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I've just returned from a four day 2,500 mile trek to bring my 1969 Italian spec Opel GT home to Tampa, FL from Ft. Worth TX. I won the car on e-bay last week for $1,850.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8001335401
It is one of 1,939 Opel GT's sold in Italy in 1969.

Some of the unique (to us in the USA) standard original equiptment includes:
1) 19S engine as opposed to the less powerful 19US engine.
2) front and rear factory stabilizer bars.
3) clear lense front blinkers in place of amber front side markers.
4) clear halogen driving light where the round amber front blinkers are located.
5) possibly a limited slip differential. (Is there an easy way of telling short of unbolting the cover?)
6) electric windshield washer pump.
7) no rear side markers. (IMHO the absence of these helps the rear of the care look more proportional)
8) cool looking Hella amber running lights on front fenders just in front of the "OPEL GT" insignia.

The bad news:
1) the car has sat for over ten years after clutch wore out.
2) it was pounded by a Texas hail storm, about a dozen dings including one that took out the rear window.
3) rust behind all four fenders (though oddly the belly pan has very little).
4) the interior was replaced with pieces from other GT's including red, black, biege. (The original interior was buckskin/tan.
5) car has been painted silver, it was originally "GT Metallic Green".

I'm interested in feedback from anyone who has knowledge of our GT's european siblings. And I will need replacment panels for the fenders as well as a replacement for the missing buckskin interior. Would appreciate any assistance.
-Jonzo
 

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To see if you have an LSD, put the rear of the car in the air on jackstands and spin one tire. If the other tire turns in the same direction you have an LSD, if the other tire doesn't spin or turns in the opposite direction it is not. HTH.
 

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Congrats on the purchase. I saw that one on e-bay and I was hoping someone here would get it. I wanted it, but I have no place for it. The side marker lights on the front fender and the lack on the rear was a distinct giveaway that this is a one of a kind in the U.S.

I picked up a couple "buckskin" (white)interior door panels. They are in OK shape. Let me know if you are interested. If the interior is complete, but in poor shape, you can go to any automotive upholstery shop and they can make new ones. If they are missing, black ones goe pretty cheap and you can get them recovered or use them as patterns. OGTS sells the headliner and spare tire flap in buckskin. They even give you enough material to redo the rear shelf or the piece under the tire flap. I'd get them first so you can match the rest.

About the rear. I understand if it is a LSD, jack up the car, spin one tire. If the other tire spins in the same direction, then it is a LSD. If it spins in the opposite direction, then it is an "open" diff. I'm sure I will be corrected if this is wrong.

I have tinted and non tinted rear windows(None with rear defog). Let me know if you want one. You might be able to find one closer to you.

Good luck and keep us informed with lots of pictures

Jeff
 

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crazy opeler
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Jonzo said:
8) cool looking Hella amber running lights on front fenders just in front of the "OPEL GT" insignia.
Does anyone know if these were stock or a dealer add-on to meet specific regulations? They seem to protrude a little far for factory lights. I have thought about adding some lights in that area as I always liked the way they looked on late model Audi/VW's

Jonzo said:
And I will need replacement panels for the fenders as well as a replacement for the missing buckskin interior. Would appreciate any assistance.
-Jonzo
Your rust doesn't look that bad, I wouldn't go through the trouble of finding replacement panels (cut out of another GT) unless there is significant rust through on the wheel arch or there is crash damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you both.
I'll test the differential tonight after work.
The color code on the ID plate says: 15 701
Which means "GT Metallic Green" exterior, and "biege" interior.
By "biege" they mean tan. That is the color that I see on the remaining pieces that have been painted or covered over. It's tan to my eye and its also what I've seen in advertisments from the period featuring the GT Metallic Green (aka Britischgrun) cars. Is anyone besides me confused by the beige/buckskin terminology?
Thanks again for the advice,
Jonzo
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I cannot say with absolute certainty, but I believe that they are factory installed.

1) I checked them and they are Hella (the OEM supplier of all Opel GT lights).
2) They look the same as the lights that I've seen in color photos of Opel GT bodies being shipped from France to Germany for final assembly.

They apparently were required in a few countries (including Italy I presume) but not in Germany or the USA.

I'm hoping that they are somewhat generic because one lense is missing and I would like to find an authentic replacement.

Anyone know more?

-Jonzo
 

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Yes, the buckskin/tan issue has been a problem.

I have the buckskin interior in my GT. Everyone else calls it white(non Opel people). We have a buckskin horse at the stable and it's color is nowhere near the color of the GT.

If I buy a basic white vinyl and put it next to this interior, yes, it is a little darker than basic white.

As far as the lights, there is a picture on the OGTS website you should look at.

Enter the site, select "gallery", "stock GTS" and look at the 1970 green GT.

MantAscona put these lights from an Audi on his Manta. Looks nice.

Jeff
 

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Jonzo said:
Some of the unique (to us in the USA) standard original equipment includes:
1) 19S engine as opposed to the less powerful 19US engine.
From all I have read, the '69 and '70 GT had virtually the same engine output in Europe as in North America. American EPA emission regulations required the reduction of the compression ratio from 9.0:1 to 7.6:1 and a less aggressive cam in 1971 and later. It was also when Opel went to hydraulic lifters across the CIH engine line.

Jonzo said:
3) clear lens front blinkers in place of amber front side markers.
Um, I don't think so. Well, yours has it, but that is definitely a modern change. You can get them from Gil at OGTS. The European marker lenses were orange, but they did NOT have internal reflectors

Jonzo said:
6) electric windshield washer pump.
Again, a modern revision.

Jonzo said:
8) cool looking Hella amber running lights on front fenders just in front of the "OPEL GT" insignia.
Maybe an Italian addition, but I have never seen them in ANY other European GT.

JM2CW
 

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kwilford said:
Um, I don't think so. Well, yours has it, but that is definitely a modern change. You can get them from Gil at OGTS. The European marker lenses were orange, but they did NOT have internal reflectors
Keith, I actually have in my possession some OEM Hella clear front markers. They are typically called 'Dutch' front markers by German GT companies, but in truth various European countries required clear front markers with amber bulbs in lieu of amber markers.

HTH,
Bob
 

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RallyBob said:
Keith, I actually have in my possession some OEM Hella clear front markers. They are typically called 'Dutch' front markers by German GT companies, but in truth various European countries required clear front markers with amber bulbs in lieu of amber markers.
HTH,
Bob
I stand corrected. I have heard the clear marked lenses called "European", but I assumed it was a modern reference.
 

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congrats your one of the very lucky 20% of the people that owns a GT. Cause its a Euro. i have on to. but then, i live in Holland, although most gt's around here are american one's too. you'll find some different things about this gt rather than the euro one's i have a european (dutch) owners manual. and since all euro gt's are the same (i believe) if you have questions just ask
 

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the amber lights on the bumper would be fog lights (55 watt halogen bulbs in them ) some countrys in europe require them (france for one) they are far better than clear white ones and you can see about 2 times as far with amber in thick fog and no back glare
here they would have to be white above the bumper and used only with full beam as driving lights or below the bumper and white or amber to use as fogs
this is the one french thing i like and always fit to any car i have ,i like to see in the frog sorry fog :)

(added 10/10)
just had a reread after the pics were added and see we were talking about the side markers and not add on driving / fog lights
amazing how a pic can alter a reply as we can see the things that have alternate names through out the world
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the feedback.

1)I tested the differential last night as recommended above. When I turned one wheel forward the other did not move at all. The wheels did not turn freely so I could not get them to spin. It may be brakes, I can't say for sure yet. So it appears that the car does not have LSD, but I will remove the diff cover this weekend to see for myself if that is the case.

2)I will need to source some used "biege"(tan) interior pieces such as the dash pad, center console, door panels, visors, etc. I'll order new reproductions of the headliner, carpet, seat cover and other items. I want to restore the original appearance of the car as best as I can. I actually have most of an original "buckskin"(white) interior stored in my garage. But of course this car's original build calls for a "biege"(tan) interior

3)I found my reprint european Opel GT owners manual that I bought from OGTS and it gives a nice breakdown of the driving lights, fog lights, blinkers and what bulbs are called for. It even has a wiring diagram. I bought it on a lark about ten years ago. Now it has a practical use!

4)I will also need to source 3 original rims for a 68-70 opel GT. This GT currently is riding on 1975 5.5"x13" rims and also has one odd 5"x13" rim that looks the same as the 1975 style but is only 5" wide (its dimension is stamped on the rim). I'm guessing that rim was donated by a european Kadett?

5)I'd like to hear definitively as to whether a 69 euro spec engine was stronger than the USA version. I know that the USA version had the "AIR" emmissions pump contraption. But I've never really heard how that might have affected performance.

6) FYI this car does have a flat tail panel but is definately an early 69 rather than a 68. Also it still has an original (rusty) battery tray. I think thats a first for any GT that I've owned!

7) Lastly what kind of shock absorbers are appropriate for this GT? Does anyone know if Bilsteins are still available?

I appreciate everyones advice, and I enjoy hearing from our community's braintrust on the Opel GT and its subtle but meaningful variations and options.

-Jonzo
 

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I have the 69-70 rims available if you want(four slot with the larger hubcap, like on the raylle wheels). Shipping might be costly though. Let me know if you don't find any and we can work something out along with a rear window.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
1969 Italian Spec Opel GT update:

I got under the GT last night and pulled the diff cover off and had a look.
Unfortunately it does not have a limited slip differential as I had hoped.
It does definately have factory stabiliser bars front & rear. I wonder if it has the "heavy duty" factory springs that I've heard of. Can anyone tell me how you would ID those. The rear shocks are painted a dark red color.

Upon closer inspection of the spare parts box that came with the car I discovered:
1) the original Kilometers per Hour speedometer. It has a date of 2/69 inscribed into the back, so my GT was put together sometime after that.
It was swapped out with a MPH speedometer to satisfy the Feds when the car was imported to the USA in 1984.

2) the engine currently has a cylinder head with "19" inscribed on its ID plate.
Among the extra parts was a cylinder head with a triangle and "19H" inscribed into its ID plate. I've heard the "19H" cylinder heads provide a favorable boost in performance. Can someone tell me how much better than a regular "19". Also what would it cost to rebuild. This "19H" head shows obvious signs of a blown gasket around cylinder #4. You can see white water residue going into the cylinder. The engine was rebuilt in Italy. Maybe this was the cause for the rebiuld?

Thank you jlthunder for offering the rear window. I already have two of them in my spare parts bin. Both have heating elements (which this car's original build calls for). One is clear and the other is tinted. I'll probably use the clear for this car.

Again, the top of my Spare Parts wish list will be the "biege"(really tan) interior pieces (especially door panels and dash pad) I have "biege" arm rests, but they've been painted black along with the center console! The dash pad that is currently in the car was also painted black by the original owner and it was originally red! BTW I am the 3rd owner of this GT.

That's it for now, I'm going to research the pros and cons of various methods of stripping the cars body to bare metal for repairs and paint. The body is straight (never wrecked) but does have rust in the quarter panels and numerous of dimples from a Texas hale storm it got caught in. I'm concerned that whatever method of stripping I use does not leave the car more vulnerable to rust when restoration is completed.

I appreciate all feedback.
Sincerely,
Jonzo
 

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Protection

Jonzo said:
1969 Italian Spec Opel GT update:
I'm concerned that whatever method of stripping I use does not leave the car more vulnerable to rust when restoration is completed.

I appreciate all feedback.
Sincerely,
Jonzo
Jonzo, The restoration shop that did the bodywork on my GT used a "phosphate, etch primer" to cover the bare metal as they progressed on the paint stripping. This gave the bare metal a grey, dappled finish that permanently protected it from any surface rust. Don't know the brand name but any good bodyshop should know about similar products.

HTH
 

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Jonzo said:
I've heard the "19H" cylinder heads provide a favorable boost in performance. Can someone tell me how much better than a regular "19".
Not a huge difference on its own. The airflow and valve sizes are the same, but the combustion chamber is smaller. It will boost your compression ratio by 4/10's of a point. If I was in the process of rebuilding the engine anyway I would use it, but I would not bother to tear into the engine just for the sake of swapping the head over. Probably not worth it IMO.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I was surfing the Italian Opel web sites for info and discovered the following:

1)The twin to my GT right down to the exterior and interior colors and light configuration. Of course mine is silver now but this is the look that It will return to when restoration is completed.

2) Found that Italian Manta's used the same Hella amber side markers as the Italian GT's. That gives hope that I will be able to find lens replacements for my missing passenger side fender marker. Also I think this guys manta won the prize for tiniest engine!

-Jonzo
 

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