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Opel GT Hatchback

6686 Views 34 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  GT-Freak
Well, some of you know that I just recently picked up an Opel GT and plan to start on the rework next year(after my 70 Challenger TA is completed). So in the spirit of dreaming I was thinking about how the rear interior of the car is pretty useless and was thinking that a hatchback would really help out. I plan on installing a tiny rear seat to accomodate my two tiny kids - and was wondering if anyone had ever made a hatchback. To start with the sheet metal is so thin that it would need a full frame to support the glass. Other than that, hatchback hinges are available in any make and style. I was studyiny my Explorer with the lift glass and it seems that those type of hinges and latch system could work in a GT. Then you would have to address the seals to keep the weather out.

Any thoughts.
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Lenk Thread

These are not actual rear seats, just upholstered to look like rear seats. I have similar in my car..........see Malcolms GT in the Opel Photo Gallery.
Sorry 19693SGTEOPEL, I have been working on late 60's - early 70's Dodge cars (Challenger, Cuda, SuperBee) for the past few years and compared to the sheetmetal on those, the Opel's is thin. You are correct that compared to many newer cars the Opel's is not so bad off. However, I suspect that it would still need a frame of sorts to hold up over time without warping.

As far as the seats go, I have yet to find anyone who has actual seats in the rear. It seems that people, yxy and Malcom, go the route of upholstering it to look like seats without the functionality that I need.

yzy: Do you think that you could just go the extra step and intall the necessary supports to attach seat belts to??? Remember these would be for two small children (3 and 6) that would need only minimal foot room. If you have some - I would be interested in any pictures of your "rear seat" (I can't believe that I just said that)

I have found that 76 (and similar year models) Datsun 280 Z 2+2 cars have the closest to correct size rear seat. The bottom portion of the seat however is too deep and would need to be sectioned.
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for a reference...

To be legal in most states the mounting points for the seat belts needs to be factory installed (crash tested) or conform to some other standard, generated by the state. In CT, for example, the seat belt and anchor need to be able to withstand 5000# of force parallel to the ground in the forward direction.

I would try the rear-most, rear facing, fold-into-the-floor seat from an '80's Volvo wagon. They are terribly uncomfortable, but folded-up not more than 3" thick and just about the perfect width. The folding and latching bracketry would also allow you to use the rear area for "stuff" and they could be widened or narrowed fairly easily by anyone with basic welding skills. They also would be VERY easy to upholster in any color you chose.
nice oldopelguy... thanks for the heads up on the Volvo seats.

I have spoken with the DMV and th eState Patrol and they don't care about the rear seat config. They said as long as it is 'safe'. Where did you get your info on the legal requirements in CT???

What about the hatchback idea? I know it's kind-of out there but...???
3 kit cars, 4 three wheelers, 14 pre '67 cars...

When I was stationed in Groton, CT I built a Bradley GT kit car with a 2.8 Chevy V-6. The frame needed "tweaking" so the body would clear the taller motor, so the seat belt mounts got cut off.

I photocopied the entire section of the CT codified laws dealing with automobiles and took it along on a 4 month "cruise." With nothing else to do and 200+ feet of water between you and even, say, the sun, you have plenty of time to get familiar with your reading material. I also rebuilt a dozen or so carburators, and built a couple sets of custom digital dashes for various projects. Time underway is slow time.....

As for the hatchback, I cringe at the thought of that much irreversable modification to a good car. I would be more inclined to try to find a rear window from some other car that was ever so slightly smaller than the GT so I could put a "frame" around it with outside dimensions that would fit into the GT's window's hole. That way you would get a moveable rear window, but you could always go "back" if you wanted.

I did drive a 327 equipped GT in Houston once that had a tastefully done "trunk" in the rear. It was really only put there for easier access to the rear-most anchor points of the roll cage and the fuel cell, but once the guy had it opened-up back there he decided to finish it off. He had also installed a late model Buick one-piece taillight that went across the entire rear of the car and a Kadett rear bumper, so the rear of the car was entirely different. I wish I had taken more pictures when I was in college....
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drilling safety gless

I've never found a shop that can/will drill tempered safety glass. I tried once, and the glass sure did beak into cool little chunks the day after the window was installed.

What a shame, too, those Kadett side windows never do like to stay in.

You are right about the rubber, though, it is rather thick. You might be able to get some sort of thin frame all the way around that would allow for hinges and latches and still seal up. I'll have to look closer at Chad's GT this weekend.
Hatchback GT

Here is one way to get a hatchback GT: Oh wait, it looks the same UNDER the car, but not on top!


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Hatchback GT

Here's the one I meant. It looks like a new window was used, with a frame attached that carries the hinges and prop rods. This guy has lengthened the opening, and moved the tank filler to the back. Which is a matter of taste. But I don't see why the concept couldn't work with the original window, and a frame inside the original opening.


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I like the first picture better, myself.
I've thought about making a hatchback or cam back GT for years. Started gathering some parts to extend the roof line back and use a hatch window like one from a Honda CRX and louver vents where the pop out windows are. But I gave up on that idea when I picked up the '51 Olympia. :(

Maybe I'll use that extra sheet metal to turn my '72 Manta into a big GT......
GT Hatchback

Speaking of a Kamm Back....


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GT Hatchback

And another view:


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That white gt wagon is just plain wrong. To each his own I suppose.

I don't suppose anyone has more info on the red hatchback that kwilford posted. My interest is peaked now. That would be the best solution... No hacking of the Opel (I agree) and the original window with a small frame.

19693SGTEOPEL - you gotta get some pictures posted on this site... If you don't have a digital camera, just take regular pictures, send them to me and I will scan them in and post them... Your project sounds sweet.
Already thought about that one. A 4-door Ascona with 5 feet added between the doors. Would be a pretty cool way to arrive at Carlisle.....

wierd- not cool

How is it that we are so odd that a streach Ascona could even begin to be cool?

I want a ride when you get it done.
I thought about the 'Opelimo' about ten years ago, but never seriously pursued it...just made a few sketches, nothing more. But I promise I'll take you for a rip in my Kadett wagon some day. I think I've finally settled on a driveline (out of 4 engines I had to choose from). Gonna be a 2.4 litre with a supercharger, and a 4.22 rear end. And hubcaps, gotta have the hubcaps.....


'Yea, so I'm weird. Sue me.'
2.4 with a supercharger???

Can I get more infor on this setup... what year 2.4 and what supercharger??? Any other mods necessary to put the supercharger on the 2.4???

I think that I am leaning toward a GM 3.1 or 3.4 with an S10 t5. Maybe even with a turbo... This is the combo that Mike Pilkenton detailed in his 3.1L GM V6, Borg Warner T-5, Mustang-Eating Opel GT article. That is the only one that I have seen that is documented so well. Are there other transplant articles out there?
Re: 2.4 with a supercharger???

husker said:
Can I get more infor on this setup... what year 2.4 and what supercharger??? Any other mods necessary to put the supercharger on the 2.4???
The 2.4 is a homebuilt (RE: my 1.9-2.4 conversion). The supercharger is a Camden 80 ci unit I used to have on my Toyota pickup. Lots of mods required. Fabricated sheetmetal intake, shortened supercharger snout, and a set of custom drive pulleys. Custom intake before the supercharger. Plenty of room under the hood of the Kadett for the blower...not so much on a GT. Compression must be lower, pistons forged, block o-ringed, copper head gasket. Also with a boost retard system and water injection.

Bob , is the water injection to take place of a oil cooler for the engine sounds kinda tricky, I have read a few posts before that detailed the aspects of this really involved process. Could you let us know more about it?

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