Enjoy as is or Restore? 1971 Opel GT

This one-owner, Jade Green Metallic 1971 Opel GT is a survivor and it appears to be in overall decent condition, unlike me. It’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of $4,300 which is over the Hagerty #4 “fair” value of $3,800. They list a #3 “good” car as being worth $8,300. This GT is located in the Queen City of Cincinnati, Ohio.

You can see that there will be some work to do on this car, a lot of work, actually. I’m surprised at the rising value of these cars when weren’t they just everywhere in great condition for $5,000? Ok, maybe that was a decade ago now.

This car has never been out in the rain.. ha, just kidding (tough crowd).. Kudos to the seller for providing a wealth of good photos of this car! Even into dusk, which is perfect for showing off the lights without it being too dark like with a lot of ads: “Hey, I think I’ll sell my car, I’ll just take photos now when it’s pitch black out..” Whew. This seller isn’t hiding anything, which always makes me think that they’re above board and honest. Shhhhhhh.. it’s sleeping. I’m a retractable headlight fan, even though sometimes they’re winking at you or something else is wrong with the system.

The interior looks decent, but seat covers and a dash cover usually mean that you’ll have to find OEM seat material and an OEM dash or have it fixed. You’ll need a strong back to wrestle the spare tire out of the rear compartment that’s behind the seats.

The seller says that the “car starts, runs, drives, shifts, brakes and handles excellent.” The Opel GT was made between 1968 and 1973 and this one has the bigger, optional 1.9L inline-four with around 102 hp. If a person can tackle some body work and some interior sprucing up, you’ll have a great little car on your hands. Does the amount of work needed on this car make it worth it to pay less than what a finished car would be, or would you hunt around for a nicer one for more money? Or, would you just drive and enjoy it as is?


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  1. 68 custom

    it looks to be in pretty good shape so I agree that it should be maintained and driven as is!

  2. Howard

    I think it would be fun to update the car a little. Rust proof it. Do some work on the engine and see if you can get 130hp out of it. Then enjoy it. I rode in a new one when I was a kid, but they didnt hold up very well.

  3. Rustytech Member

    Looks like a Corvette and an Opel cadet got together for some hanky panky.

    • John H

      Those were my thoughts the first time I saw one of these, and it was infatuation at first sight for a motorhead about a year from getting his license! I grew up in a small college town and saw one drive past the church as we were leaving Sunday services. Some memories really stick.

  4. Ken Nelson Member

    Styling stolen from the Rene Bonnet Djet car of the early ’60s, which was the very first mid-engine sports car, using a Renault 1100 cc engine from the R8/10 cars and Caravelles in the base car. My ’65 Matra Bonnet Djet 5S has the engine Gordini breathed on with his crossflow hemihead and 10.4:1 compression ratio for 94 hp out of the little 4 banger with two dual Weber DCOE sidedrafts, tubular header and huge oversize sump for racing. Plus the fiberglass body by Matra Aerospace on a tubular steel chassis overcomes the biodegradability of the Opel, not to mention 4 wheel discs from the ’63 Renaults on – Still a good looking body, even on GM hardware.

  5. Eric 10Cars

    I’ve always wanted one of these (along with a 240Z, Sonett III, Veloce Spyder, 124 Spyder, TR3A, and 54 Chrysler New Yorker :-)). They were very lightweight so the small engine gave them some pop. I’ve heard that they didn’t ventilate in the interior very well (couldn’t have been any hotter than my big Healey in the summer). A friend had an Opel Mantra and it handled really well, so I expect that the GT would do so too. We used to race on a country road, his Opel and my 2TC Corolla, and I had a hard time keeping up with him.

    • MikeH

      The ’54 Chrysler New Yorker certainly doesn’t fit the rest of your list.

      • Eric 10Cars

        Yup. Pop had a 54 Windsor for 200K+ miles so it has a special place in my heart. The New Yorker with its hemi is a better choice than the Spitfire flathead six in the Windsor. BTW, that’s my short list :-)

  6. Yellowjax Member

    Best car I ever owned.

  7. Adam Wright

    I always admired these and a friend recently had one at his shop and I got to really asses it, I was very surprised how small they are, I’m not a big dude but you better be good friends with your passenger.

  8. Vintageracer

    If you want one this Opel is a BARGAIN!

    Given all the junky $100 Opel GT’s everyone else has for sale on CL and other sites that need $15K worth of work to make em worth $7,500 this Opel would be a good purchase saving you untold amounts of Time and Money!

  9. D. King

    I always like these, and positively drooled anytime we passed by an Opel dealer in Europe–just ask my husband! They had some of the best-looking cars of the era, and we never got them in America.

    I’d redo some things. The interior needs work, and the right paint job (maybe some graphics, too) would make this car positively sing. If I didn’t already have 5 cars, I’d really consider it.

  10. G 1

    In1974, a guy at work had one of these and I had a 72 240z. All he ever saw were my taillights.

  11. Bobror

    This one would have 90 horsepower. Up to 1970, they were 102 hp but like all other GM products, compression ratios and therefore horsepower went down in model year 1971.

  12. ToniM

    My dad had a 73 in this exact same color. We called it Froggy because we thought it resembled a frog. Originally he intended to keep it and pass it along to me when I got my license, but by the early 80s he found parts getting hard to come by. Plus he decided a car that was that small–and hard for other people to see–might not have been the best idea for me (Dads worry about their daughters). It was no longer running by the time I started driving in 88 and a year or so later he sold it to a friend who wanted to make a project of it and fix it back up.

  13. G. Mason

    Would love to put a small block 350 in it.

  14. charlie Member

    Woman I was dating had one, it was fun to drive, handled far better than most cars on the road in ’71, not especially fast, but fun, and reliable, unlike my ’60 Jag, which was fun, and handled better, and was a lot faster, but totally unreliable, so we took her car if getting her home the same day was an issue.

  15. SFM5S

    Another neat looking car from the past that is vastly under-powered. I would lower it, upgrade the engine & suspension, and have a nice, fun little daily driver to commute to work.

  16. JoeBazots

    It’s great to see one that hasn’t rusted away like so many of them did. I think this is a fairly honest driver. If there isn’t much hidden rot, this could be a great little keeper. Drive it as-is until the motor goes, then upgrade with a beefier engine. If you want to keep it in the GM family, how about a turbo 4 out of a Cruze SS?

  17. plresultsman

    That green is rare. Lots of trouble spots with these, but it was my car in high school. Lot of fun to drive. Lots of annoying problems in electrical, headlights and the carb, too. Following someone else’s example of how to mod for reliability, power and suspension would be wise.

    • Bryan

      Have a 1970 sitting in my driveway, and a 1973 sitting in a scrap yard for a future parts or project. I am 53 yrs old and have owned 7 of these cars now. Including my very first car that was totaled out driving home from the DMV after getting my license. A man lost control of his car and hit me head on. What a way to go home and show dad your new license !! No need to modify, these cars were designed very nicely.

  18. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: this Opel GT sold for $5,150.

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