Opel and Buick, and the Opel GT

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Opel and Buick once belonged to General Motors. And at one point GM's control over all its subsidiaries was fairly broad and international. For example, the Opel Rekords around 1970 became very similar to Chevrolets. The Opel GT, according to quite a few people the only beautiful car ever made in Germany, looked a bit like a Corvette vest pocket. GM saw something in the sale of the Opel GTs in the States. And there the Opel GTs were put on the market under the Buick flag.

The French Connection

Besides the American-German link there was also The French Connection: The bodywork of the GT was not made in Germany but by the French company Chausson. Chausson then sent the bare bodies to the French firm Brissonneau & Lotz (B&L). That company took care of the paintwork and wiring, the installation of the interior, windows and chrome work. The bodies then went by train to Germany to be completed at the Bochum factory with the mechanical components. And that the chassis actually came from the Opel Kadett? Who cares?

In 1965, a concept car was presented in Paris and Frankfurt as a testament to the capabilities of Opel's design department. At that time the car already had largely the same shapes as the later definitive Opel GT. Given the positive response that the design study received at the auto shows, it was decided to put the model into production, based on the Opel B Kadett from a cost point of view. At the launch, the customer could choose from two different engines: the standard 1100 engine, or the optional 1900 engine.

The 1100 cc engine delivered a power of 67 hp, which made a top of more than 150 km / h possible. With a 1.900 cc block with 102 hp, the top speed was about 180 km / h. The American, the best-selling, variant of the 1.9L GT had to do with less horsepower due to environmental requirements: only 83 hp could be obtained. Most buyers opted for the latter engine, which, unlike the 1100, still delivered reasonable performance.

Such an 100.000 Opel GT

About 100.000 Opel GTs have been made. Of those, about 70.000 were sold in the States through GM's Buick dealer organization. To round the story: Opel presented an Opel GT again in 2007, but that was an American Saturn Sky with different emblems. The end of the first generation of Opel GTs was due to stricter environmental and safety requirements.

Many of the American Opel GTs have returned to the Old World. In the States, the Opels were seen as beautiful and cheap. From the third or fourth owner, they started to be neglected in the American way. Quite a few GTs also fell prey to the American tendency to put on thick V8s and blowers everywhere. Those dramatically rebuilt specimens are therefore lost from a historical point of view.

But an Opel GT that is in good condition has the looks of a thoroughbred and the quietly reliable nature of ... Well: of an Opel. You no longer have such a good GT for change. And then it doesn't matter if it has ever been sold through a Buick dealer in the States or through the Opel dealer in Dordrecht. But the pleasure that you can enjoy is priceless.



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