Opel Newbie
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Thread: Opel Newbie

  1. #1

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    Opel Newbie

    I am 19 years old and have been looking for a car for about 3 years now but have never really found "my car." Then it happened, while at a party that I was forced to attend, ( its a polish family thing) I noticed this old orange/bondo rusted car near the edge of the hosts property. I knew from that moment on that I had to have it. As luck would have it my father, occupied with idle chitchat said something about how I have been looking for a car for quit a while now. The host turns around and asks me what kind of car do I have in mind. I just point to the Rusted Opel GT said "That one." Turns out that someone else is looking at it as well and is offering the owner $1000 for it. I have the money but I a little hesitant as to how much it will cost me to fix the rust holes and repaint it.

    I am thinking that the best way to do this it to cut out the rust and weld new sheet metal to it, bondo the scar and repaint it. OR cut out the rust use fiberglass to cover the hole and bondo over that. I know that the sheet metal option is better in the long run but in the time being I do not have that much money to spend. The fiberglass would be cheaper and I could do it without having to go to a professional but the rust will just reaper and I will end up having to fix it again.

    The drive train of the car works like a charm, the reason the owner no longer wants it is because it looks like crap right now.

    I need help, should I spend the $1000 on the car and fix it up or should I keep on looking for another in better condition (where I live that might take another 3 years).

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  3. #2
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Should you or shouldn't you?

    Well, that depends on a LOT of things. Opel GT's are (at least) 30 years old. So don't expect to buy one (no matter how much or how little rust) and just drive it. Yes, they are used occasionally as "daily drivers", but only by people who have some aptitude for car repairs, and who have a greater need for the feeling that driving a classic car brings, than the RELIABILITY that a 10 year old Honda provides.

    As for how to repair the rust, the fiberglass solution can certainly work, at least for a short while. But you are right; unless you cut out ALL of the rusty metal, weld in new pieces, AND take measures to prevent it from rusting again (and there are LOTS of suggestions on this and other sites), you are really just wasting your time. And money, presuming that you are paying for the materials, and especially someone to paint it. It isn't much harder to do it right, but it takes tools (a MIG welder, and probably some air tools and a compressor) and some skill. Or a LOT of money to pay someone to do it for you.

    Frankly, you have to look more closely at the car than you probably have. If it has holes in the body panels, it might very likely have more serious issues, such as floor panels, frame rail and suspension mounting perforations. These cars are "unibody", which means that there is no separate frame, and the "body" supports the suspension and engine. Opels of this era are very prone to terminal rust, unless it has lived it's entire life in the desert. If this car has serious frame rot, DO NOT BUY IT. Even for much less than $1000, since you will spend muchous dinero and time repairing it, and still have a very compromised car.

    Finally, do not presume that it "works like a charm", even if the owner honestly believes that. Unless he has spent some serious money (or done it himself) to maintain the car's systems (brakes, suspension, engine, cooling system, exhaust, ELECTRICAL!!!), it will doubtless need a LOT of work to be drivable, let alone reliable.

    Now, don't let me discourage you. There are lots of Opel GT's out there that are available for that kind of money (or maybe a bit more) that will make excellent foundations for a restoration. And they can make reasonable daily drivers, with the patience and application of skill that I mentioned above. And these are terrific cars to learn the fundamentals of car repair and even restoration. But to get a good solid GT in drivable condition, expect to spend at least twice to three times that amount, and another 20 to 50% making it truly roadworthy. But this one may make a good parts car. Or even wet your appetite to find a better candidate. But a poor choice can be very discouraging, not to mention expensive.

    You mention that "where you live, it might take you another 3 years to find such a car. Where is that?

    Good luck with your decision, and let us know how you make out!
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

  4. #3

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    Look at all the GT's in E-Bay! Wow!!

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