Jens Cooper Book - History of the Opel GT
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Thread: Jens Cooper Book - History of the Opel GT

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    2000 Post Club My location m610's Avatar
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    Jens Cooper Book - History of the Opel GT

    Jens Cooper is working on a book about the Opel GT and has been asking me, and no doubt many others, for stories and photos and contact info for people he wants to hear from. He's asked about the owner of "Pinky", a dragster, John Paxon and Bill Ward's Bonneville GT, the Black Opel team, and others. Of course I told him a short (for me) version of the Tinyvette story, and I also suggested others I am familiar with:

    Quote Originally Posted by "me'
    Some other people who might be good stories.

    1. Roger Wilson, had a company years ago building Opel motors for racers. He's 84 now and is working on his final race car, as best as he can. He wants to finish it soon and return to racing.
    2. Gary Farias, has been big in the Opel community in the US for many years, started OpelGT.com, has several nice Opels, not all GTs, that have recently been used in movies. He got to be in the movie, too, as an extra.
    3. Roger Lee, raced a GT in California for years and did very well against factory teams. From what I hear he set the standard for Opel racers in the US.
    4. James Greuel, quite a character, seems to be on the down and out these days, living in a shed behind a shop I hear. Once was a professional photographer. Also ex-Marine, ex-cancer, and once ran Opel Haus, an Opel shop in Texas. Recently built a GT from parts he could find and convince people to donate. Oddly, once owned the car I have, the Tinyvette. Is really mad at me because I won't let him come out and race it with me. Colorful and animated guy, tells a great story, but you probably wouldn't want to let him drive your car.
    5. Alex Zaychensky, 20-something kid with an issue that medication is helping with. Last year completed his Opel GT. Drives it when he can afford to. Nice kid from a conservative Russian family, harsh and distant father, sweet but old-world mother, doing the best he can as a young American, taking a lot of pride in his Opel and comfort in the friends he has made in the Opel community.
    6. Me: Left a career in academia about 10 years ago and soon after bought a GT as a joke and took it racing. After 7 years of racing the little car I can't imagine a life doing anything else.
    7. Doug: is a land speed racer with a serious case of salt fever, which you catch at Bonneville. He's a retired aerodynamics engineer who Is trying to finish his 100cc bike and set a land speed record with it before it is too late. As in, he gets too old. When at home he is restoring and customizing an Opel GT for his son.


    Give me a chance and I can think of a few more.
    I realize this is just the tip of the iceberg, that there are so many more people and stories people on this forum can tell. I think the recent issue of The Blitz teased a little of those stories out of people. I for one would like to hear and read about more. I think The Blitz could be a good outlet for these stories, and these forums a very good resource and medium for collecting these stories. Yet I hesitate to offer another issue of the Blitz for this type of project because it was difficult enough as it was getting the Oct-Dec 2016 issue together. But, if you think this would be a worthy project, I could start collecting these stories and when we have enough can publish them.

    Mike
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    2000 Post Club My location m610's Avatar
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    Book - History of the Opel GT

    Jens Cooper is working on this and I have been helping him find cars and stories and people from our side of the Atlantic. So far I've been doing OK but (even) I could use some help locating people, identifying the owners of cars, etc.

    See the photos below. The dragster is Marc Spencer's and I'm having trouble finding him. Can anyone help.

    The other photo was taken in Monument Valley. Does anyone recognize it?

    Thanks.
    Mike
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Site Founder My location Gary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m610 View Post
    Jens Cooper is working on this and I have been helping him find cars and stories and people from our side of the Atlantic. So far I've been doing OK but (even) I could use some help locating people, identifying the owners of cars, etc.

    See the photos below. The dragster is Marc Spencer's and I'm having trouble finding him. Can anyone help.

    The other photo was taken in Monument Valley. Does anyone recognize it?

    Thanks.
    Mike
    Theo Bellen (blauwmarc)?

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/39209800@N07/4071122241/
    Last edited by Gary; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:57 PM.
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    2000 Post Club My location m610's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    That certainly looks like the car. I've PM'ed him to confirm.

    Thanks.

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    Hoosier Opeler Site Supporter My location rrossjr's Avatar
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    Mike,
    Sounds like an interesting project.
    Any information on when it might be published?
    Cheers,
    Ron in Indy

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    GT is my middle name My location blauwmarc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m610 View Post
    That certainly looks like the car. I've PM'ed him to confirm.

    Thanks.
    I replied (PM)

    Theo
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    2000 Post Club My location m610's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrossjr View Post
    Mike,
    Sounds like an interesting project.
    Any information on when it might be published?
    Cheers,
    Ron in Indy
    No idea, but I get the impression that his deadline for finishing it is coming up quick.
    opelnut_1 likes this.

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    It may be Mark Spencer and Spencer's Speed Shop in Belleville, NJ. Decal on door in video is different from that in your picture, and paint scheme is slightly different (no white nose in video), but everything else looks the same.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jle5-wa5Yjc

    https://www.facebook.com/SpencersSpeedShop/

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    OpelGT.com Übermoderator My location kwilford's Avatar
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    Jens e-mailed me to ask the following:

    "Hello Keith, I hope you are fine. We are looking for one Opel GT owner. It is the red Dragster from Fred Hurst (see pictures). Please let me know if anybody knows the owner of this car. We would like to have this car in our Book

    Thanks,

    Jens"



    Here are the photos. Anyone know Fred Hurst or the history of the car?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Keith Wilford
    I'm back consulting, but full time now, so I have less time but more money to work on my bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

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    Hoosier Opeler Site Supporter My location rrossjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwilford View Post
    Jens e-mailed me to ask the following:

    "Hello Keith, I hope you are fine. We are looking for one Opel GT owner. It is the red Dragster from Fred Hurst (see pictures). Please let me know if anybody knows the owner of this car. We would like to have this car in our Book

    Thanks,

    Jens"



    Here are the photos. Anyone know Fred Hurst or the history of the car?
    I believe Jeff Hurst passed away about 6 years ago. Not sure if his Dad (Fred) is still around.

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    Not sure if this is much help, but some more pictures of the Fred & Jeff Hurst Opel GT race car:

    Link: Captivation Opel GT - Page 2Â*-Â*UKDRN

    Link: Draglist.com

    Link: Gassers Midwest: Fast and Fabulous | East Coast Drag Times All of Fame There are a few other Opel gassers in this link, including a wild Kadett. The Fred Hurst GT gasser is further down below the page, including the earlier Fred Hurst gassers....

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    OpelGT.com Übermoderator My location kwilford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNotigan View Post
    Not sure if this is much help, but some more pictures of the Fred & Jeff Hurst Opel GT race car:

    Link: Captivation Opel GT - Page 2Â*-Â*UKDRN

    Link: Draglist.com

    Link: Gassers Midwest: Fast and Fabulous | East Coast Drag Times All of Fame There are a few other Opel gassers in this link, including a wild Kadett. The Fred Hurst GT gasser is further down below the page, including the earlier Fred Hurst gassers....
    Thanks Mike, I have passed those links on to Jens. He seems to having trouble signing in here, so I have asked Gary to help him out.

    Jens just sent me this note:

    From: jens cooper
    Sent: March 18, 2017 7:02 AM
    To: Keith Wilford
    Subject: Opel GT BOOK

    Hello Keith ,

    maby if this is possible you can help me getting some pictures of the Bill Ward GT
    on the Saltlake .
    I have tried to sign up at the great GT Forum but somehow failed .

    Thanks for your time

    Jens
    Keith Wilford
    I'm back consulting, but full time now, so I have less time but more money to work on my bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

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    You're welcome Keith. I forgot (being but a young kid at the time who bought all the muscle car magazines, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding, etc) of how popular the Opel GT and Kadett were in AA/Gas drag racing. They must have been a terrifying thing to drive for the racer but a fantastic show to see for the fan in the stands.

    Fred Hurst is a champion Gas racer, right up there with the rest of the greats with his racers. They were all immacuately built, painted and maintained. First class all the way. All of them in his trademark Candy Apple Red Paint.

    I imagine with a little sleuthing that Jens can make contact with Mr Hurst. Fred was honored along with other racers in 2015 at Kil-Kare Dragway for his championship career. Here's an article in the Dayton Daily News about the upcoming event: Geezers gather to honor Hurst, hall of fame class Maybe Jens can contact the writer of this particular story as to making contact with Mr Hurst about his book project.

    The Jalopy Journal has a thread on Opel dragster/racer pictures, including the Bill Ward GT at Bonneville. Looking at the pictures and the vehicles there, the time frame seems to be in the early 90's or so. Link:
    opel pics | The H.A.M.B. There might even be more photos out there on Google pictures that can find this racer on the salt flats....

    I love this topic, especially those wild Gas dragsters. Looking forward to Jen's book!

    Mike

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    There were 3 images near the end of this article:
    https://www.diyautotune.com/news/res...ille-speedway/

    HTH -- Doug

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    Opeler My location SpringGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNotigan View Post
    I love this topic, especially those wild Gas dragsters. Looking forward to Jen's book!
    Mike
    This topic got me to thinking that I had a couple of GT race car photos in my archives. Don't know if anyone recognizes them but they were shot at the Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge back in the mid 1980's. The red one is named "Big Muddy" and so is probably local to Louisiana or Mississippi. The white one has Clear Lake painted on the side, so is probably from Clear Lake, Texas, in the Houston area.
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    Last edited by SpringGT; 6 Days Ago at 04:37 PM.

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