Classic Vibes: 1969 Opel GT

This next car comes as a tip from Rock On who writes: Long winded ad, the way you like them! Hey, that’s not…well..errr…yes, this is indeed they way I prefer advertisements. The short ones with two photos at a gas station just don’t cut it. Find this 1969 Opel GT offered for $23,000 in West Chester, OH via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:

1969 Opel GT
VIN: 941738665
condition: excellent
cylinders: 4 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 92000
odometer broken
paint color: red
size: compact
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: coupe
FOR SALE: 1969 OPEL GT with 1.9 liter ( 102Hp) engine / 4 speed manual transmission
Car runs well, is mechanically sound, almost completely stock, and rust-free.
93,000 miles indicated, Total mileage unknown
$23,000 (Cash only, no trades – I’m trying to winnow my herd)

This almost completely stock 1969 Opel GT is finished in Cardinal Red over black vinyl upholstery and powered by a 1.9-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 102 HP, paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Equipment includes steel 13” wheels, power-assisted front disc brakes, retractable headlights, quad polished exhaust outlets, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, high-back bucket seats, lap and shoulder belts, and a factory AM radio. This Opel GT is now offered with extensive purchase receipts, manufacturer’s literature, and a clean Ohio title in the seller’s name.

This example features a chrome-finished wraparound front bumper and split rear bumperettes as well as unique side-rotating headlights, a vented hood, left and right side-view mirror,, and quad Monza exhaust outlets with polished finishers. The car was repainted in 2022.

The stock bucket seats are upholstered in black vinyl with pleated basketweave inserts. Black carpeted floor mats with red piping lines. Additional appointments include replacement carpeting, a leather finished console surrounding the shifter, lap and shoulder belts, hand-crank windows, and a Delco Kadett AM push-button radio.

Silver-finished 13″ steel wheels feature bright trim rings and Opel-logo hubcaps and are mounted with 175/70R13 Westlake RP18 tires with a date code of May 2022. Braking is provided by power-assisted front discs and rear drums.

The wood-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel frames VDO instrumentation consisting of a 150-mph speedometer and a tachometer. A clock and auxiliary gauges for amperage, oil pressure, coolant temperature, and fuel level are located atop the center stack. The five-digit mechanical odometer shows 93k miles, but total mileage is unknown.

The cam-in-head 1.9L inline-four is fed by a single downdraft Weber carburetor, replacing the stock Solex carb for improved reliability. The stock distributor points are replaced by a new Pertronix electronic ignition and coil. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission.

I purchased this car last year as a winter project, now 99% completed. Much of the difficult work (including wiring harness replacement) was completed by Opel GT specialist Keith Lundholm of New Vintage Automotive in Tennessee.

The following work was completed since July 2022.
Mechanical:

  • New 4 speed transmission, mounts
  • New front brakes – calipers, rotors, pads, hoses
  • New rear drum brakes – drums, shoes, hoses
  • New Exhaust from head pipe to muffler, quad Monza exhaust
  • New KYB shocks, shock tower caps, front shock tower bushings
  • New steering rack boots and outer tie rod ends, fresh alignment and balance
  • New battery, battery tray, battery quick disconnect
  • New wiring harnesses, rebuilt fuse box. Headlights work!

Interior:

  • Upgraded Steering wheel
  • New ABS dash cover
  • New shifter boot, leather wrapped shift console
  • New seat back covers, front carpet set, floor mats, spare tire cover, rear window cover
  • New interior rear view mirror
  • New sun visors
  • New clock
  • New door weatherstripping and door stops

Engine Bay:

  • New Weber 32/36 carb
  • New Pertronics electronic ignition
  • New Pertronix Flame Thrower ignition coil
  • New distributor cap, wires, plugs
  • New radiator cap, oil cap
  • New Fuel Pump and filter
  • New radiator hoses
  • New starter

Exterior:

  • Very recent base coat/clearcoat paint, including door jams, underside of hood.
  • Four new Westlake 175/70R13 tires (date code May 2022)
  • Repainted OEM wheels with chrome trim rings, new lug nuts.
  • New Opel emblems
  • New Opel chrome locking gas cap
  • New turn signal light bulbs and lenses
  • New halogen headlights
  • New left and right rear view mirrors

Known Issues:

  • Speedometer inaccurate below 30 MPH (probably the drive cable)
  • Original OEM AM radio works, but no speakers are installed. I don’t listen to the radio while driving, and a stereo upgrade is easy (lots of room for speakers, subs and amps)
  • Wipers do not park when turned off (I don’t drive in the rain).

The Opel Story:
The Opel GT was designed by Opel stylist Erhard Schnell in 1965 as a fastback, and had a production model run from 1968 to 1973. The car was equipped with a 1.1 L or optional 1.9 L camshaft in head engine, which produced 102 hp (SAE) at 5200 to 5400 rpm. Standard transmission was a manual four-speed. A three-speed automatic was available with the 1.9 L engine.
The Opel GT uses a steel unibody and a front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout. The engine is mounted far back in the chassis to improve weight distribution. Front suspension consists of upper A-arms and a lower transverse leaf spring, with a live axle and coil springs are used in the rear. The power-assisted braking system uses discs in the front, drums in the rear. Steering is unassisted.
One 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.
The Opel GT was sold at Buick dealerships in the USA. Road & Track magazine reviewed the GT in their June 1969 issue, recording 0-60 MPH in 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 113 mph.

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