Q. - Why should I drive an Opel?
A. - Value, style, performance and economy.
The German made Opel offers a combination of timeless classic body styles with rugged and durable mechanical design. The Opel GT, in particular, turns heads everywhere it goes, averages 22-27MPG on regular gasoline, and often (unrestored) sells for less than $1,000.! When you test-drive a GT, you also appreciate the superior German engineering combined with American-influenced design: Solid handling and braking in a mid-engine chassis, full dash instrumentation and a racing seat position, and autobahn-tested aerodynamic stability when speeds exceed 100 MPH! This is all because the Opel GT is one of the very few design-show prototypes engineered from the ground up to production that was faithful to the spirit of the original, that was accomplished by a major car manufacturer in its time.
Q. - Why should I restore an Opel?
A. - Opels are unique and fun.
In our view, should you choose to restore an Opel (with a relatively undamaged chassis) it is the most affordable truly "classic" sports car that we know of, and compares extremely well to the cost and maintenance requirements of current new and used cars. Generally, parts availability in the US is good, part prices are reasonable compared to other import and classic cars, and a successful restoration results in a vehicle that will provide appreciation and driving rewards for many years to come.
Q. - How can I find a good used Opel to buy?
A. - Exercise persistence with patience.
Locally, Opels occasionally appear in newspaper classified ads and specialty car sale magazines such as the 'Auto Trader' and 'Hemmings.' Another good local source is local Opel owners, who seem to network amongst themselves and often know of local restorable Opel bodies. Opels are frequently seen on the Ebay online auction site, however numerous claims of misrepresentation (ie extent of body rust, mechanical condition) have been made. Opel web sites sometimes have vehicles advertised, and sellers there have a reputation of tending to be more knowledgeable about the condition of their vehicles. There are also Opel parts retailers and dealers, who strive to maintain a constant inventory of restorable Opel chassis available for sale. In any event, it is strongly advised to research the background and reputation of any seller you are dealing with, as well as to have every Opel thoroughly inspected for damage and particularly under body rust, before you make a final purchase offer.
Q. - Where can I find technical information to service my Opel?
- Acquire the right combination of Opel Service Manuals.
- An organized index of tech articles in back issues of the OMC Blitz newsletter is available in the (Tech Tips) section of this web site.
- Many times, procedures in the service manuals are completed or corrected in tech articles in the OMC Blitz.
- Other sources can include current and archived discussion topics on the "forum" section of the www.opelgt.com web site.
- If you require immediate assistance, some of the US Opel parts retailers will assist you when you phone them during scheduled business hours or e-mail them during non-business hours.
- Also, be sure to check out these resources: "Service Manual" page and our "Tech Tips" section.
Q. - How can I make my 1.9 liter engine Opel into a reliable daily driver?
A. - Safety First: Inspection of all brake and suspension components is required to identify and then correct any serious operational problems. Then, in the Opel GT, verify that the headlight wires have been replaced (behind the bulbs) to avoid a known fire hazard. Then, once the vehicle is running, improvements required to make an Opel a reliable, economic vehicle, are the same that will produce the most power available from the existing engine. This includes:
- Engine compression test, to assure a minimum 125psi compression in each of the 4 cylinders.
- Replacement of factory Solex 32/32 carburetor with after market Weber 32/36 DGEV series carburetor and a wider, thicker sealed base gasket.
- Replacement of gaskets and hoses attached to the intake manifold to assure there are no intake vacuum leaks,
- Completion of proper tune-up. This includes proper distributor point gap/dwell (.018" gap/50 degrees dwell) and timing settings (at zero degrees TDC with distributor hoses detached). Some owners install electronic ignition systems, to assure that point gap/dwell settings remain stable (wear on stock Opel ignition system and distributors tends to "eat" ignition point sets).
- Verification of proper gear oil levels in transmission and rear axle.
Q. - What are the tune-up specifications for a 1.9 liter engine Opel?
- Engine Compression: Minimum 125psi on each cylinder
- Engine Firing Order: 1-3-4-2
- Ignition Point Gap: .018"
- Ignition Dwell: 50 degrees plus or minus 2 (25 degrees on an 8-cylinder scope
- Ignition Timing: zero degrees TDC, with distributor hoses detached
- Carburetor Idle Speed: Factory setting is 750-800rpm's; many owners prefer 1000rpm's
- Weber Carburetor Idle Mixture Setting: Turn screw in until idle is irregular, then back out counterclockwise 1/2 to 1 full turn.