Opel’s sports car baby an Ocker!

An overt and alluring sports car design study that points to the shape of future Opel cars appears to have been the work of Holden.


WANNA know what keeps Holden’s design team, particularly the model makers, busy now that the current Commodore now longer requires their involvement?

Here it is: Using a name from its past, the Opel GT is a two-plus-two coupe design study set to make its full debut at the upcoming Geneva motor show … and despite being presented as an effort by General Motor’s German operation, it’s got plenty of Aussie in it too.

At least, that’s the conjecture from media across the Tasman.

Holden and Opel are declining to say who did what with physically creating this rolling prototype – the only official comment so far is that the design itself was rendered by a team led by GM’s vice-presient of design, Europe, Mark Adams.

However the evidence presented in the PR images put out by Opel today relate quite clearly that it has spent time Downunder and was very probably fabricated at GM Australia Design’s workshop in Melbourne.

Outlets like the GoAuto website have immediately noted that the images’ backgrounds all betray where the photo shoot took place.

Beyond the car, they say, you’re looking at Melbourne’s distinctive skyline, GM Holden’s car park and even part of the old Fishermans Bend factory.

GoAuto points out that the Holden operation is one of just two such fabrication workshops in the GM world capable of building such a rolling prototype.

The front engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe is, according to GM, a design study, with no firm plans for production, but the company is not ruling out a production version that – should it get the green light – almost certainly would be sold across GM sister brands Opel, Vauxhall, Buick and Holden.

There have been two previous Opel GTs, including the Kadett-based GT that was revealed in concept form at the 1965 Frankfurt motor show before going into production from 1968 to 1974.

This third GT concept is is a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car that’s meant to signify a sporty, youthful image for the Opel brand.

It’s powered by a diminutive 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine lifted from small Opels such as the Adam, Corsa and Astra. Generating 107kW of power and 205Nm of torque, the engine is mounted under the bonnet but behind the front axle line for optimum centre of gravity.

The engine drives the rear axle via a six-speed sequential gearbox and mechanical diff lock. The transmission is operated by steering wheel shift paddles.

Weighing less than 1000kg, the GT concept is said to be capable of sprinting from zero to 100 kmh in less than eight seconds and on to a top speed of 215 kmh.

Why the red front tyres? These are homage to the 1928 Opel MotoClub 500 motorcycle that had two red tyres.

Other nods to the past are the long bonnet, absence of a boot lid and central dual exhaust. These hark back to the original GT.

The driver and front passenger gain access to the cabin by pressing a touchpad in a red signature line in the roof. There are no handles on the unique electric-operated doors that move into the front wheel space behind the wheel when opening, thus creating a bigger opening.

Further details will be revealed at the Geneva show on March 3.