Corvette Alternative: 1972 Opel GT

This 1972 Opel GT is one of the better ones we’ve seen lately, although it is saddled with an automatic transmission. That’s OK – it likely played a role for the high state of preservation on display. The seller notes a previous owner purchased the car for his wife, but ended up enjoying the GT more than his C3 Corvette as it provided a reprieve from the Vette’s manual transmission. This mostly original paint example is listed here on eBay with bidding over $3K and no reserve. 

As someone who loves driving manual transmissions, I’ve not enjoyed the past year with an automatic car as a daily for the first time in years. I bought it out of necessity and the thought that my wife might need the car; that has happened once, when I didn’t return in time with her vehicle before she had an appointment. That being said, I suppose I can understand being a few years older and tired of pushing a clutch in every day. This Opel GT was certainly cared for despite being laid up for several years until the current seller came along. Check out the nice chrome bumpers, luggage rack and old-school Oregon tags.

The interior shows quite well with just some minor upholstery splitting to note. If you’re noticing the bright paint, the seller believes it is mostly original with some minor blending performed, noting: “The paint is mostly factory code 529 Fire glow orange enamel. The car has had some paint work done on it at some point on the rear deck and rear panel and the drivers door still shows some areas that were previously repaired and blended in what appears to be lacquer.” The seller also notes he bought as a project to work on with his son, who has since moved out and now the Opel simply sits.

The seller hasn’t done much besides bypass a leaking heater core and repair the finicky headlights. Other issues include a leaking transmission pan and weak brakes; the car also smokes a bit when cold. Better news is that a previous owner has already upgraded the carb to a Weber 32/36, and that even after sitting, the points just needed to be cleaned up for the GT to fire again. The automatic may be a drag, but it also likely saved this GT from being driven hard and put away wet. Bidding is restrained for the moment, so this could be a decent buy. Is it worth performing a manual transmission swap or leaving as-is?

 

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Comments

  1. Mark

    Always liked these , especailly in Gasser form. However, not many left in this condition so cutting this one up would be a shame. GLWTS.

    6
  2. Adam Wright

    I’ve always loved these. I finally got to sit in one at a friend’s shop, it was surprisingly small, and I’m not a big dude. 5’9″.

    1
    • Brian Corey Brian c Member

      You should scoot the seat back. I’m the same height and fit in mine just fine.

  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I agree this car is too nice to start modifying. I also liked these cars from new. Owned a couple kadets with 1.1 liter engines. One 67 coupe with 4 speed manual, one 69 1.1liter automatic station wagon. It was a dog but both cars got around 40 mpg driving a 25 mile commute to work daily.

    4
  4. AMCFAN

    Several thoughts here. I agree this is a nice clean example and you hardly see them this clean. I am surprised there isn’t more of a cult following. It does look like a mini Corvette. It is made by a GM subsidiary. In a few years there would be the Fuel Crisis and should have been on top of the world instead of fading away.

    My interest is not on the Opel but the cars in the background. The new generation of collectibles on the road now. That’s a very collectible Toyota parked behind it
    This is what’s funny. Either Grandpa backed the GT out in the street for pics or some younger guys picked this up for a quick flip. or the guy lives in a heavy hood. Major tuner element on that street hehe

  5. El D'Amato

    I don’t get the “Corvette Alternative” statement. That is as much nonsense as calling the Dodge 024 a “Scirocco Alternative” At least use a question mark.

    “Corvette Alternative”? The answer would still be “No”

    4
    • Gay Seattle Car Nut

      Another statement I’ve heard of the Opel GT is the German Corvette. I’m like “What?!”

      3
  6. Shawn Fox Firth

    30yrs ago when I started driving tow truck a guy that ran a repair shop had a tube chassis big tire Opal GT with an LS7 tunnel ram 2-4s for sale it was a fresh build , he wanted $10.5 I was 24 and wanted it real bad well I started squirreling away money behind my wife’s back I got up to $7500 only to find out he sold it for less than what I had on hand man I was pissed . . .

    6
    • Shawn Fox Firth

      OPEL OPEL OPEL not Opal …sorry

      3
  7. Pa Tina

    Opel Opel

    10
  8. jw454

    No thanks… I was never a fan but, I’ll take a Opel Kadett Rallye if you have one.

    2
  9. Oliver Felix Rojas

    As painful as it may be to see such a car optioned with an automatic I theorize it is worth leaving saddled with an automatic unless it becomes a daily driver for a person that likes driving vintage cars.

    1
    • John T.

      As much as I strongly prefer manual transmissions, I would reluctantly keep the automatic … If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If and when the tranny blows, Then change it to a stick.

  10. KEN TILLY

    The reason that it only smokes on start up is most likely due to worn, or dried out from standing, valve stem seals. There is an oil we use in SA called Wynn’s Charge. Install it and drive it for couple of weeks and the seals usually soften up back to original. problem solved.

    8
  11. Al Courtines

    Get rid of those horrible after-market door mirrors!

  12. Hoos Hoos Member

    When I was in elementary school, I caught the bus at the corner. The house on the corner had one of these, and I was in love with it. It looked like nothing I’d ever seen, as there were no Corvettes in our new suburban neighborhood. It was red, and I usually only saw it from the back parked in the driveway. Being the age I was, it didn’t look like a small car to me…. I guess perspective is everything.

    2
  13. Mr. TKD

    A manual swap would make it more desirable, but would the benefit be worth it? It would have to be a labor of love.

    2
  14. Mr. TKD

    A manual swap would make it more desirable, but would the benefit be worth it? I don’t believe you would recover the cost.

  15. Tom Weiskotten

    I had a ’70 GT. It was part graduation gift from my parents…they paid the down payment and the first couple of payments while I was in boot camp. It was a manual and the transmission wasn’t too hot. After driving it for about 4 weeks, the tranny went. It took 6 weeks to get it fixed as there wasn’t a certified Opel dealer in the area. Got it back while home after basic and the transmission linkage wasn’t put back together properly and it became stuck in 4th gear. Came home again after 2 weeks and drove it to Chanute AFB. I rented it to a “friend” for $35 for a weekend. It came back totaled! He was driven off a small cliff! The deal was if he wrecked it, I would get his ’70 Chevelle SS396! He went home to get that and it blew up 100 miles from his house! I traded the GT for a ’70 Plum Purple 383 Super Bee. I never even got my $35.00! Still have a few fond memories of driving the GT!

    4
    • Michael Conway

      Great story, Tom. I was at Chanute for AF Tech School in 1983. Good times.

      1
  16. Andrew Franks

    I would ignore the transmission issue, do a fix on what’s needed and drive it.

    2
  17. RicK

    Every time I see an Opel GT, I always think of the old “Get Smart” TV series. And those “old school” Oregon license plates (or tags depending upon where you’re from) are likely the ones it was delivered with to the original buyer. Oregon is one of few states (including California) that still doesn’t require new license plates, not sure exactly how far that goes back but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen 1955 model year cars still wearing their original issue Oregon plates. Up until the mid 80s in Washington State (where I live) you could keep your orignal issue 1963 plates, and on cars so equipped the neat thing was you could tell what part of the state the car was first licensed in, since the first 3 letters identified the County of issue, that way you could easily I.D. cars from the drier Eastern part of the state (that were not rusty for the most part) and avoid cars from the coast that lived close to ocean and more likely had rust problems.

    1
  18. graham line

    A Getrag 240 5-speed is a common conversion and parts/advice are available. 240 was used in the late BMW 320i and 84-85 318i. Stuck points are common with the Opel 1900. Looks like mostly fiddly, time-consuming work. Had the 1900 wagon and these cars are easy to work on if you can find parts.

  19. Jack Quantrill

    Wheeler Dealers rebuilt a green one. Weird headlight mechanism!

    3
  20. Michael Conway

    Learned how to drive a stick in an Opel GT. My sisters boyfriend had one. Cool guy. I was around 14.

    1
  21. Gay Seattle Car Nut

    I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had an Opel GT like this. I can’t remember whether it had a manual shifting transmission or an automatic. But overall, it looked just like this Opel GT.

  22. steve kane

    I owned 2 (red and the 2nd one was yellow) back in the ’70s and they were a ton of fun to drive, solid and while not really fast they were quick and handled fantastic. Mine were both sticks and I was disappointed to see this with an automatic but for the price might be worth picking up and converting. I have heard that parts can be an issue… lot’s of memories there.

  23. michaedo

    50th anniversary celebration happening the end of April in
    Las Vegas. GTs from around the world are expected to
    attend.
    Drove a GT to New York City and back on a dare last Nov.
    48 hours to get there from Oakland, 44 hours to get back
    to Redondo Beach. I was too busy back when the original
    Cannonball was run but now that I’m retired it’s time to
    attack the bucket list before there’s too many holes in
    that bucket. So that’s why we did it.

    4
  24. Joe

    Only the kids with rich parents own this car.

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