Fun 4-Speed Driver: 1972 Opel GT 1.9L

So many things have been said about the Opel GT, most of them bad, but they can actually be great little cars with the right tweaks. Clearly, there are a few people out there that really love these! The owner of this example has enlisted the help of an Opel specialist to get it moved along, so it’s currently parked in a shop surrounded by other GTs. Even if you aren’t a fan of these, you have to admit that it’s a cool sight to see, even if it’s simply because you rarely see these anymore! This one is located in Cookeville, Tennessee with an opening bid price of $6,500 and you can bid here on eBay.

The GT has often been called the baby Corvette, which could be one of the reasons they didn’t catch on here in the States. They might look similar and even feature some similar suspension components, but the two are very different cars that were targeted and entirely different buyers. The GT was designed to be a nimble European sports car rather than a V8 powered grand tourer like the Corvette. Comparing the two really is like comparing apples and oranges. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses!

In the case of this car, it’s weakness doesn’t come from the 1.9L 4-cylinder which is said to run great. Rather, it’s the car’s interior and overall cosmetics. It isn’t in terrible condition, but it definitely is going to need work to be a really fun driver. The seller notes that some rust repair has been done to the floors and while that’s a concern, I’m more worried about the issues that can’t be seen. As long as the rust was contained to where the floors have been patched, then it shouldn’t be an issue, but you just never know. I’m also a little worried at what it will cost to replace that dash, it sure is cracked!

I’ve seriously considered trying to find an Opel GT to use as a warm-weather driver. One of my neighbors owns several Opel Kadetts, which shared a number of components with the GT and they are a blast to drive! This one isn’t perfect, but it could be fun to fix up. If nothing else, it would be worth taking a look to see the listing agent’s shop and all the other GTs. So how do you feel about these Opels?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Love the styling.

    9
  2. Sundaydriver

    I say yes to the Opel GT.
    Bad memories of back yard mechanics have maligned these great little cars for far too long.
    They are simple cars with plenty of space to work on/in with a strong parts and enthusiast fanbase.

    Buy one.
    Correct the back yard mistakes with proper parts and knowledge.
    Thank me later.

    19
  3. ccrvtt

    I drove one once when they first came out. I thought it was cool as heck, and I’ve always admired the styling. I’ve never understood the negativity and I suspect some of it comes from hearsay and folklore and not actual experience. Every marque seems to suffer from this to an extent.

    For example, I once drove a Pinto hatchback from Atlanta to Albuquerque with 3 adults in the car. All 3 of us were not incinerated from an exploding gas tank.

    Additionally I once owned a Corvette with the most comfortable seats I’ve ever sat in. Hard to believe, I know.

    I’ve driven BMWs that felt plasticky and cheap and Kias that were better looking.

    Not all common knowledge is knowledge. The only thing that all cars have in common is that someone, somewhere is not going to like something about it.

    36
    • Mr.BZ

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!

      6
      • Jay

        To ccrvtt:

        Bravo……

        5
  4. Nsuracer

    My biggest complaint about the Opel GT is the fact that it is a Kadett B chassis. That means it has a transverse leaf spring front suspension. The Mantas and Asconas were much better handling cars.

    5
    • ccrvtt

      Hmm, what other famous car has transverse leaf spring suspension? I mean, one that purportedly outhandles nearly every other car made?

      5
      • PETER G WHELAN

        If you’re referring to the original Shelby Cobra, the transverse leaf spring suspension, willowy chassis and undersized brakes were the worst things about it. Extremely light weight, a slick new engine and transmission were the best things. Transverse leaf springs go back to the 20’s. Not a plus.

        3
  5. JoeNYWF64

    2 big mufflers behind a small 1.9 minimal motor?
    Best to replace em with 1 turbo muffler.

    2
  6. Dan

    I like the Opel GT. The featured example strikes me as a bit pricey, though.

    1
    • Scott 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

      Last time i saw one here (scotland) was a very long time ago and it was an import , don’t even know if they where sold here , I know ascona & manta where as well as the other GM europe siblings such as the vauxhall magnum / ferenza , chevette & cavalier
      I love the styling vast improvement over typical British sports cars of the period except for the lotus elan s3 & s4

      3
  7. Barry Traylor

    From the front they always made think Mini-Corvette. I did own an Opel Manta and like it a lot.

    3
  8. ccrvtt

    Peter Whelan – Never heard of a Corvette?

    1
  9. Steve

    I had one in high school. Very fun to drive. Surprisingly roomy. The electrical bits, head lamp mechanism and carburetor are the trouble spots, but as other have pointed out, there is a good supply chain of parts and knowledge to fix or upgrade them.

    4
  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    I regret that I’ve never driven an Opel GT. However I’ve seen at least a couple of them in person. One was a chocolate brown coloured car owned by a neighbour of mine when I was a boy.

    • Billieg

      Bought one for my second wife in 1975. You aren’t missing much…. The car wasn’t all that bad but the wife?

      • Rex Kahrs Member

        I suspect the car at this point looks better than the second wife, eh?

        1
  11. Graham Line

    Have lived with GTs, and with the later 1900 (Ascona/Manta).
    Some of the 1900s looked like shoeboxes, but they were much more pleasant cars to live with.
    The biggest problems were the Solex carbs, and the Buick dealers who sold them.
    The mechanical bits of the cars were simple, strong, and easy to work on.
    Hard to get a read on this one.

    2
  12. Genemak

    The GT is like a beautiful woman with chit for brains. She looks beautiful on the outside, but once you talk to her, you realize there is no substance. The GT is a beautiful car, yet it is stuck with a suspension from the mid-sixties that just does not perform. The Manta and Ascona were superior in every way, from handling to interior roominess and utility. The GT is a nice car to experience for the short term, but I wouldn’t want to be married to it.

    1
    • arizman2

      My brother has a fully prepared Ascona race car.

      1
  13. JMG

    Had two in HS… Bought the first one not knowing much about the art of hiding severe rust, and discovered that the fenders and sills were more bondo than steel… like 5″ up the sides! That one became the parts car for my second one, which was much more solid. These things RUST with merry abandon! Buy with caution. Wheel arches and sills were all designed to be water tight, so once the water got in them…. oy. I would only pay $6500 if the car was VERY rust free, personally.

    But I will say my Opel GT was one of the best DRIVER cars I ever had. Way nicer ride than the 10 various British sports cars I have had. And they are just sexy little cars.

    2
  14. lbpa18

    I always thought the lines of this car were timeless. The proportions were correct and sensual. Given they are metal, if one could find a rust-free example, what a great place to start a nice machine. Either restore this or use it as a platform for great performance. Give her another life.

    2
  15. schooner

    I’ve commented on previous GTs on Barn Finds so I won’t rehash them as several have made my points above. I will comment that at 6’2″ I fit with plenty of room in mine and the spare is a PITA.

    2
  16. Louis Q Chen

    Would be a good little wannabe Corvette unless there might be hidden rust somewhere? I had a ’73 GT. It was a good car and handled quite good. The engine had good power if one would feed it with premium fuel! From tis small infatuation with Opel cars, I graduated to the Opel Manta which was a good car as well! Too bad my baby ‘Vette rusted to death!

    1
  17. arizman2

    In 1972, the SCCA had a class called “showroom stock”. I ran my 1972 fiat 124 spider in that series in the northwest. My chief competitor had an Opel GT. I recall one race at Seattle International Raceway in which I spun the 124 going into turn 3. I figured all was lost but managed to catch and pass the Opel on the last lap coming out of turn 8 onto the straight, setting a new class lap record for the class in the process. I hated that Opel.

    2
  18. the one

    1976 ,we were looking at these, wound up with an MGB roadster. Hey, think I’ll show it to my best friend and see what she says. Yep, same awesome women, 43 years..

    3
  19. Christopher A. Junker

    As mentioned above, with the Manta/Ascona front suspension a GT would have been a real winner. My first new car was a blue Opel Manta Luxus and I remember it as a nice, good handling, comfortable and well built small car. The GT was just plain fun to drive. Our local Buick dealer was clueless about both cars and had no idea what nice cars they were. At my office we had owners for two Mantas and a GT, all of us liked them. An Oregon company, MORE Opel offered after market parts that helped turn my car into something that ran a whole lot better. I just wish I could have afforded the European version’s 5 speed.

    • arizman2

      My brother’s race prepped Ascona has a close ratio 5 sp ZF transmission. Sweet

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