Mini-Corvette! 1970 Opel GT

I remember going into a Buick dealership as a teen around 1972 and seeing an Opel GT parked right next to an Electra 225. Strange pairing to say the least. It would be interesting to know what GM’s logic was to pair Opel with Buick. At any event, the Opel GT was around for about five years and resembled a baby Corvette from the Mako Shark era. This one is a 1970 model, has a lot of family heritage, and is looking for someone to love it as much as they do. It’s located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and available here on eBay where the no reserve auction is hovering around $4,500.

The Opel GT was first introduced at a show in Europe in 1965 as a concept car. The visual connection to the Corvette was always apparent as GM owned Opel at the time. Some of the designers were heavy hitters within GM, so the car was envisioned in earnest. Under the skin, the GT was based on the entry-level Kadett but it was executed well with bodies built in France. The car was launched for 1968 and most of the cars came with a 1887cc “high-cam” 4-cylinder engine that was good for 90 horsepower. The car saw production in the neighborhood of 103,000 units with 70 percent coming to the U.S., so that tells me it was thought of as a poor-man’s Corvette from the beginning. The Opel wouldn’t have been a good fit in the U.S. after 1973 because the small powerplant would be choked with emissions controls and the big bumpers of 1974 would ruin the look. So GM stuck a fork in the project.

The seller describes his car and the work done to it in great detail, although the pics aren’t as thorough. Photos of the interior are all but left out. As the car has a story, we’ll forgive that oversight. We’re told this car was the seller’s son’s first car, one that he’s kept all these years, but outgrown due to becoming a family man. It was a daily driver for many years and saw many a trip between North Carolina and Pennsylvania when he was in the Army. The Metallic Sable Black paint looks pretty good with the usual dings and scratches that would develop over 50 years. The car acquired fender flares and wider wheels at some point, which is said to give it a more aggressive stance. The tire are old and should be replaced.

Here’s an inventory of some of the more recent repairs and maintenance things that have been done to the car:

  • Wiring harness replaced up to the dash cluster
  • Engine rebuilt which was bored out to 2.0 liters with a camshaft upgrade
  • 4-speed manual transmission was rebuilt
  • Carburetor was professionally rebuilt
  • New exhaust including a high-flow header
  • New brakes all around

The seller advises not to look at this as a race car because its still has a small 4-banger under the hood. The odometer reading of 16,000 is said to be nowhere near accurate as it no longer works. At least 25,000 more miles have been traveled since the engine was rebuilt. So what is one of these little oddities worth nearly 50 years after the fact? Well, NADA says the top end is $20,000. Three years ago, Hagerty pegged flawless models at $26,000 and good ones at more like $8,000. So if this car is as nice as it sounds and considering that people aren’t lining up to buy Opel’s, I would think the smaller figure may be where this auction stops.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Yumpin’ yiminey, that’s the cleanest GT I think I’ve ever seen. Oh, they were dismal cars, but in the early 70’s, there was little to compare it to. A Datsun Z car was a different class, more of the MGBGT crowd type of car. Even though it had a swoopy exterior, it was outdated Kadett all the way, it’s apparent downfall. There was nothing wrong with Kadett mechanics, just not for a changing time. Fast forward to today, this is a great find, just because they were such a flop when new,( a 2 year old Corvette could be had for the same money) but today, for some reason, is what is appealing, go figure. Negatives include, the headlights, no back seat, no trunk or access, 4 speed, lackluster motor,, positives are,,,um, bulletproof mechanicals, although not outstanding in either performance or gas mileage, Opel quality, and with all that’s been done to it, an apparent bargain. Cool find.

    Like 6
  2. alphasud Member

    When I drive into town I take this shortcut to avoid the traffic/lights and on this side street lives a retired fellow with a orange Opal GT. I don’t think he ever drives it but he keeps it under a car cover when the weather is gray. I know it’s silly but it’s always one of the highlights of driving to town.

    Like 17
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    It would be nice to see something other than the front and back of the car.

    Like 8
  4. Bultaco

    Shame about the flares as this was a great design. The looks wrote checks that the mechanicals couldn’t cash, but as a kid, I thought they were the coolest things smaller than a Trans Am or Z28. Hope it finds a good home.

    Like 7
    • Jim

      I’m with you. Hate that they ruined the car with those add-on flares.

      Like 3
  5. Dcor

    Awesome to see one in such great condition! My parents had a brand new gold 68 that they had to trade in on a Kadette wagon when I came along. Dad loved his baby Vette and would tell stories of people flocking to it wondering what the hell it was!

    Like 3
  6. Big Len

    I think the flares look great.

    Like 11
    • Fred W

      I agree. I think this is a great color for a GT too. I bought a Manta in the 70’s, I’ll bet with the overbore the performance is similar. So far the price is incredibly low.

      Like 2
  7. JMG

    You can hide a lot of Opel GT RUST under pretty paint. I have had a few. Damn, they rusted! And a PA car? Bring your magnets and body checkin’ tools! But it is pretty. Loved them cars to drive.

    Like 6
    • Gerard Frederick

      Manufactured in — France? This internationalization is like a sickness. THAT is the reason for the rust problem French and Italian cars rust rapidly. As far as Opel goes, they were once one of the powerhouses of the automotive world. Im 1929 they built a rocket powered air plane as well as a rocket powered supermotorcycle that made a H-D look wimpy. The original 24-hour race track was built by Opel in the 20´s to test their production products for reliability and in WW2 they were called ¨The back bone of the Wehrmacht¨ due to their indestructable ¨Blitz¨ truck. Then in the post war years they dominated the European market with market shares of up to 25%. Then Detroit decided to get involved in the daily operations in the early 2000´s, drained the bank account, foisted an idiot Mexican (!) as CEO on the company and predictably ended up destroying this once great outfit. Today it´s a second-class Peugeot- It seems whatever GM has touched in the last 30 years has crashed and burned. Truly sad.

  8. Sid Member

    I bought a brand new Silver Opel GT right after graduating from college. I wanted to buy a 240Z but there was a waiting list. To get on the waiting list I would have to give the dealer $400 and wait 6 weeks or so. $400 was a lot of cash for me at the time. I had about $200 and that was enough to make the down payment on the Opel GT. Not half the car the 240Z would have been but it was the Opel GT or nothing.
    About a month or so later I got a check in the mail for $320 from the government as a rebate for buying a new car…buying a good gas mileage car… I can’t remember. $320 was like $3,000 today. I don’t think I would have got it if I bought the Z car so all was well.
    Two years later I sold it and bought a Silver 1969 427 Corvette coupe. No one over 40 years old knew I made the switch.
    Every time I see an Opel GT it takes me back.

    Like 3
  9. Jt Member

    My dream car when they first appeared.

    Like 3
  10. John

    Mini-Corvette? Hahaha!

    Like 2
  11. martinsane

    Looks like a fine car for that kind of dough.
    Ive always liked them.
    Compared to other 1970s cars for 100 times that cost for 200 times less it seems a bargain.

    Like 2
  12. Robert Wise

    Its an easy swap out with a old buick V6. Then it will play! Had one around the late 70″s

    Like 1
    • Kilroy396

      I like to do a resto-mod on one.
      Transplant the drivetrain from a late model V-6 Camaro. Make it the Mini-Vette it always should have been!

      Like 1
  13. Karl

    Mini Corvette? boy is THAT an insulting thing to say!

    Like 4
    • Bernie Chaziquasidence

      …but which car should be insulted

      Like 3
  14. Reg van Buuren

    a mini Corvette …

  15. jokacz
    • james malone

      I remember a drag car Opel GT called “Short and Shaky”. A photo caught it with the front end up and just after the rear wheels hooked up. It was literally air-born heading down the track, and yes, this was before the days of Photoshop!

      Like 1
  16. Bob Wallace

    Designed by Tony LaPine (before the corvette) who went on to design the Porsche 944. I had a 1970, and the only bad thing about the car was the Solex carb. And the rust. Otherwise it was a fun car, and definitely a head turner

    Like 2
  17. Roger Burden

    I have owned 3 GTs the last one I built on a Suzuki Samirai 4×4 drive train Miss that sweet ride

    Like 1
  18. Racer-X

    Pontiac Banshee. Without it the GT and stingrays would never exist. This GT looks amazing. The fenders blend well. If I had room this would be my next impulse buy.

    Like 2
  19. Mitchell Ross

    i would jump on that for under 5K! To say it was a flop with 103,000 sold in 3 years is unfair. 2 seaters did not have sedan production numbers. Performance with the 2.0 should be better that the king of showroom stock Mantas and Asconas due to lower weight. I like the flares and rims, it all works well together.

    Like 2
  20. Karl

    An LS does NOT a Corvette make! Just because the lines of a car are vaguely similar does not even come close to making it what it’s sure not! The only way it could ever even come be similar would be to mount this body onto a Vette chassis and good luck with that! Corvettes have come a whole long ways with the C6, 7 and 8!!

  21. Steve Clinton

    Sold for $6800. I can’t believe this didn’t garner 5 figures. Someone got a great deal!

  22. Mark Maier

    I took possession of my 72 Opel GT 3 months after I graduated from high school, brand new !!still have the car with its original interior updated to a 2.0, Weber carburetor, headers with 2in exhaust ,15in Tires and Wheels . She remains my high school sweetheart that I will return in 2022 for the 50th class reunion❤👍😁

    Like 2
  23. Paul Schwalm

    Don The Snake Purdome ran one of these with a small block Chevy motor in 1974, as I recall.

  24. Wichita

    As I recall after test driving one it had lots of understeer. Thought it might he a fun car to get but had difficulty getting around a freeway entrance cloverleaf. Great color for that design.

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