1970 Opel

From the owner's personal collection

This "Baby Vette" has been in the owner's collection since January of 2003. He purchased it from the original owner - who had bought it new in Chicago just 2 weeks before moving to Southern California. So, aside from that short stint in Illinois, it was a California car up until Bob brought it with him to Texas in 2006.

Supposedly, back in the late 1960s, GM tasked its Opel subsidiary with designing and building a budget-minded Corvette for the European market. While its 1900 cc in-head cam inline 4-cylinder engine didn't come close to living up to the Corvette's performance, its styling and handling proved good enough for the little GT to be a popular budget sports car. Eurpean models were available with 1.1 liter engines, but the U.S.-spec cars (for the most part) came with 1.9 liter powerplants. With a transverse leaf front suspension and a solid rear axle with trailing arms, coil springs and panhard rod, the handling was good, but not stellar. Many of the European cars were equipped with a rear sway bar (without which, the inside wheel would lift under hard cornering), but they were only available as an option on the US cars.

Early on in his ownership, Bob opted for a different set of wheels. While it may have seemed a bit extreme to replace the 13" steel wheels with a set of 17" Enkei RS6 aluminum units, the change in the overall appearance of the car was amazing. It went from looking like a baby Corvette to some sort of exotic. Ever since changing the wheels, many people seem to mistake this Opel for some model of Ferrari, Maserati or some other exotic.

After getting this GT sorted out and driving it around Los Angeles and Dallas for a few years, Bob decided to freshen up the interior and rebuild the suspension. The engine had already been rebuilt at 96,000 miles by the previous owner, so aside from rebuilding the driveshaft/torque tube components, the mechanicals were already in order. The interior received new carpeting, seat reupolstering and a vinyl dash kit from Opel GT Source.

The suspension rebuild utilized all urethane bushings and an intermediate front leaf spring that dropped ride height 1". While that work alone made a significant improvement in the car's handling, the addition of a matched set of ADCO anti-sway bars made for one very tight handling sports car.

This Opel's webpage has consistently been the most-visited page on the Midlife Classics website - garnering at least twice as many hits as any other page on the site. Out in public, it gathers more looks and generates more conversations than any other car that Bob has ever owned (and he's had some pretty rare and cool cars over the years). The comments range from "I had one of those in college" to "What model Ferrari is that?".

It has also generated more purchase requests than any other car Bob has owned - so much so that he eventually sold his parts car to one of the requestors and then restored it for him. You can see that GT parked with Bob's car in the slideshow above. You can also see that GT's restoration projece page here.

We have once again been asked to restore yet another Opel GT. You can follow the progress of that restoration here.


MILEAGE: 111,283 (4/27/12)


  • Type: Inline 4-Cylinder. In-Head Cam, Solid Lifters
  • Horsepower: 102
  • Overhauled/Rebuilt: 96,000
  • Compression Ratio: 9:1
  • Camshaft: Stock
  • Carburetor: Weber 32/36 DGAV
  • Transmission: 4-Speed Manual Stick


  • Manufacture Date: 1970
  • Body Code: xx
  • Body Number: xx
  • Paint Color: Yellow
  • Condition: Very Good. Body Straight. Paint Good. No Rust.
  • Front Suspension: Independent A-Arms, Single Transverse Leaf Spring
  • Rear Suspension: Solid Axle, Coil Springs, Panhard Rod.
  • Wheels: Enkie RS-6 17"x7"
  • Tires: Wanli S-1099 205/40R17


  • Color: Black
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Features:
    • Seats reupholstered and carpet replaced (5/09)
    • Dash recovered with vinyl kit from Opel GT Source (5/09)
    • Pioneer AM/FM Cassette Stereo w/Remote 12-Disk CD Changer.


  • Rack and Pinion Steering
  • Center Console
  • Manually Operated Flip-Over Hidden Headlights (really cool)


  • None (only option available in U.S. was rear window defogger)


  • ADCO Front & Rear Anti-Sway Bars
  • 1" Drop front "Intermediate" Sport Leaf Spring
  • All Urethane Suspension Bushings
  • Enkie RS-6 17"x7" Alloy Wheels
  • Wanli S-1099 205/40R17 Tires
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Remote 12-Disk CD Changer
  • Front Daytime Running / Driving Lights
  • Smoke-Colored Front Signal Lenses
  • Lenk Steering Wheel
  • Coolant Overflow Tank


  • Radiator Re-Cored with 3-Core High-Efficiency Core


  • Rebuild Front/Rear Suspension (see upgrades above)
  • Install Front/Rear Anti-Sway Bars
  • Radiator Recore (3-row)
  • Coolant Overflow Tank
  • Driving Lights
  • CD Changer
  • Alloy Wheels
  • Repaired Clock
  • Smoke-Colored Front Signal Lenses
  • Replaced Left-Rear Marker Light
  • Replaced Windshield Washer Bottle
  • Replaced Rear Exhaust Resonator/Pipes


  • Rechrome Bumpers