Monday, January 5, 2015

Opel's Corvette-Like GT

The German automobile maker Opel has been owned for many decades by General Motors.  One consequence has been that for a good number of those years, certain Opel models featured American-looking styling and not the sort of Teutonic feeling Mercedes and BMW usually provided.  Nowadays, car design has become considerably internationalized, with national characteristics becoming less and less easy to spot.

But back in 1968 when the original Opel GT sporty car was introduced, it looked very American.  Very much like the newly restyled 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, as a matter of fact.  National origin aside, the GT was an attractive little car with no major design flaws.  The two most questionable features were only marginally styling-related.  I deal with those below.


Opel GT/J - c. 1972
The models posing in the background provide a sense of scale; the Opel GT was not very large.

1968 Chevrolet Corvette advertisement
The 1968 Opel GT and '68 Chevrolet Corvette featured similar front end styling, particularly the fenders, bumper and grille zone.

1968 Opel GT - headlamps lowered
The GT had retractable headlamps, a late 1960s and early 1970s fashion.

1968 Opel GT - headlamps raised
When the headlamps were turned on, their housings pivoted so that they were revealed.  The negative aspect was that airflow was disturbed, reducing aerodynamic efficiency.

Opel GT c. 1968 - front view
Note how the body sides tuck under, enhancing the lightness of the car's appearance.

Opel GT c. 1968 - showing some of rear end
The GT had no trunk lid.  Access was via the interior, a major inconvenience.

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