It’s not very often that we post supposed barn finds, but once in a while one turns up that is pretty interesting. Barn finds are all the rage right now – original, preserved vehicles as seen in shows like Chasing Classic Cars can often draw more money than perfectly restored examples even if they’re wrecks. Fairly recently, a 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB California Spyder emerged from a barn in France, covered in books and looking quite forlorn. The price it sold for was unimaginable to most mortals; $18,500,000 – the most paid for any 250 GT series Ferrari, despite the seeming poor condition. People are willing to pay for a story, it would seem, and the French Ferrari was a tome of history. But what if the barn find is something less exotic…say, an Opel? And not even a particularly desirable Opel (yes, that’s really a thing…)?
All posts in Opel
I know what you’re saying. “Carter, that Opel from last week was boring”. Okay, how about two Opel Rekord C models in a week, then? That’s got to be worth something? As with the last example, this blandish late 1960s-early 1970s GM/Opel coupe has been presented in all the brown color spectrum – but in this case, it’s an all-gold affair, as the matching tan cloth interior provides continuity to the gold exterior. But with some shiny details and ridiculously low mileage, isn’t it worth a look?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Opel Rekord C 1900 on eBay
One of the joys that continues to drive my automotive interest is seeing cars that aren’t often discussed day to day. They may not be the most attractive, best selling or performing cars ever made, but regardless it’s because of their infrequency that they’re neat to see. No one would claim any of the previous traits for basically any Opel model ever produced. But in what can become a sea of Porsche 911s and BMW E30s, strolling across a clean early 1970s Opel coupe can really be a breath of fresh air. Let’s stop for a moment with our usual programming and take a look at this 1971 Rekord C:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Opel Rekord C on eBay
Down the road from me is a gentleman who daily drives a Porsche 914. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the boxy flying pancake. In the right configuration they look pretty cool, but my eyes always gravitate towards the more classic grand touring look of the replacement 924. However, I certainly can understand the appeal of a cheap and simple classic Porsche. For some time about a decade ago I had this dream that some day when I was a little better off I’d pick up an early 911 – because, of course, a decade ago no one wanted them and they were still relatively cheap. Since having a classic car is by no means a necessity, for us with less well endowed bank accounts and no trust funds ownership of such cars remains a dream. In that light, the 914 makes more sense since compared to the rear-engine counterparts it’s relatively cheap – though find a good one and it’ll still be a pretty penny. But dipping in to the classic car market doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are still a few neat older German cars that would be great weekend warriors. Certainly, one of the most unsung heros and yet one of the more visually captivating is the Opel GT. The slinky 2-door had the looks of its parent company sibling Corvette, but motivation by the normal Opel inline-4 drivetrain meant it was much more affordable. These days they’re rarely seen but always a treat:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Opel GT on Cleveland Craigslist
At least in the U.S., Opel is one of those names that never quite caught on. Perhaps that had something to do with the odd marketing and strange cross-branding GM has always undertaken. Opels have on again/off again been available as their own brand, then later as Saturn models and most recently Buicks. But let’s not forget that it’s Opel underpinnings that are at the heart of some SAAB models after their takeover by the General, too. Of course, the larger problem in the success of Opels – and indeed, many GM models – has been internal competition. At the same time that the Opel 1900 was launched, for example, GM also concurrently launched the similar but completely different Chevrolet Vega. And outside of the Cosworth model that upped the fun quotient of the Vega substantially, the model was pretty much completely crap. It was too small, unreliable and well, unsafe to really be a market hit. Which is why it’s particularly vexing that GM spent so much time trying to sell them when they had a perfectly good small car in the Opel Ascona. It was marketed here as both the 1900 sedan and the slinkier Manta coupe, and was also available as a 2-door wagon. Was it class leading? No. But it was a reasonable option that pretty well proven and if properly supported from GM probably wouldn’t have been so rare to see today: