If there’s one thing about Opel that everyone thought they knew, it was that the German manufacturer was conservative. Very conservative. When the XVR concept car was unveiled in 1966, everyone thought that that was the end of it. They had given their designers something fun to tinker with, and the party was over. The automotive press reacted with shock a few years down the road, when the 1968 Opel GT was introduced. Built on the chassis of the Opel Kadett, the Opel GT was immediately dubbed the ‘baby Corvette‘ because of its rounded, smooth lines, and abruptly cut-off tail section, complete with Ferrari – or Corvette – rounded tail-lights.
As modern as the Opel GT looked on the outside, on the inside, especially mechanically, it wasn’t anything special. It relied on an old inline four-cylinder engine with a 1.9-liter displacement for power, with an output of only 90 horsepower. Despite this, and the chassis’ age, the Opel GT was praised for its handling and general demeanor. It could reach a top speed of 109 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 in about 10.5 seconds, neither of which are embarrassing, and certainly not for a 1968 small car.
One of the nicest style features of the Opel GT was the curved window glass, which retracted perfectly in the doors, and gave the GT its distinctive ‘pinched’ look. The biggest market for the Opel GT was (of course) the United States, and more stringent bumper requirements and tougher emissions standards spelled its demise in 1974.