Opel GT Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,344 Posts
I don't want to sound facetious, but the label "Safe Car" is a relative term. I walked away from being #5 in a 10 car pile-up on I-5 here in SoCal, driving my 71 GT some years ago. Others on this list have been in more severe accidents and also walked away. The unibody construction does have its merits. There are inherent problems with a GT and almost all are listed on this site and can be addressed with correct and proper maintenance. The GT, as you are aware is a small car with good acceleration and fair braking. I am reminded of what I used to tell prospective motorcyclists when they asked if a motorcycle was safe. My response was: The bike operator has 4 things better than a car driver, acceleration, deceleration, manuverablilty, and vision. But, they lose it all at the point of impact. The GT is a fun car to drive and is definately a good looking set of wheels that is capable of hitting the century mark. Now the question is: Will your son be a safe driver?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ron,
Thanks. I believe he will be safe driver. I fell in love with an OPEL GT when I was in high school and I quess i never got it out of my system.

Tom
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,920 Posts
Good answer, Ron. I was thinking along the same lines. Safe? Not compared to a Lexus LS430, with another 2000 pounds of weight in its favour, not to mention a Pre-Collision System (automatically arms the airbags and Brake Assist), Vehicle Stability Control, ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, eight air bags, seat belts with pre-tensioners, about 25 years of improved crush cell engineering, high strength steels, blah blah blah...

But is a GT safe compared to a motorcycle? Darn straight. If your son avoids an accident. And if he is wearing a seatbelt, if he can't. Speaking of which, get his GT a set of aftermarket three point inertia belts, either from Gil at OGTS, or any of the decent aftermarket kits (or the Hyundai Pony, if you know someone in Canada. Personal joke). The GT's standard three point belts are not user-friendly, what with the separate shoulder and lap belt, none of which have inertia reels (well, the '73 sort of does).

And it is safe if it is in good condition and maintained properly. Number one item, is of course brakes. Number two? A decent engine, to have enough power to avoid accidents. Or to merge and pass safely. And make sure your son works on the GT himself, so he has the pride of ownership that will make him hesitate before he does stupid things with his car.

JM2CW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,344 Posts
Tom, If you decide to get a GT for your son, maybe it can turn out to be a good father-son project bringing the car up to snuff. There are quite a few posts on this site about bringing a GT back after a prolonged period of nonuse. There is a fantastic search engine on this site that you can access on the tool bar at the top of the page. Just type a word or two on the subject and you will have a bunch of posts relating to that subject. Also, you can ask any question regarding the Opel and you can receive a multitude of responses from folks on this site that have, been there, done that. A word of warning though, that I must impart to you. Once you have an Opel, you may become afflicted with an illness known as Opelitis. This illness, which I have not been a victim of so far, places the household of an Opel owner a jeopardy of having Opels multiply, as if by magic at their residence. :D
 

·
Member
Joined
·
415 Posts
namba209 said:
Tom, If you decide to get a GT for your son, maybe it can turn out to be a good father-son project bringing the car up to snuff. There are quite a few posts on this site about bringing a GT back after a prolonged period of nonuse. There is a fantastic search engine on this site that you can access on the tool bar at the top of the page. Just type a word or two on the subject and you will have a bunch of posts relating to that subject. Also, you can ask any question regarding the Opel and you can receive a multitude of responses from folks on this site that have, been there, done that. A word of warning though, that I must impart to you. Once you have an Opel, you may become afflicted with an illness known as Opelitis. This illness, which I have not been a victim of so far, places the household of an Opel owner a jeopardy of having Opels multiply, as if by magic at their residence. :D

Tom,

Like you I had one before and never got it out of my system. As stated above I have made the one I now have a father son project. eventhough it has only been a short time since we got the car I can't tell you how much we have enjoyed working together on it. Don't le this opportunity pass you by.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All,
Thanks for the great response. Now all I need to do is to convince the true boss that having an OPEL GT for her son can be safe and reliable. This will not be an easy task.
Tom
 

·
Pathologic Opeler
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
safety item to add

1-I am going to install truck air horns, the opel horn is too friendly.mini vans,stereos,and distractions work against us.
2- install extra lights and always drive with them on, I do.

I drive my gt daily. Much of the time, i dont listen to the stereo so I can pay attention to traffic and keep a circle of air buffer,around me.I am a little scared but the fun is worth it.biggest fear is getting t-boned on a city street.

derek thomas ,the chiefs football player was killed 4 years ago when he drove fast on ice,then rolled his suburban..a one car accident,no seatbelts, the weight of the car crushed the roof on him when he was upside down.suburbans are supposibly one of the safest cars due to their mass...but this time it worked against him.

if you roll a gt, i dont think the roof will crush, A friend did this in college,
he was fine.

i would like to get some 73 doors, they are reinforced for a side impact.

may not make a difference..
 

·
Pathologic Opeler
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
much safer when you are working on the opel.

it is much safer for a son to be hanging out in the garage with his Dad than anyplace on earth.safer than the mall..maybe even school...in fact if you read the news over the years , it IS safer than school.

Can he borrow Dads' car for the prom /night/raining driving? or how about a $400 detroit iron as a spare? Insure him on that car?
 

·
Pathologic Opeler
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
my opinion

I think an opel gt is safer than a jet ski ,a bicycle, trampoline or a game of high school football.
 

·
OPEL-LESS!!!
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
i have a very solid 70 GT for sale, most solid car i've ever had, everything works with exception of clock and missing one rear side marker. needs very minor body work on passenger side rear quarter, paint, bellypan patch and carpet. motormounts and trans mount is shot, brakes work ok, work better and better the more i use them. its the high compression solid lifter motor with a 4 speed. dash is junk, need a replacement or get it recovered. all glass good, only rust i bellypan like virtually any GT and that spot on the quarter. all lights and electrical work, runs good, drives good, brakes good. 750 ya'll, come n' get it.
 

·
Pathologic Opeler
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
YOU have choices

for $750 you can buy Greensmurfs gt.it is a good deal. Iwould buy if it was closer..needs some work..would be a blast fixing it up.

multiply that by 10...for 7500 you can buy flippers gt on this site, it needs nothing, it is a good deal. i would LIKE to buy it, but the fun is fixing it up on this site. you can spend your time waxing it and driving it to shows.

what more could you want?750 or 7500?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,920 Posts
Define "fixed". Nothing more than 30 years old is ever completely fixed. Well, maybe me, after the second vasectomy. But if the basics are attended to, they are quite durable cars.

The engine is very robust, with many doing 100,000 miles or more without ANY mechanical repairs. And a top to bottom engine rebuild can be done for under $2k. Many are under $1000, if you do the wrenching yourself.

The weak spots are quite well documented. The stock Solex is JUNK, easily replaced with a Weber.

The electrical system is fairly decent, but the headlight wires MUST be replaced ASAP if they have not been already (and right up to the junction in the wiring loom near the middle of the engine compartment; the forward wiring is insulated with rubber, which has rotted. Guaranteed). The rest of the electrical has a few weak spots (ignition switch is weak, fuse box terminals can get corroded, turn signals have a ubiquitous glitch where you get a double flash, but all easily remedied).

The stock ignition system uses points and a condenser, but electronic systems are available for less than the cost of a tune up, and once installed properly, will provide trouble free operation

The headlights can give some problems, but so long as the PO (Previous Owner) hasn't hacked them too bad, they can be made to work very well.
The brakes can be totally overhauled quite readily, and although not up to modern standards, are quite good for a 2000 pound car. Bigger, better brakes are available, it just takes money.

The suspension bushings may need replacement, but parts are readily available, including polyurethane bushings which will make it handle better than new, and for longer. Also front and rear sway bars are HIGHLY recommended.

The body is prone to rust in a few locations, even in a dry climate (battery box being the #1 culprit), but the repairs are also easily made if you start with a relatively rust free car. But if it starts off as a rust bucket (which describes MANY, if not most North Eastern GT's), it will not be cheap to repair, and rust will continue to re-appear. Washington area cars are usually pretty good (my SportWagon was from Tacoma, and is virtually rust free. Except the battery box), but watch that the GT you are looking at didn't spend some time in the rust belt.

Other mechanical systems are decent. The auto tranny is a standard GM TH 180, and very robust. The 4-speed is solid, but prone to worn synchros. But they are easily rebuilt, or replaced (lots of used trannies out there), or even better, upgraded to a more modern European Opel Getrag 5-speed.

There, that about covers it. I'll move this thread to the "GT" forum, since it is heading in that direction (it fits my criteria my criteria for being "GT Specific")

HTH
 

·
Member
Joined
·
335 Posts
Are they reliable? Sure, It think so. I bought mine about 8 months ago and did most of the mods you see here. But first and foremost I rebuilt the brakes, installed an electronic ignition and a 65 amp alternator, repaired or replaced the fuel lines and installed a weber carb, removed and cleaned all the gauges. There is more but for the most part I just went over all those little things that tend to bite you later. I've been using mine for a daily driver for the past month and it has been totally reliable. The only problem with the car is maintaining my concentration while watching other drivers strain to figure out what they are looking at. So far I've had one offer to sell it and three people at traffic lights tell me how cool the car looks and how much they liked them when they were a kid.
 

·
Pathologic Opeler
Joined
·
1,960 Posts
once fixed the car is reliable

i would vote the car is as reliable as any 30 year old.
I dont think anyone you would want to start with a $750 car and hire it done, but that applies to any foreign vintage car.

my car was bought with 220,000 on the clock,original owner kept it up.he was not a mechanic and hired it all done. car was bought last year and driven from Ca to Missouri with out a tow..is that reliable?I think it is.

the parts on the car work the way they are supposed to work. the car was reliable when new. My first Opel was a 75 manta, I drove it 110,00. It was reliable too.

they were reliable when new, they are reliable when repaired, but the owner has to study and look at the car to see where the weak spots are.

For example, if you dont know when your water pump was replaced,you had better put one on now,if you want it reliable. You have to go thru each system,if you dont want a surprise.

If you plan to hire it done, BUY one fixed up on this site. You will save thousands.There are usually several a year that NEED nothing,and are as reliable as new ,many with more power and better loooks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All,
Thanks for all great feedback. I was looking at getting OPEL GT that was complete. However I have some reservations concerning the small size and other statements on this website. (I think this website is great by the way!!!)

Based on it small size do other drivers not notice the car when it is on the road?

Someone on this site stated that you have to be prepared to drive offensively (compared it to driving a motorcycle) is this the right car for a new driver?

I was originally considering that based on a four cylinder with good gas mileage and only a two seater that it would be the car of choice. Specifically good acceleration & braking while being maneuverable with only one additional seat. Is this still a good thought process or should I get a later model car with ABS and airbags?

I am on the fence last night I said this is not the car for him however I appreciate any last thoughts on the matter.

Tom
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,054 Posts
3 Issues A father Should Consider Regarding the GT

Safety
The GT is light-weight and no match for an SUV with a distracted driver.
It does not have the current active and passive protection systems of a modern car.
The GT is low to the ground and is not visible in many situations.
The fuel tank is located inside the car.

They hold up very well in single-car accidents, especially a head-on into an object.

A safety item inherent in the GT is it's ability to hold only one passenger. Any young male driver's highest exposure to stupid dangerous driving escalates according to how many buddies are in the car. And with the GT, the passenger will be female most of the time.

Father/Son Project
My son & I started working on an abandoned GT for him when he was 13. The deal: I paid for parts & materials, and he matched every hour I spent (he put in the work while I supervised and assisted). We spent 3 years and he had the best looking car at his high school; ready for him to drive on his 16th birthday. (no - it wasn't his birthday present) The time we spent working on this project is some of the best I've have. I'll never regret any of it.

Sweat Equity
The blood, sweat, and tears my son poured into his car contributed to the safety issue. He had a ton of "Sweat Equity" into his car. Knowing what it takes to repair a car, he drove it pretty carefully, with no moving violations in the 5 years he's been driving. But as with any teenage male, I'm assuming he pushed the limit once in a while. I know of one spinout at the base of an on-ramp. But overall, I believe he was safer for having so much invested in his "baby". Plus, we kept it stock so he wouldn't be as tempted to race it. With 4 exhaust tips, a small hole in the resonator, and fresh paint, his GT looked and sounded fast - so he didn't feel the need to embarrass himself or his car by getting beat in a street race.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top