No Reserve: 1969 Opel Deluxe GT

The Opel GT remained in production from late 1968 until 1973. During that time, somewhere around 70,564 cars found their way into the USA for sale through Buick dealerships. Unfortunately, attrition rates for these little cars proved to be quite high, and finding good examples today is a task that is becoming increasingly difficult. This 1969 GT looks like it is a good one, and it could easily become yours. It is located in Seattle, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Opel has reached $5,100 in a No Reserve auction.

The styling of the GT should look somewhat familiar because some of its cues were taken from the 1965 Mako Shark II concept. That means that the GT also bears a striking resemblance to the C3 Corvette in some areas. This car is finished in its original Strato Blue, and if the owner’s description is accurate, then it is a solid and clean car. This is a vitally important factor to consider because the unibody Opel could be very rust-prone, and it was this that contributed to the car’s high attrition rate. There are no visible rust issues with the car, while the exterior trim and the glass look to be in good condition. This little car has apparently been in storage for a while, but it doesn’t appear to be any worse for the experience. The intention had been to restore the car, but this is a process that never actually commenced. The GT features hidden headlights, and these are another area of the car which has to be checked carefully. Because of the way that these operate (they swing over rather than pop up), the wiring for the headlights needs to be very flexible. Over time, the insulation on the wires can become hard and potentially brittle. This has been known to lead to electrical shorts in the headlight circuit. Overall though, the car looks to be quite promising.

Powering the GT is an 1,897cc 4-cylinder engine, producing 102hp. This power is sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. Standard fitment for the GT was power front disc brakes. Performance for the Opel was quite respectable and was helped by the fact that the car tipped the scales at a mere 2,072lbs. The engine bay of this car looks largely original, with the exception of the air cleaner. It isn’t clear whether the original Solex carburetor lies beneath that, or whether someone has followed the path of replacing this with a Weber, which was a common occurrence. If that change has been made, then it will potentially unlock a few additional horses from that engine. The owner says that the GT runs and drives well, and is the sort of car that can be driven and enjoyed as the restoration process takes place.

The black interior of the GT is serviceable, but it will need some work to return it to its best. The seat covers are showing some wear and splitting, while the door trims and parts of the console are also beginning to look tatty. Replacement parts are surprisingly easy to locate, but they definitely aren’t what you would call cheap. A replacement kit of door trims and quarter panels can be had for around $550, while seat covers will run to around $200 each. The console might be able to be restored with a bit of time and patience, so finding a replacement might not be an issue. I noticed that there is a crack in the dash pad, but once again, this might be able to be repaired rather than replaced. One interesting aspect of the GT interior is the lever on the console just forward of the shifter. This actually manually raises the headlights, rather than using the more common electric or vacuum operation. This system proved to be simpler and cheaper to produce than the other systems.

While it has been generally accepted that 70,564 Opel GTs found their way into the US during their entire production run, figures show that 11,880 were sold during the 1969 model year. Just how many survive today is an unknown, with many succumbing to rust issues. This car has avoided that fate and could be a good candidate for the person hunting for a more unusual and distinctive restoration project.

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Comments

  1. Dennis Marth

    Ah, the baby Vette. I’ve always loved the style. Unfortunately, they rusted as badly as Fiats and Chevy Vegas. But, they rode nice handled well and had just enough umph to be fun.

    Cool cars if you can find a nice one. This one looks very nice indeed.

    Like 8
  2. Moparman Member

    OOOOH! In my favorite color, no less! So many desirable cars popping up on BF, so little time and $$$$!! Sigh!!! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 5
  3. Howard A Member

    I’m sure that’s the junk Solex, I had several Opels, and replaced the Solex with a Pinto carb that bolted right on, and much better results. The GT was an ok car, certainly unlike anything else in small cars, but fell horribly short in many respects. Starting at the front, the headlights were a constant problem, especially in the cold, it was a complex series of cables and linkage, that would bind and break. I remember many GT’s with the headlights always open. The 1.9 , while a good motor, had neither good performance ( the 1.1 even less) and so-so gas mileage, sorely needed a 5 speed, no back seat or trunk, and at the time, one could buy a barely used REAL Corvette for the same price. My daughter had a Saturn SC1, which seemed to address all the GT’s problems. The GT’s were fun little cars.

    Like 2
    • jeff

      Hey Howard, as you had many Opels, do you know if that Pinto carb you mentioned would fit in an 1.7S Opel motor from 1967?
      Thanks for your reply!
      Jeff

      • KEVIN L HARPER

        The pinto uses a 32/36 weber or the holley equivalent called the 5200 I think

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Jeff, I read Opel made a slew of “cam-in-head” engines, all seeming to use the 2 barrel Solex. The thing I liked about the Pinto carb, which I think was an Autolite,(?) it had a mechanical secondary, as opposed to the vacuum secondary on the Solex. By the time the
        vacuum opened the secondary, it was time to shift, plus that Solex never idled right. I think it should fit.

    • JoeNYWF64

      I’m sure the owner’s manual said to open the headlites if snow or ice was coming. & maybe also it said the linkage needed wd40 or white lithium grease say once every few months – & no one bothered [to read it]? lol
      Once the damage is done, can you disconnect the linkage & simply push on the headlites to open & close them? Of course then 1 would have to find a way to KEEP them open or closed.
      Surprised these parts are still available!
      https://www.opelgtparts.com/ersatzteile-neu/karosserie/schwenkmechanismus.html?___store=english&___from_store=default

      Like 1
      • OldCarGuy

        The headlights weren’t the problem when there was snow and ice, the door handles were. The push buttons would freeze inside the handles. Ah, good times.

      • Britcarguy

        I had my ’69 when I lived in snow country. Yes the door locks were a pain, but even more frustrating was the frozen gas cap lock.

  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I used to know someone who had one back in the day. Assuming parts are available and mechanicals are available, I would hope that maintenance is possible.

  5. James Mogey

    I bet that those headlights no longer pop down.

  6. steve

    The headlights don’t “pop” they ROLL! Grab that big handle in front of the shifter and over they go. All mechanical.

    Like 2
  7. Hounderville

    Contrary to the seller’s description as “all original unrestored”, this GT has been re-painted. Check the front quarter picture in the auction. The original Monza Blue can be seen on the cowl grill work under the hood, but the new coat is much darker. Who know what degree of bodywork it has undergone.

    Like 5
    • OldCarGuy

      Right! There’s overspray on the rubber under the VIN tag as well.

  8. Karl

    I have always found it irritating when this car is referred to as a “baby Vette” I don’t know how this can be said with a straight face?

    Like 1
  9. Steve

    I had a 70 in a similar color with a white interior from ~78-82. I loved it and it was fun to drive, but I did spend a lot of time on fixing bugs in the headlights and carb. My Dad and I would regularly take the carb off and he’d clean it in an ultrasonic machine he had at work. Electrical gremlins were frequent, too. If I could land a pristine one and make some upgrades to the suspension, engine for horsepower and wheels/tires (mine had the ones pictured), I’d never sell it.

    Like 1
  10. craig

    The valve cover on this one shows that it is the 1.1 engine, not the 1.9.

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