Collection Of Oddballs

No, this is not a description of my family and close friends. Yes, I may be an oddball and that’s OK.

I was originally going to call this post something like “Idiosyncratic Automobiles.” Nine times out of ten, a title like that suppresses the number of views and visitors.

I have always considered myself not to be a part of the mainstream. As I have written before, while I was physically raised in the US, culturally I was not raised here. My mother had been in the US a little more than two years before I was born while my father had been here a little less than two years. They were not allowed to immigrate to the US at the same time. Think about that awhile.

I have always lived more inside my head than in the physical world. For many–maybe even most–car enthusiasts their interest includes “wrenchin'” on cars. While I did routine maintenance for my first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, my interests are not there, but are in design, performance specs, etc.

Since I am not the dullest knife in the drawer, my mind affords me the luxury of imagination, of exploration. By the way, I am not impugning the intelligence of those who like to work on cars. In fact, I have met many automobile technicians who are quite intelligent. I am just saying that my combination of nature and nurture has led me to be more cerebral and less hands-on, which is neither good nor bad.

Anyway…it was this car, offered at the recent Barrett-Jackson auction in Houston, that was the seed for this post:


1969 OPEL GT - Front 3/4 - 249909


This is a 1969 Opel GT and was one of two of these models to be sold at this auction. The red one sold for $27,500 all in.

I have always thought these cars just look awesome. They are often described as baby C3 Corvettes, but I think their proportions are superior to the Mako Shark Vettes. I strongly suspect most car aficionados would disagree and that’s OK, too.

Here are some more pictures of “oddballs.”


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By the way, the picture of the Buick Reatta is from this Hagerty article titled, “Is the Buick Reatta a hidden gem of ’80s GM style?” Of course, some would remark that the phrase “’80s GM style” is an oxymoron.

I have noticed that all of these cars are on the small side. I also think that they have no doppelgangers. I mean, nothing else looks like an Alfa Romeo 4C or a Metropolitan.

I would very much like to read your opinions about these cars, about oddballs in general, etc.






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Opel, not Opal

In the most recent episode of Wheeler Dealers, Mike and Ant restored a car like this:

See the source image

From a picture of a 1969 Opel GT. Until 2017, Opel had been part of General Motors since 1929 when GM acquired 80% of the company. (In 1931, GM purchased the remaining 20%.) GM sold its European operations in 2017; Opel is a German company.

In my opinion the car is quite fetching with its long hood, short deck and curvy body. Those hidden headlights do not operate by electricity or vacuum, but by mechanical linkage. The car was powered by an inline 4-cylinder engine and certainly was not a muscle car. I believe the more powerful of two engine options produced 102 HP and 155 LB-FT of torque. However, the car was very light at only 1,800 pounds. At that weight and with a lack of modern safety equipment like airbags, the Opel GT is, unfortunately, probably not the safest car to drive today. Can airbags be retro-fitted to a car?

About 103,000 of these were produced between the 1969 and 1973 model years, inclusive, and most were sold in the US by Buick dealers. A quick search of Hemmings produced just two Opel GTs available in the US not at auction, both offered by the same dealer, with asking prices of $3,950 for a project car and $8,250 for a car in better condition.

According to Wikipedia, a Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky-based version of the Opel GT was produced for model years 2007-2010 although only two 2010 cars were made. Also, and as I had mentioned in my previous blog, Opel showed a prototype for a new GT in 2016 that paid homage to its past:

2016-03-01 Geneva Motor Show G215.JPG

Picture from Wikipedia…it’s not clear if this car will be produced and if the sale of Opel to PSA Groupe has changed the trajectory of the project.

To borrow the motto of Automobile Magazine, No Boring Cars!