Ran When Parked: 1973 Buick Opel GT Automatic Project – $3,000

Dec 2019 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

Often cited as a “Poor Man’s C3 Corvette, GM’s German manufacturing arm Opel produced the stylish two door coupe such as the example featured here on Craigslist in Salisbury, Massachusetts with an asking price of $3,000.  The NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool currently lists its “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range for these cars at $6,300, $13,000, $20,500, respectively so given the need for a complete restoration we’d try to pay a bit less to minimize the chance of being “under water” financially once all of the work is complete.

German car maker Opel, a wholly owned GM subsidiary dating back to 1929, launched its stylish little two-seat GTin 1968 and produced the car through model year 1973.  In the U.S. , GM marketed Opel products such as the GT at Buick dealerships.  The GT used a steel unibody and a front mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout based on Opel’s more pedestrian Kadett B economy car of the time. The front suspension consisted of upper A-arms combined with a unique lower transverse leaf spring that was another oddity the car had in common with the C3 Corvette (although the latter car’s transverse leaf spring was in the rear suspension). The rear suspension relied on a coil-spring suspended live axle.  The power-assisted braking system used discs in the front and drums in the rear while the front-mid-engine configuration negated the need for power steering.  The most unusual feature of the Opel GT is the operation of the pop-up headlights. They are manually operated, by way of a large lever along the center console next to the shifter. Unlike most pop-up headlights, they both rotate in the same direction (counterclockwise from inside the car) about a longitudinal axis.  Another odd styling element the GT shared with C3 Corvettes was its fastback styling that has neither an externally accessible trunk nor a conventional hatchback;  the parcel shelf behind the front bucket seats can only be accessed from the side doors.

We’ve always like the look of these little Opel GTs (probably because we also love the C3 Corvette’s styling) and with its front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, there’s a side of us that says, “originality be damned” and do an LS swap rather than tinker around with a powertrain that “ran when parked.” Whichever path you choose, good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1973 Opel GT, ran when parked, all there just needs restoration, clean MA title

Do you have an Opel GT story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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