Opel Manufacturing Company is a German automobile manufacturer located in Hesse, Germany. Commonly known in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, it is also a subsidiary company for General Motors and was marketed under the Buick brand in the United States and Canada. There were a few stylish passenger cars that made a name for Opel, one of the most prominent being the Opel GT. It was marketed twice, both under the model Opel GT. The later release was commonly referred to as a roadster. The GT appears to be a well loved car throughout it’s lifespan, with enthusiasts still boasting its quality today.
The Opel GT made its debut in 1965 as a prototype at motor shows in both Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France. It wasn’t until 1968 that the Opel GT was actually put into production. It was a two door sports car, originally desiged using a French body style contracted through designers Brissonaeu and Lotz. It’s main components however were featured also on the Opel Kadett model B. After only being produced for roughly six model years, the GT was retired in 1973. It made a brief resurface in 2007 but was no longer produced after 2009 when it was pulled from production for good due to a permanent closure of it’s production warehouse in Wilmington, Delaware.
Designed by Erhard Schnell, the original GT features both 4 speed manual and 3 speed automatic transmissions. It had a rear-wheel drive, with a front engine and a steel unibody. A very uncommon feature for cars at the time, was the Opel GT’s pop-up headlights. The body boasted a fastback design, which allowed zero trunk space. There was a small compartment located behind the seat with a small space for storage as well as a jack and spare tire. Although it appears to be a smaller car it had sufficient cab space, allowing a comfortable ride for those up to six feet tall. The Opel GT is noticeable for a number of reasons. Commonly, it is recognized as Maxwell Smart’s car in the popular comedy series Get Smart, even though it was only featured during the final season of the show.
Brissonaeu and Lotz lost their bodybuilding contract in 1973, and due to the competitive sports car market, the Opel GT was removed from production. Opel re-released the GT in 2007, as a two door roadster commonly referred to as the Saturn Sky in the United States and Canada. However, the Saturn Sky was it’s own entity and the Opel GT was marketed under Buick. It was designed by German designer Franz von Holzhausen. This model only featured a four cylinder direct-injection engine. It also featured a cloth top that folded down, much like it’s rival sports cars at the time. The production plant that produced the GT closed in 2009,ending production for good. The same plant also produced the sibling rival of the GT, the Saturn Sky.
During it’s short lived life, the Opel GT made an impression as an attractive roadster with a sleek, sporty design. It’s unique shape attracted drivers with a contrasting curved surfaces and sharp edges. It was known to have an incredibly smooth ride and exciting driving experience for enthusiasts and newcomers alike. The GT offered up a fun, sophisticated driving experience and attracted drivers from all walks of life. It is fairly safe to say that it offered up stiff competition to it’s sister models, the Pontiac Solstice and the previously mentioned Saturn Sky. Some might even go as far as to say that it even rivals the modern sports cars of today.