Corvette’s Little Brother – 1970 Opel GT

gm general motors germanyOpel, GM’s German subsidiary since the 1930s, was never really about sports cars. Nor were they ever all that keen on selling cars in the American market. GM, of course, had plenty of brands here already. For a few years, however, they sold a charming little sports car through Buick dealerships all across the U.S. and in all about 70,000 Opel GT’s came here. First presented as a concept in 1965, the GT wasn’t actually sold until the 1968 model year, which was interestingly the same date for the introduction of the C3 Corvette. Some would say that the Opel looked like a miniature version of the Corvette, while others would say that the Corvette looked like a giant version of the Opel. Regardless, the cars looked very much alike. Powering the smaller car was a similarly tiny 1.1 liter motor, but many opted for the hotter available 1.9 with a respectable 90 horsepower. Employing typical marketing hyperbole, Opel described the car in ads by claiming that “Only Flying is More Exciting”.

I suppose that all depends on what kind of flying you’re actually doing and what else you do with your time, but the GT was still a fun little car that is both well loved and affordable today, a tempting combination. And speaking of tempting combinations, this sunburst yellow over black example, located in Salem, Virginia, is a real beauty. A longtime California car, it went to Virginia in 1991 and had a thorough restoration in the mid-’90s. It still presents really well, as it’s been used quite sparingly since that restoration, and has supposedly won several awards at car shows. The price is a tad high but not ridiculous for such a nice car, so what’s not to like?

There is one problem for me, though, and it does boil down to one word: automatic. The 1.9 could be had with a three-speed auto and, sure enough, this is one of them. On a muscle car of the period or even a Corvette an auto seems okay, but on a small European sports car it just seems blasphemous. Some people disagree, however, and if you like pretty Opels but don’t like to shift gears, then this might be the one to pull the trigger on.

Check out the 1970 Opel GT here on eBay, where the “Buy It Now” price is set at $11,900 and open to offers.


  1. Keith mordoff says:

    I owned its cousin a 1972 Opel Rally. 1.9L, 4-speed. My first car. I learned how to drift that car through every freeway off-ramp and on-ramp. It got better once I installed a weber. Nice memories. Thanks.

  2. Alan Berry says:

    Pretty nice car, but automatic??? Are you kidding me? Completely ruins the whole concept of a cool little German made sports car with many of the pretty C-3 Corvette’s styling cues.

  3. I had a red 1970 1.9 L Opel GT that was wonderful to drive in rallys and autocrosses, but I never had a car that broke in so many different places on parts that have never broken on any of my other cars over the years. I loved the car, but it was a first class hanger queen. I think the amount I spent on repairs put my mechanic’s kids through college.

  4. David Rieckmann says:

    Really? What’s with the whitewall tires?! This isn’t a family sedan or luxo-barge from the 70’s. Blackwall’s are appropriate and period correct.

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