with 102 hp as opposed to 67 hp for the smaller engine. The 1.9 also had Opel’s “cam in head” system as opposed to an overhead cam unit on the 1.1L engine. The seller says that the “engine starts easily, idles down and run decently. It’s a bit loud as the exhaust is a patch-work mess.” This car needs more work that I could give it, how about you? Is this baby.. I mean, this Opel GT past the point of financial feasibility given the amount of work that it needs?