General Motors will premiere its new concept, the GT, at the Geneva Auto Show in March. However, the company’s Opel division has already given a preview of the GT before its official debut. The new GT’s silhouette is generally inspired by by the Experimental GT concept that Opel presented at the 1965 edition of the Frankfurt Auto Show.
Opel & GM’s Long Partnership
Opel is General Motors’ German division. Opel introduced the first mass-production assembly line in Germany in the 1920s. Its cheap, reliable cars made it the largest mass producer of automobiles in Europe in the early 20th century. GM purchased Opal in 1929 but left the carmaker most of its autonomy. After several decades affected by WWII, Opal created the much beloved GT. The original GT was introduced two years after the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1967. The GT was like a Euro-styled version of a Chevy Corvette.
New Futuristic GT
The new GT has some vague similarities to the original. Although still a coupe, it does not have a retro feel like that the Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500. Instead, the GT is firmly based as a futuristic car, accentuated by a black and gray two-tone paint job with a red racing stripe. The red front tires, and seamless side windows complete the space-age look of the GT. Rather than door handles, the car features touch pads in the red stripe. Rather than using mirrors, the technology utilizes cameras. The front end of the GT has some stylistic cues from its Monza concept car which was shown in Frankfurt in 2013.
The GT uses a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, tweaked to use 145 horsepower in the rear wheels courtesy of a six-speed sequential gearbox. The GT has decent acceleration, reaching 60 mph from a dead stop in under eight seconds. Its top speed is 133 mph, for those drivers just dying to get a speeding ticket.
GT is playing coy about whether the car will ever see a production model. The company says for now it is merely a design study, however Auto Bild thinks that there will be a regular production model within the next four years. Bild also believes that GT will use the front-wheel drive platform currently found in Opel’s Astra hatchback from 2015. The magazine suggests the GT will be offered with both three- and four-cylinder engines. It certainly looks as if Opel could be debuting in 2018 in an effort to capitalize on the GT’s 50th anniversary.
The GT in Pop Culture
The original GT was only sold briefly in the USA, through Buick dealers. The model was officially retired in 1973 but it became a cult car that was much sought-after by collectors. Maxwell Smart drove an Opel GT in the last season of the TV show Get Smart. It was also featured in a 2016 episode of Criminal Minds, where a character played by Aisha Tyler drives up in a classic white Opel GT. The car belongs to Criminal Minds actor Joe Mantegna.