View Full Version : Opel

09-07-2004, 10:47 PM
What do you think of Opels? Are they worth the investment?

09-07-2004, 11:03 PM
Opels? Investment? What investment? They're a dime a carload.

09-07-2004, 11:10 PM
Tell me how you really feel. : )

Just a thought.

09-07-2004, 11:36 PM
Kinda neat looking but not a great car from what I've been told.

Mickey Richaud
09-07-2004, 11:58 PM
There was an earlier thread on Opels, as I recall. I remember back in the early '70's the 1900, or the "Manta" coupes were great little cars. Back in my autocross days, there was one two-tone green one that walked all over everything in its class. Problem was the lack of support from Buick dealers who didn't seem to back them.


09-08-2004, 12:08 AM
The Mantas have an enthusiastic following in the UK, there were some special editions introduced which really were quite nice. They are really not to be considered an investment though. The GT was a cute looking car that does have its devotees, but once again, not what you would put your money into if you were hoping for a nice or even modest gain in value.

Trevor Triumph
09-08-2004, 01:04 AM
My wife and I bought a 1973 Opel Manta Luxus. It was a deep purple/ brown/ devil's food cake knid of color. Rich wide wale cordoury upholstery. It handled very well and and had willing-to-rev engne. We were the contenders on the autocross course in Wheeling, WV back then. The only person to beat us was a guy named Harry from Pittsburg who also drove an Opel. Monthly we beat up the Pintos, Vegas, VWs, Spitfires, Hondas, Fiats, MGs, and (when the course was set up properly) even Corvettes.Don't get the wrong idea here- My wife is a great driver and I did OK, but it was the car that did so well.

09-08-2004, 01:38 AM
I really like the look of the Manta for some reason. The GT is also nice the 4 banger is a bit underpowered. They are a terriable as an investment but so are most cars. If you buy one buy the best possible example as they aren't worth restoring moneywise (can also be said of most cars)

09-08-2004, 01:41 AM
Depends... Which model of Opel are you thinking of? And what do you mean by "investment"? Opel's are so unknown in North America, and future demand likely low that there is little likelihood of future price increases. If you like the idea of owning a unique car and don't expect to make mega-bucks off of it I don't see why you shouldn't purchase one, just don't necessarily expect to sell it five years for a profit if that is what are getting at. And there is parts support in the States through a network of enthusiasts (there is an Opel message board - North American based - that seems quite active)

09-08-2004, 01:48 AM
I am not looking to make a profit out of it. I was wondering whether or not they're junk cars and not worth the money. I like the look of it and think that with the proper work they can look REALLY nice.

09-08-2004, 01:52 AM
They aren't junk by any means.......quite competent, and the Manta is a pretty nice car. You are right about improving the looks with the right work being done. Why an Opel by the way? Do you have a lead on one? Saabs might be ripe for new ideas too.

09-08-2004, 02:29 AM
I say get an Opel. I had loads of fun in my GT, and if it hadn't been a rust bucket I'd still own it. It was fast handled well, and looked great. Or you could also listen to Steve, our former Saab salesman, and get a Saab they are also nice little cars, and the 900 turbo is very sporty.

09-08-2004, 01:31 PM
Opels are just about the best financial "investment" you can make in a car. Just do the math.

Dump $100k into a new ricer (a ridiculous number of people do) and then you can turn around and sell it in two years for $30k. Your Return On Investment; -$70k

Drop $50k on a new Porsche Boxter then sell it in two years for $35k. ROI; -$15k

Pump $25k into restoring a muscle car that you bought for $15k and you can probably sell it for $30k. ROI; -$10k

Buy an ok LBC for $3500 and spend $15k working it over and with any luck you'll be able to sell it for $12k. ROI; -$6500

If you buy a tired but intact Opel for $500 and spend another $5k making it your fun little toy you can be reasonably certain to get at least $1000 for it down the line. ROI; -$4500, you can't beat that. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/devilgrin.gif


Super 7
09-08-2004, 01:40 PM
The Opel 1900 was the scourge of Showroom Stock Sedan racing when the class was new, so they were outrunning the Rabbits etc in those days. The Fuel Injection was a pretty high tech feature back then.

I actually prefer the boxier 1900 sedan styling to that of the Manta. Plus a lot of Manta's had vinyl roofs (yuk. The GT seems to be the only one with a following here in the US though. A Manta or 1900 sedan in good shape would be hard to pass up for me if one presented itself. All things considered I would probably rather have a MK I Capri though.

09-08-2004, 01:49 PM
All things considered I would probably rather have a MK I Capri though.

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There really is something about the Mk1 Capri that makes it so desirable. That is one of those few mass-produced cars to have been styled correctly from the outset. Mind you, there is a certain 70's appeal to the vinyl roof. The Capri also had one of those on certain models, don't forget. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

09-08-2004, 05:23 PM
I have to agree that a vinyl roof on a Manta is hideous. Luckily I haven't seen too many of them around this neighborhood.

As I recall Car and Driver reported that the Manta was so successful in its Showroom Stock class that the rules makers decided to ban it. Opel fans claim it was politically motivated. The excuse the governing body gave was that the fastback shape gave it an unfair aerodynamic advantage. This left the class to the square-back version of the same car, the 1900 coupe (known as the Ascona in Europe). The Ascona then went on to dominate the class.

Since my Manta was the best car I ever owned I would naturally lean toward one. That said, I think any of the cars on that platform are great, the GT, Manta, Ascona or Wagon. The GT is the considered most desirable these days so the prices aren't exactly cheap but they are quite reasonable. Mantas, Asconas and Wagons are very inexpensive but will usually need some work when you find one.

I had to turn down a '75 fuel injected Manta last year for next to nothing because I just didn't have the space.

They have a cult following in Europe so parts and go-fast goodies are available. If you're looking at a GT you'll be able to get whatever you need here in California from The Opel GT Source (https://www.opelgtsource.com/).


09-08-2004, 06:19 PM
The reason I am/was interested in an Opel is that I love originality and uniqueness in a car. You don't see any Opels driving around in the streets anywhere. At least I don't. From looking at pictures of them, the width of the car is basically nothing. Is that right? The Opels I've seen that are for sale, seem to be 4 bangers. Is this commmon? Do they still have the performance that you guys are talking about with 4 bangers? Do Opels have steel or fiberglass bodies?

I saw a pic of the wagon in the website you gave PC. I loved it. I have always been fascinated by the looks of wagons. If I had a choice between the 2, I think I'd definately go for the wagon. What do you guys think?

here's the link of the wagon...


09-08-2004, 07:08 PM
...here's the link of the wagon...

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Sorry, that Wagon pictured is a one-off custom modified GT.

The standard wagon looks much less intriguing.

It looks just like an Ascona in front. Note that the Asconas sold in the US were two-door coupes, not sedans.

I still love the Manta.

The Standard engines are SOHC inline fours. Most were 1900cc but some early GTs may have come with 1500cc motors, I don't remember. European GTs came as 1900cc, 1500cc and 1100cc versions.

The stock motor is rather pedestrian and somewhat docile in as-delivered, smogified form but has a solid bottom end and can be tuned up reasonably high for an engine of that era.

If I had an Opel today I'd probably get a 2.0L 16V motor from a newer car for it. They are very common in Europe and the UK and available at reasonable prices. (you see lots of those 16V engines installed in 7s in the UK)

Gil has pictures of a variety of GT engine installs (some very wild) under the Gallery section of his site: https://www.opelgtsource.com/pictures/engine/shop.cgi?cart_id=584310.23560&page=eng.htm


09-08-2004, 07:21 PM
what year saab were you guys suggesting?

09-08-2004, 07:38 PM
Any year Draken, or Viggen.

09-08-2004, 07:42 PM
https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayIS...ssPageName=WDVW (https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6438&item=24891830 85&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW)

What about this one? You guys know of any other?

09-08-2004, 09:14 PM
To answer TimeforChange's other questions:

Q. From looking at pictures of them, the width of the car is basically nothing. Is that right?
A. The GT is a very small car. The GT is a two-seater. Sitting in one feels sort'a like sitting in an MGB or Spitfire or such with the top up. The Manta and Ascona are similar in size to the 2002, Cortina, 510, etc.

Q. Do they still have the performance that you guys are talking about with 4 bangers?
A. Keep in mind the Showroom Stock class the Mantas and Asconas ran in was an unmodified class that put them up against other 4-bangers, Rabbits, Arrows, Pintos etc. In Europe they ran them, heavily tuned, in rallies. They were very successful. The GT was also rallied.

As an aside, the GT found quite a bit of popularity among US drag racers. You often see them with Big-Block V8 drag motors. (and custom tubular frames, humongous drag slicks, etc)

Q. Do Opels have steel or fiberglass bodies?
A. They are true mass-production vehicles. They are all steel. (although some factory race models may have fiberglass bonnets, boot lids, flares, etc). The GT's body has multiple compound curves and can be very frightening to many of today's less-talented body shop types.

Unfortunately you just missed it TimeforChange, the Opel Club picnic was in Van Nuys just a couple weeks ago. You could have seen a bunch up close.


09-08-2004, 09:29 PM
seems like i'm just missing a lot of events. Thanks for answering my questions. Honestly, when I look at the Opel, at the least the GT, I wouldn't want one of those.

What cars do you think is out that there, that's looks good, but isn't regularly seen on the roads? One that's reasonable too

09-14-2004, 04:46 PM
I believe there is BIG investment potential in the Opel Mantas, and especially in the Opel GT. These were **** good cars, being fun to drive AND reliable. My brother had a 1973 Opel Manta with a 1900cc engine, and a 4spd transmission. It was one **** of a nice car. I remember the nice interior, and how fun it was to drive. Only problem could be finding parts. Opel also had a model called the Kadette. It was kind of a fun car in a quirky way. You'd have to check with Buick dealers for parts...to see if they still carry any. Buick sold both the German Opel...(the good one), and the lousy Japanese Opel. I applaud anyone who has the courage to restore such fine cars.

09-19-2004, 01:48 PM
Opel GT looks like a "mini-Corvette" and looks like fun to rebuild as a show car... but investment for dollars?... Nah! I like weird cars... Opel GT, Honda 600 Coupe, Nash Metro., Lancia Scorpion, Avanti, etc. Just get one for your own fun.

09-19-2004, 10:18 PM
Opel GT looks like a "mini-Corvette" and looks like fun to rebuild as a show car... but investment for dollars?... Nah! I like weird cars... Opel GT, Honda 600 Coupe, Nash Metro., Lancia Scorpion, Avanti, etc. Just get one for your own fun.

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20 years ago people were saying just to drive TR6's for fun, and that they would never amount to much. Hmmmmm.....I still think that Opels might be collector cars. They weren't imported here for too long, at least the Manta and the GT...so it could happen.

09-19-2004, 11:02 PM
Opel GT: Looks of a Corvette, mechanicals of a Chevette. Personally, not a fan, but they are nice looking (if you fit).
There IS a huge fan base... 4600 members over at the Opel GT forums... and they're very active. You can bet Classic Motorsports will end up with an Opel GT somewhere on their "Vote for your Favorite Classic" final tally.

Which reminds me... if you haven't voted, head over to their web site and do so!

09-20-2004, 11:30 AM
hey...thanks Baxter....I'm headed over there now!

09-20-2004, 01:36 PM
Opel GT: Looks of a Corvette, mechanicals of a Chevette...

[/ QUOTE ]
A little clarification:

The Opel GT came before the Corvette. So technically the Corvette has the looks of an Opel GT.

The Opel GT is based on an Opel Kadett platform, which was in production long before the Chevette. The Chevette is derived from a later generation kadett, the one GM created when they decided to cut costs and manufacture a common internationally sourced platform to replace the (increasingly expensive) all-German designs.


Super 7
09-20-2004, 02:48 PM

When was the Opel GT introduced? I know the C3 Corvette was introduced in '68 model year, but it was pretty bush a rebodied C2 anyway. I thought the Opel GT was newer than that.


09-20-2004, 03:32 PM
Opel GT hit the streets in '69, IIRC.

And yeah, I was being flippant, but in the big picture it's still metaphorically right, if not technically. The Opel GT is pretty, but pretty lackluster to drive.

09-20-2004, 04:44 PM
Could it be that the Opel GT was developed as a competitor to the Triumph GT6? I'm thinking it could be possible. A hardtop sports car that would turn some heads, and provide somewhat stimulating performance?

09-20-2004, 06:21 PM
I doubt it. Lots of folks were designing coupes 'round that time, especially with looming Federal legislation that could have banned convertibles (sounds funny now, but automakers were pretty concerned in the late 60s-early 70s). On most cars where both were available, coupes outsold convertibles by a wide margin, so it was pretty much a no-brainer.

And the Opel GT didn't exactly have stimulating performance. Certainly not compared to the GT6, or the Datsun 240z (another 1969 debut).

09-20-2004, 06:27 PM
The GT went on sale for '68 as did the "shark" Corvettes. Produced by the same GM styling group the smaller sibling had been around for a few years as a research vehicle.

Opel had built a new test track in the early sixties (62?) that was meant for speeds of 140mph or so but didn't have a vehicle that fast. The design team was playing with very low Cd (drag coefficient) body styles so they pulled bits and pieces from the Kadett parts bin and came up with the GT. They spent a lot or time playing with various engineering experiments and even held a number of world speed records for diesel powered cars.

Since the mechanicals were off-the-shelf and much of the engineering was already done they figured out that they could actually produce them in large enough numbers and sell them for a reasonable cost so they did.

Triumph brought out the GT6 for '66 so the GT certainly was sold into at the same market niche. Whether the GT6 influenced Opel to put the GT into production is anybody's guess.

What killed the GT and for that matter all Opels for the US was the strength of the German economy. The German Mark was too strong to sell any of their cars at prices Americans were willing to pay. Japan's post-war industrial boom was hitting its stride but their costs hadn't caught up with their output capabilities. Datsun was able to sell the higher tech, higher performance 240Z for less than the GT. GM had to switch to selling Japanese (Isuzus) and world-sourced (Chevette) small car platforms.

Opel was caught in no-man's land for sports cars. They couldn't compete in the low priced arena due the strength of the Deutschmark. They couldn't go "up market" because GM wasn't interested in going after Porsche back home or competing with its own Vettes and Camaros in the US.


09-20-2004, 08:07 PM
GTs aren't completely lackluster when it comes to preformance. I did some minor work to mine and it was a very quick car with a good top end and decent handling. I'd say for the money you get very decent preformance. Comparing one mechanically to a Chevette just isn't fair, I could relieve myself in a bag and have something superior to a Chevette.

09-21-2004, 12:29 AM
Bah... The Opel GT was under-tired, under-engineered, under-sprung and underpowered. It's one saving grace was that it was attractive. Sure, with a little work you can have something, but it's a silk purse from a sow's ear. Albeit a nice-looking sow's ear.

In a way, it's a lot like a Karmann Ghia... the looks are just skin deep. Underneath, the KG is a Beetle for folks who don't like the way Beetles look.
(note: I LIKE Karmann Ghias)
Underneath that swoopy body, the Opel shares an embarrassing amount with the Chevette. Maybe unfair, but it's true. You can look it up.

That said, if someone dropped a solid Opel GT in my yard, would I take it? You bet. Then I'd start figuring out how to make something out of it.

To be fair, my beloved B shares an awful lot with the throroughly unloved Morris Marina, among other lackluster cars.

09-21-2004, 11:32 AM
My brother had a 73 Opel Manta, and that car seemed to be practical, good looking, and it performed very well compared to similar cars of the time period.

09-21-2004, 01:43 PM
Here's a picture of one of those "under-tired, under-engineered, under-sprung and underpowered" Opel GTs leading a pack of 911 Porsches (with two more cylinders and half a liter more displacement) at the Nurburgring during the '72 European touring car championship. The GT not only won its class that day but also beat half the Porsches in the overall classification.



09-21-2004, 02:05 PM
Fine... don't believe me, and don't look it up, either. Just because a race-prepped Opel GT had a good day once doesn't have much bearing on the cars as sold in the showroom, just as the fact that an MGB once set fastest lap time at Sebring (against all sorts of MUCH more serious machinery) mean the B is a fast car.

You can look up the specs on the Opel GT. You can find out all about the shared heritage with the Chevette. You can look over the suspension design and read the stats. It's just not particularly impressive. Fact is, most of the British cars we enjoy so much would handily show their taillights to an Opel GT on a straight or twisty road.

But hey. Enjoy what you like. It's a big world, and we can disagree. I don't want this to turn into some kind of spittin' contest with all the closet Opel GT fans.

And they ARE pretty little cars. Sometimes that's enough.

09-21-2004, 04:46 PM
I'm a closet Opel fan, always have been. I know they still manufacture cars. Why aren't we importing some of them. I'm sure they'd find a place in the American market of today. I love those cars....yes, even the Opel Kadette.

09-21-2004, 05:35 PM
I know they still manufacture cars. Why aren't we importing some of them.

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Now that IS a fine question... with GM in need of good small cars, and a good supply of decent small cars in Europe, why DON'T they bring some over?

09-21-2004, 05:40 PM
I think we're on to something here....good gas mileage...good looks, good price, reliability...Bring back the German Opel.

Super 7
09-21-2004, 07:01 PM
What about "the Caddy that zigs?" remember that? That was an Opel. That was fairly recent. Are they still selling those?

09-21-2004, 07:13 PM
I don't remember that. I know that Opels were marketed through Buick dealers. I'm familiar with the Opel Kadette, the Opel Manta, and the Opel GT. I just love all of those cars.

09-21-2004, 07:52 PM
Dropped from the line-up in 2001 the Cadillac Catera was an "Americanized" and re-badged Opel Omega. Unfortunately Cadillac's version of Americanizing was making it soft and squishy with low power output. A pity, In Opel trim they're pretty nice.

The reasons we don't see any Opels today are the same reasons they went bye-bye in '75, strong Mark, er... Euro, weak dollar and little interest from GM marketeers.

Small German cars are too tough to bring over here and sell competitively. German marques like BMW, Audi and Mercedes only sell medium and higher market models. Even Volkswagen is pushing their Touregs and Phaetons because they can't make enough money with Golfs and Beetles.

Opel doesn't make an SUV (they sell Isuzu Rodeos in Germany badged as the Opel Frontera) so GM doesn't have high mark-up vehicle to bring in. If they tried to bring over the mid and higher Opels they'd be fighting in an already crowded premium car market. Heck, they just killed Oldsmobile because they too many midsize and large cars in their stable.

Strangely enough the only car you can buy in the US today that approximates what you can get of the showroom floor in an Opel dealer is the Lotus Elise. Sold as the Opel Speedster and Vauxhall VX220 Lotus OEM builds them with different bodywork and GM powertrains. Of course they aren't German cars at all, they're LBCs!


09-21-2004, 08:12 PM
Ok, I guess they still sell the Opel Frontera in Germany. So since it has the same styling and drivetrain you'll get in Germany the closest thing you can get in the US to what you'll find in an Opel Dealer is actually the Rodeo.

Either way, no real Opels get here anymore. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif


09-22-2004, 11:25 AM
Could it be that if GM imported small Opels, that it would undercut prices on Volkswagen? Maybe internal German politics is the reason why they aren't up for export here.

09-22-2004, 12:14 PM
I doubt that there could ever be any back-room shenanigans of that nature between Volkswagen and GM. GM is well known for doing whatever they want, whenever they want. The normal mode is that the divisions plead for whatever it is they think they need and the-powers-that-be at corporate HQ order them to shut up do what they're told. (think Oldsmobile)

I think the Germans would love to sell as many cars as they can. I'm sure it's all part of GM's corporate plan.