No Reserve: 1969 Opel GT 1.9

Debuting in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows, the Opel GT was originally just a styling exercise. Come 1968, however, they decided to make it a real, live car. Exceptionally lightweight, its base model 1.1 liter, 87 horsepower engine was more than enough. This example, though, comes with the more common and more desirable 1.9 liter engine, making 102 horsepower when new. Built by GM, it was sold in the US through Buick dealerships and assembled in Germany. All Opel GTs had pop-up headlights that spun around, rather than flipped up; a mid-front-engine layout, with the engine, mounted well behind the front axle; and a transverse leaf spring front suspension. You can find this one here on eBay, in Louisville, Kentucky, where the current bid at the time of writing is just $790. 

That $790 price is extremely tempting, if for nothing else than its affordability. You, too, can own a classic European sports car for less than $1,000, and that’s wonderful. The caveat with that is that this car needs some work. It doesn’t run, there’s rust (but the seller thinks it’s repairable), and it’s missing the radiator and carburetor. With those exceptions, the car is complete, and the interior doesn’t look half bad, all things considered. Sure, it’s missing some carpet, the dashboard is cracked, and it looks like it’s missing the HVAC controls, but the seats and door cards are good, and all the glass is there.

I said earlier in this article that the seller says it doesn’t run, and is missing both the radiator and carburetor. Who knows, if you’re lucky the reason it doesn’t run could be because of the missing carburetor, then all you gotta do is put a carb on it and you’re good to go. It could also be much worse than that, but I’m choosing to look on the bright side of things and take all the good I can on a sub-$1,000 Opel GT. 

What you got here is a fantastic example of a money pit. The cost of entry is basically nothing, but the whole car will need a rebuild, with some extensive and expensive bodywork needed to fix the rust below the doors. This being a unibody car, the rust is basically a death knell unless you can get it fixed. I’m trusting the seller here, and a motivated tinkerer could probably make it work really well. You won’t be winning any Concours shows any time soon, but this is a great project with a potentially very rewarding and unique experience at the end of the restoration.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    Be afraid…Be VERY AFRAID!! The $790 entry will suck you into a bottomless vortex from which you emerge much poorer, but wiser! GLWTA & to the brave buyer!! :-)

    Like 9
  2. Steve R

    Better parts car than project. Worth a maximum 50% of the value of its parts. Probably only worth picking up for someone already restoring one.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  3. electronika

    These hide rust. Under the battery tray up front, under the doors, behind the seats in the cubby….. this is a parts car..

    Like 6
  4. Euromoto Member

    Not only is it missing HVAC controls, it’s missing HVAC entirely, as was any car prior to maybe the late’80’s, early’90’s

    Like 2
  5. steve

    While this is surely a parts car, looking past that, It was really cool that interesting automobiles like this were an option back then. Now, you only get to select the color of your new angry looking jellybean.

    Like 10
    • karl

      any color, as long as its white grey or black !

  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Any rust is repairable. It just depends on how much of your life you want to dedicate to fixing rust. Agree on the parts car comments.

    Like 6
  7. MGSteve

    While not totally free, I think this car still qualifies for the following advice: “The most expensive car in the world?” A free car.

    Like 4
  8. Steve Clinton

    It would be too much trouble sweeping up the rust pieces that fell off the car after driving it.

    Like 2
  9. Gerard Frederick

    An abused car is NEVER cheap, but always a bottomless money pit.

    Like 3
  10. chrlsful

    I’m w/steve, only reason to not go fer it is a dislike for the Model and fear of wrk. I echo the :
    “seen worse brought back”, “project of love”, “never git yer money back”, etc, etc. Nuttin wrong w/’the baby vette’ -&- get safe, runnable/stoppable and continue frm there. I got the initial spares right here (tho a ford6 guy). Bet a 32/36 weber progressive will do nice for beginner’s the ’60s radiator might wrk w/a miged in bracket or 2… On to breaks, wiring, tank clean and some patch panels 8^ 0

  11. Derek

    New sills aren’t that dear. Mantas and Cavaliers were numerous so all the peripherals can probably be had fairly easily. Get jiggy with the mig….

    Like 1
  12. britcarguy

    The Opel GT that debuted in 1965 did not look like the production version. I fell in love with the prototype but was less enthusiastic as the production photos came out. Look up Opel GT Prototype photos on images. I saw two of them at a museum in Frankfurt. One was a targa.

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