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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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First in-person visit…

My wife and I made the drive from Atlanta, GA to Cookeville, TN Saturday morning for our first visit to see progress on the Opel GT restoration. Here is our “trip report" as a series of short posts with pictures (following in-person visits is the only time I will post to the PROJECT thread).

We arrived after about 4 ½ hours on the road (some of that time spent with the top down on the Solstice :veryhappy ). Keith was out front of Mid-Southern Restoration (MSR) waiting for us and we were joined by Harold (hrcollinsjr) and Art (one of the shop owners and the person that will be doing the paint job, among others things).

Keith had everything laid out just as it would be if installed on the car: Front end, then engine and transmission, and then the rear end. We went over all of the steps taken to get to this point and reviewed several other parts that are finished but still loose (e.g., the master cylinder). We also looked over parts that still need some work and decisions made on how to proceed (e.g., the steering column and Weber carb). Everything looked amazing with many restored parts looking like they just came off the stock shelf.

Continued...
 

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First in-person visit (continued)...

Next, we went to the back of the shop to see the sand blasted and primed body shell which is still on the rotisserie. We spent a lot of time here talking over what was found lurking under the paint and bondo as well as the good and bad aspects of the body’s current state. I think the general consensus was that the sections of the body that aren’t rusted are actually pretty straight and relatively dent free. Art discussed some things we can do with the underbody to make it sound and protected (and still look good) but that will also enable us to save a little on the budget. This will free up some money to spend on the visible parts of the car without compromising the car’s overall safety and reliability. You’ll see more on that as Keith get’s into the metalwork. We also looked over the hood and doors at this point all of which looked good. Harold was also a wealth of info on the car as we looked things over.
 

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First in-person visit (continued)...

Next, we went to the loft area in the shop where all of the OGTS parts are stored waiting for installation on the car (e.g., carpeting, headliner, trim, rubber window seals, etc.) Also, all of the powder coated parts not yet ready for install were shelved here wrapped in paper and taped up for protection. Everything was clearly labeled and organized which a neat-freak like me really appreciates! :biggthump

Next, we went over the in-car entertainment components I brought with me (in my nice new Opel duffel bag) for later installation. I purchased all of these components from Best Buy’s car audio shop. Not to jump ahead of ourselves here, but the car will have an in-dash AM/FM radio with CD player, MP3 / iPod input jack, and XM Satellite Radio receiver. A 580 watt amp will also be installed in the car initially driving two 6" x 9" speakers. The amp will provide the flexibility to later add a sub-woofer and additional speakers if desired. Music is important to me (I never drive without it) and so a good sound system upgrade was mandatory.

Finally, it was time for a little driving fun. I went for a spin in Keith’s blue Opel GT which was awesome - Keith pushed the car hard :eek: . We also got to ride in a 1955 Jaguar and a Camaro that were parked out front when we arrived. We ended the day by having dinner with Keith and his wife which was great and Keith even gave us some “parting gifts” (Opel GT model and three CDs full of the hi-res pictures he has taken thus far).

Our next in-person visit is scheduled for June. Until then, I would like to thank Keith and Art for a wonderful review of the project (and Harold for joining us) and I'll turn the thread back over to Keith...
 

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Second in-person visit...

I met up with Keith yesterday (05/12) for my second in-person visit to see how things are going. My wife didn't tag along this time, so it was just me. Keith had the chrome all laid out when I got there and it looks fantastic in person. There appears to be only one minor blemish on the whole set and that is on the underside of one of the rear bumpers - so no big deal. Keith had to bump out that bumper because I had damaged it many years ago by backing into my folks car in the driveway :sigh: . We then spent a good bit of time going over the bodywork that has begun. The doors and headlights are in place temporarily to help ensure proper fit.

We then discussed the belly pan at great length trying to decide between fixing up mine or using the OGTS fiberglass belly pan. My belly pan was dented pretty bad in another mishap early on in my ownership of the car. I wasn't used to how low the GT rides and ran up on a curb :sigh: . OK, that is all the damage I did to the car - honest. We decided to go with the OGTS fiberglass belly pan. The amount of time Keith would spend making mine sweet by bumping it out and repairing rust, etc. doesn't make sense when we can get a good reproduction for less. I'm sure Keith will cover in detail the process of attaching the fiberglass piece to the car when we get there.

Next, we covered the remaining parts we need from OGTS. In addition to the belly pan, we'll be ordering a set of the driver and passenger side mirrors that were discussed in another thread, the dash cap, some under hood rubber, and we need a set of inner tie rods that were on back order and are now available.

Finally, we checked out all the cool cars around the shop in various states of restoration and took a spin in a Trans Am that just came in for work. The Trans Am isn't my kind of car but that thing has some power! :cool:

Matt
 

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My Final Thoughts...

It has been a little over a week since I picked up my GT at the “Tennessee Dyno Days” event that Keith graciously hosted in Cookeville, TN. Having driven the car for a while now and having had time to think back on the project from start to finish, I am posting here my Lessons Learned, Project Summary, Modifications, Recognition of Contributors, and a “Wish List” of things to come for this car. Hopefully this information will be valuable and serve as a reference point for others thinking of restoring their Opel (of any model). Here goes…

Lessons Learned
Having never restored a vehicle before, I had no idea what was involved. I went to a restoration shop in Atlanta for a quote that started setting my expectations in the right direction as far as time and cost. However, they didn’t know a thing about Opels and so it wasn’t until Keith spoke up on the forum here that I had the opportunity to get feedback from an Opel expert. Lesson number one: work with someone that knows the car or at least has experience with cars in the same genre as our Opels. I feel I had the ideal situation being able to work with Keith given his background in Opels and Mid-Southern Restoration given their overall restoration expertise and attention to detail. The use of a rotisserie was also a big advantage at several stages of the project.

Get a “best estimate” of both cost and time. Again, someone familiar with Opels will be able to provide a better estimate. Even then, however, hidden factors like rust, bondo, and prior repairs, both mechanical and cosmetic, may add significantly to the final expense no matter how good the initial estimate. Lesson number two: expect the unexpected and be aware that bodywork is bodywork regardless of the type of car. It costs money to fix rust properly with new metal welded in and the type of car doesn’t matter. Our Opels could be Ferraris as far as rust is concerned!

Believe it or not, I spent quite a bit of money on mechanical repairs to get the GT on the road before getting it to Keith. My initial thought was to just get the car roadworthy and drive it “as is” for a while and then do some body work. I then changed direction and decided to go “all the way” for a full restoration. Much of the mechanical work I paid for (especially the labor) was for naught as the car was totally stripped down for the restoration. Lesson number three: have an overall plan for your car from start to finish even if you don’t plan to do all of the restoration at once. Throwing money at the car to fix things and changing direction later can cost you.

Finally, a few miscellaneous items that I liked about working with Keith and Mid-Southern Restoration include: great communication with detailed updates on progress and many opportunities to make decisions on the level of work to be performed, no up-charge on parts and supplies (e.g., parts purchased from our friends at Opel GT Source were invoiced to me at cost as if I had purchased them directly), and weekly billing with labor and parts broken out separately for tracking expenses. Even though I was a couple hundred miles away, I never felt like I was lost as to what was going on with the car or worried that things were happening I wasn’t aware of. This secure feeling was the result of frequent phone calls from Keith and of course this PROJECT thread hosted by OpelGT.com. Also, schedule some in-person visits even if you are doing this long distance so you can get an appreciation of what you are paying for.

Project Summary
Here I summarize the key data associated with the restoration and also discuss some of the more significant decisions made along the way. Overall project data:

Elapsed Time: 38 Weeks, 5 Days (272 Calendar Days)
Total Labor Hours Billed: 566 (Average of 15 Hours per Week)
Expenses as a Percentage of Total Project Cost:

Labor: 57%
Parts: 34%
Other Services: 9%

“Other Services” includes sandblasting and chrome, among other things. My advice is to go down to bare metal if you have the opportunity so you can uniformly paint every surface of the car. Also, don’t skimp on the chrome. The chrome is a really important part of the overall look of the car in my opinion. Either buy new chrome parts or have yours cleaned and re-chromed.

So, the most frequent question I have been asked of late is “How much did this cost?” As I’ve stated before, since every car is different and everybody has different goals for their car, knowing my total cost is probably of little value to someone thinking of having their Opel restored. I understand though why people want to know – I would wonder too! The data above should help as guidelines for estimation purposes. I used percentages so anybody can get an idea of the distribution of expenses by type.

In the interest of helping people gauge their ability to fund this type of project, I am willing to provide some additional specifics. First, I wouldn’t even consider going this route unless you are prepared to spend a minimum of $25K. You should set that as your baseline budget assuming all goes well and there are few surprises. If you start with a really straight, rust free car, you might be able to come in under that amount but I would be mentally and financially prepared to spend $25K on a full restoration of this sort. Second, be aware that the discovery of hidden rust, bondo, and prior “repairs” will increase your cost. These surprises are costs that you need to absorb and then move on because they are essentially out of your control (unless you abandon the project all together and don’t finish). Third, the decision to go with some extras like powder coating parts, upgrading interior panels, installing a modern sound system, finishing out the underbody, etc. will further increase your total cost. These are the variable costs that need to be managed as the restoration progresses because they are in fact completely within your control.

Modifications
Here I’ll discuss the more significant modifications made to the car. Personally, I like the “stock” look of the GT and so I didn’t have any real desire to make drastic changes to the car’s appearance. In addition, I’m not one that feels a need to drop a bigger engine in the car. However, a few cosmetic and performance related changes were made as follows:

Rear “Spoiler”: The rear trim piece was eliminated from the car. In addition to reducing the chance for new rust to form in this area, I actually like the look of the GT without this trim piece.

Fiberglass Belly Pan: I like the fiberglass belly pan because it looks like the original belly pan and it is one less part to rust in the future. However, Keith went through a lot to get this part integrated into the body and it was expensive in the end for that reason.

Powder Coating: I’m a big fan of powder coating. Powder coat as much of the car as you can!

Dash Cap: I would have liked to have gone with a “Just Dashes” restored dash but that was one expense I had to eliminate due to budget constraints. However, I think the dash cap is a viable alternative. It looks really good and you really have to examine the interior to notice that it is there.

XM Radio / CD Player: I know the general rule is to not cut into a good instrument panel. However, mine was already cut so I went for the modern luxury of a good in-dash radio. I love XM Satellite radio and the amp and speakers I chose work well as far as projecting sound into the car. I decided not to mount speakers in the kick vents because I want that extra airflow.

Antenna: My car had the electric antenna motor installed with a manual switch under the dash to raise and lower it. It just added a lot of extra wires under there. I decided to cover over the antennae hole completely thereby eliminating an exterior antenna. I went with a powered hidden antenna that is in the headliner for AM / FM reception.

Electronic Ignition: This is a very cheap and handy performance upgrade that also eliminates the need to deal with points. This is a no-brainer I think. I’ll bet even I could have installed this!

Two performance upgrades that were already part of my car prior to the start of the restoration include High Compression Pistons and a Weber Carburetor. Based on my dyno results (see the “TN Dyno Days” thread), I would say you can get decent performance out of the 1.9L engine with these three performance upgrades (electronic ignition, high compression pistons, and Weber carburetor).

Recognition of Contributors
This project wouldn’t be possible without contributions from many people, companies, and organizations. I want to recognize them here:

Keith Lundholm: The star of the show! Keith did the vast majority of the work on this car. I’m not sure what else I can say except thank you again for being so great to work with and for being honest and straightforward the entire way. Your attention to detail and high standards are what make this car a rolling work of art in my opinion.

Mid-Southern Restoration: A fantastic restoration shop run by people who care about their reputation and are professional all the way. I highly recommend them! I especially want to thank Robert who painted the car. The paint job on my car is unbelievable and has really been getting the compliments everywhere I go.

Opel GT Source: The vast majority of the new parts for the restoration came from OGTS. It would be vastly more difficult if not impossible to complete a restoration of this type without the sales and service provided by OGTS.

U.S Sandblasting: They did a great job getting the car down to the bare metal and powdercoating some of the larger parts of the car. Their price was very fair and service was high quality!

Chrome Wizard: These guys took my old, tired chrome that had been deteriorating unprotected for many years and made it really pop! I believe I got a fantastic deal on exceptional work. The front bumper especially is quite amazing given what it looked like prior to being re-chromed.

OpelGT.com: This is an awesome forum and I’m certain that the collective knowledge here contributed greatly to the success of this project. I want to thank Gary for providing this forum and all the hard work that goes into maintaining it. I also want to thank all my fellow forum members that contributed comments and knowledge along the way. A few forum members also were sources for parts and so I will note them here.

“hrcollinsjr”: Harold provided an instrument panel, some sheet metal, and I think several other misc. items that Keith begged, borrowed, and stole from Harold’s inventory! I think Harold was also a valuable “sounding board” for Keith to bounce ideas off so he contributed in that way too!

“daveegt”: Dave provided a set of show quality trim rings for the rims and a back-up set of center caps in case any of my re-chromed center caps get lost or damaged.

“opelenvy”: George provided a set of LEDs for use as a third brake light which were installed into the rear vent openings.

“CIARA1970”: Lyndon provided a center console and interior panels that are just amazing. These interior parts really breathe new life to the interior of the car.

“1930jerry”: I’m not sure I have Jerry’s forum ID but he sold me some OGTS seat covers at a discount and also some license plate lenses that were in great shape.

THANK YOU ALL!!! I hope I didn't miss anyone, but, if I did, send me a PM and I'll get you added.

“Wish List”
What would I like to do next? Here is my very short list of things that I couldn’t afford but hope to get to someday (in no particular order):

NOS Gas Cap and Key
Just Dashes Dash
Front and Rear Sway Bars
Lowering Springs (to reduce wheel well gaps with stock rims)
Cold Air Intake (using the Weber carburetor adapter)

Conclusion

Link To COMMENTS Thread

Link To My Photo Gallery

Well, that’s about it. The biggest question of all may be “Was it worth it?” In a word: ABSOLUTELY!

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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House Call...

When I do an upgrade to my GT, I will post as an update to this PROJECT thread.

I’ve had my GT for just over two months now and I have been loving it! What a blast it is to drive this car and have a reliable Opel in my garage. Having put some miles on it, there were a couple items that needed to be tweaked. So, this past weekend, Keith came down to Atlanta from Tennessee and made a house call (in keeping with the great Opel enthusiast spirit of helping each other out). As has been said many times, this truly is a great community! I really appreciate Keith taking the time to visit and also teaching me a few things while acting as his assistant. It was also a lot of fun.

While Keith was visiting we decided to install the ADDCO (http://www.addco.net/) front and rear anti-sway-bars as a suspension upgrade (knocking off one of the items from my upgrade wish list posted previously). See this web page for further information: http://www.addco.net/Nissan-Opel_AntiSwaybars.htm#pel. After having the anti-sway-bars installed, we test drove the car on some twisty roads that I travel often and on which I know my typical speed in the curves. I can definitely say the anti-sway-bars greatly reduce if not eliminate body roll. They also give the driver the confidence to attack the corners at a higher speed, which frankly adds to the excitement of driving an Opel (or any car for that matter). I highly recommend this upgrade, which really is not that expensive or overly difficult to perform even if you are like me with limited mechanical skills (I did have Keith here who did most of the work, but even so, I think it is a procedure within the abilities of most Opel owners).

See the next two posts for a brief description and pictorial of the sway-bar installation, which I hope you will find useful if you decide to add these to your Opel. There were a couple “gotchas” in the printed directions that I also note below for future reference.

Matt
 

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Rear Anti-Sway-Bar Install...

<The first of three posts on the ADDCO anti-sway-bar install is on the prior page and includes links to the ADDCO web site>

We installed the rear anti-sway-bar first. The ADDCO rear anti-sway-bar (5/8” diameter, stock number 902) came with directions marked as Revision 1 dated January 17, 2000. The first step was to find the pre-drilled factory holes in the frame, which were present but covered over in primer and paint. Once these holes were revealed, we attached the brackets to the frame. Next, we assembled the end-link with spacers and lined these up to locate the holes we had to drill in the spring support. Once the holes were drilled and everything loosely attached, we tightened everything up.

A few notes to keep in mind:

  • The illustration included in the directions indicates that the anti-sway-bar “bend” is to run under the drive shaft. However, we ran the anti-sway-bar bend above the torque tube, as it would not clear the other way.
  • Make sure you run the bolt for the bracket that attaches the end-link to the spring support such that the head is on the inside of the spring support with the bolt shaft sticking out. Tighten the lock nut on this bolt and then cut the excess off with a hack saw so that the end-link bolt and spacers will clear. You don’t want this bolt sticking into the spring support area.
  • When lining up the end-link location for mounting, jack up the frame of the car with the wheels still on your ramps. By expanding the springs, you are allowing for travel in the suspension with the anti-sway-bar in place.
Matt
 

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Front Anti-Sway-Bar Install...

We installed the front anti-sway-bar second. The ADDCO front anti-sway-bar (3/4” diameter, stock number 140) came with directions marked as Revision 1 dated January 17, 2000 (same as the rear). The front anti-sway-bar install was slightly easier than the rear. We started by checking the bolting pattern for the end-links. Next, we located and marked the spots on the frame where we would have to drill to run the U-bolts. We checked the U-bolt alignment and then passed them through the frame so that the threaded ends protruded outward. We then attached the brackets to the frame. Next, we lined everything up to find the right spot to drill mounting holes in the A-arms. Finally, we mounted the anti-sway-bar end-links to the A-arms to complete the installtion.

Just one thing to note here:

  • The directions say to drill 3/8” holes in the frame to pass the U-bolts through. We had to drill 1/2" holes in order to be able to pass the U-bolts through.
Matt
 

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Baby Got A Pair of New Shoes...

I had the latest upgrade to my car installed at Kauffman Tire yesterday in the form of some classic looking Cooper Cobra Radial G/T tires (205/60R13). These tires replace the Blue Streak 185/70R13 tires that I had on the car. The additional 20mm in width further improves traction (tested thoroughly on the way home) while shedding just 6.5mm in sidewall height. Combined with the anti-sway-bars, I can really take the corners now! Finally, I think the white raised lettering will give the car a little "meaner" look when it's hob-knobing with muscle cars at the next car show. I want to thank Gene for the suggestion and for helping out by tracking down four of these tires through Kauffman Tire. Gene even took my old set of tires off my hands :bigok:.

Matt
 

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Marking One Year Anniversary...

Today marks one year since the Tennessee Dyno Days 2007 meet where I picked up my GT so I have to mark it with a post back to the PROJECT thread here...

The past year has been a BLAST!!! I managed to put ~6,600 miles on the car for an average of 550 miles per month (50 miles more per month than I had estimated). The odometer sits at 98,683. The longest trip taken was to the Nationals in Charlotte which was 534 miles round trip averaging 27.23 MPG. It looks like with my heavy foot I get about 19 - 20 MPG around town and have gotten as high as 36.76 MPG on the highway. My top unverified speed reached so far is 108 MPH on the way back from Nationals and the car had plenty more to give.

I've been keeping a very detailed journal on the GT and that has helped tremendously as far as being able to go back and check what has been done and also plan things I want to do. Basically, the only significant issues over the past year have been with parts not replaced as new at the time of restoration (fuel pump and water pump being the two primary parts that failed both of which were used). An inner tie-rod also failed. Replacing those and also upgrading a few things here and there has really taught me a lot about the car and I feel a little more self reliant now.

That said, I still have to ask for help and so I want to thank Keith Lundholm for taking all my calls and helping out with phone support. He even made a house call to Atlanta a couple months after I picked up the car to help tweak a few things! You did a great job Keith! I also want to thank the Georgia Opelers for some great times over the past year! I especially want to thank Gene Smith and John Lewis for helping me out locally again with questions and ideas for changes. John also helped me swap out that inner tie-rod that went bad and ran a bunch of diagnostics on my car to tweak the tuning now that the engine is broken in. The car is running better and stronger than I ever even imagined possible! Thanks guys!

Anyway, it has been a very good year and so here's looking forward to the next year! :drive:

Matt
 

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Christmas 2008 Upgrades Part 1

I'm continuing to use this thread as a "blog" for upgrades made to my GT...

Christmas 2008 was very good to the GT; see the first photo for what Santa left under the tree. For starters, I purchased a new chrome brake reservoir cap and polished thermostat housing from Jim at USA Opel which added some "bling" under the hood. While I had the thermostat housing off, I tested the thermostat and it wasn't really opening completely even at 212 degrees so I dropped back to a new 160 degree thermostat. Auto Zone has the Duralast brand 160, 180, and 195 degree thermostats all in stock and these models have the "burp" valve built too. This lowered the operating temperature of the car from a range of 1/2 to 2/3 on the TEMP gauge to a much more desirable and consistent 1/3 (occasionally creeping up to the next mark but never reaching even 1/2 now). This is a pretty big drop in running temperature and I have a more steady reading. The old thermostat may have been in the early stages of failing. Sometimes making a cosmetic change has unexpected benefits :veryhappy. Part 2 of Christmas 2008 to follow...

Matt
 

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Christmas 2008 Upgrades Part 2

OK, now the part I'm really excited about. I finally managed to get my CAI installed which has been high on my priority list for some time. I basically copied a design that I first saw posted by George Rust (opelenvy) but made a couple changes too along the way:

  1. The vacuum hose running to the valve cover uses the 90 degree PVC tube installed in the base plate of the adapter housing
  2. The J-bend pipe extends into the nose of the car a little further and is parallel to the radiator
Thanks George for answering my PMs - you were a big help! :biggthump.

There has been some debate about whether or not you can improve on the stock GT air intake when used with a new K&N high flow filter. However, I think this design blends performance and good looks. What's more, the side benefit I hoped for, a lowering of the exhaust note to more of a "grumble", was achieved :cool:. I had to make a small cut in the opening to get the 3" Magnaflow J-bend pipe through but that wasn't too difficult. Actually, the hardest part was making two cuts to the Magnaflow pipe with a hack saw. My arms were pretty tired after that. Anyway, I think this turned out rather nice and I had fun doing it! :yup:

Matt
 

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Marking Two Year Anniversary...

Today marks two years since the Tennessee Dyno Days 2007 meet where I picked up my GT. I'm continuing to use this thread as my personal "blog"...

The past year has been even more fun than the first. I managed to put ~5,078 miles on the car over the last twelve months for an average of 423 miles per month. Average monthly miles declined a bit over the prior year because we got a new family car (Pontiac G8 GT) which temporarily replaced the Opel GT as the "fun" car for a few months.

The odometer completed its first "roll over" to all zeros on 12/06/08 (with Keith Lundholm in the car with me at the time appropriately enough) and now sits at 3,761 miles (103,761 total miles). The car has gone 11,666 miles since time of restoration. I am averaging about 22 MPG around town and have gotten as high as 32.02 MPG on the highway this past year.

The longest trip taken this past year was to the Madison, AL "EuroBrit" car show which was 673 miles round trip (the car averaged 27.24 MPG). This trip was really special because it was just my wife and I on the open road driving a classic car, staying at a bed and breakfast, and taking in some great scenery in Alabama. The car show itself was top notch and capped off a great "long weekend" vacation.

Speaking of car shows, I entered four shows over the last twelve months and took awards at two of them: "Classics In The Country" in Oconee, GA and the "EuroBrit Car Show" in Madison, AL. I scored a 99 / 100 at the show in Monroe, GA where I took an award the year before but was edged out for a trophy by some other really nice cars in the foreign and orphan classes.

I learned some new things about maintaining the car including replacing an inner tie rod, refreshing the speedo cable drive and seal (eliminated a leak), swapping out the electronic ignition, jetting the carb, changing the thermostat, installing a custom CAI, adjusting the transmission "ball stud" and clutch release lever, and installing a new clutch cable which snapped on me a month ago. As always I have this forum and several members in particular to thank for helping me learn more about this car: Gene Smith, John Lewis, Keith Lundholm, and Harold Collins come to mind (I really hope I don't forget somebody that may have answered a thread or a phone call over the past year). Thanks all!

As far as upgrades - the CAI install was the primary performance upgrade along with some tweaks to the carb and ignition system that John Lewis helped me with. This made quite a difference. I know all Dynos are different and even vary day to day, but I pulled 97.23 BHP in January, 2009 at a local Dyno shop in Cumming, GA. In the near future I hope to get time to install a Sprint manifold I got a great deal on from Steve Goines (thanks again Steve!).

It's been a great year and a great two years. I've now owned this car for 23+ years but have driven her more in the past two than the prior 21 and that is a great feeling!

Happy Opeling! :drive:

Matt
 

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Latest Upgrades...

Continuing to document my GT upgrades in this thread... If you have comments, please see the link to the comments thread in my signature.

The past two weeks were good for my GT as two upgrades were accomplished. First, I installed the OGTS Oil Temp / Volt gauge in place of my non-working clock. I did most of this install myself but needed help at the end from John (guyopel) to get the sending unit installed. I couldn't get the oil pump priming plug out. What I did here was take the +12v lead that was going to the clock and split it to power the the two new gauges. I was able to use the existing clock ground wire. A new wire had to be run to the Oil Temp sending unit. At the fuse block, I had to move what was the clock +12v from the "always on" location to a switched location. Unfortunately, I was out of available switched power sources. So, I combined the new gauge +12v with the cigar lighter onto one spade connector. The Oil Temp reads about 85 degrees Celsius (185 degrees Fahrenheit) at full operating temperature and I'm seeing 13 Volts at idle.

Second, with the extensive help of the GA Opelers, I replaced my exhaust manifold with the "Sprint" design and also replaced my intake manifold with one modified to accommodate the "Sprint" manifold as far as clearance is concerned. I haven't been able to drive the car enough to determine if any carb adjustments are needed. I will likely take the GT to a dyno shop in the next couple weeks too to see what I am getting at the wheels. I baselined the car at the "TN Dyno Days" when I picked the car up from Keith (opelspyder) and again earlier this year just after the CAI install. A new baseline with the "Sprint" manifold installed is on order I think.

So, back in 2007 I listed these upgrades as my "wish list":

  • NOS Gas Cap and Key
  • Front and Rear Sway Bars
  • Cold Air Intake
  • Just Dashes Dash
  • Lowering Springs
The Gas Cap was completed as a gift from Keith when the car was finished which was a great surprise! The Sway Bars Keith helped me with as a "house call" after I had had the GT back for a while. The CAI I did myself using a design I borrowed from George (opelenvy). The Dash can actually be crossed off as I recently purchased a beautiful dash from Lyndon (CIARA1970) that is nearly flawless IMHO. It won't need the Just Dashes treatment - definitely show quality. I'm not sure when I'll get it installed but I have it waiting in the wings. That leaves just the Lowering Springs as an open item. However, I actually have a new list now that I've been driving the car for a couple years:

  • Better Brakes
  • Five-Speed Transmission
  • Lowering Springs
  • 105amp Alternator
Picture attachments aren't working at present so I'll try to post some photos tomorrow...

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Gauge Upgrade Pictures...

I can't edit my last post now, adding some pix of the new gauge install. The first picture shows the essential tools for this install: Destec diagram, FSM, and a multi-meter. Note that I wasn't able to get the new gauge to be perfectly level compared to the other two gauges. I worked on it for a while and got it close but ran out of time and had to put the instrument panel back in so I could drive the car to the Opel meet. I'll need to go back and work on that some more in the future...

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Sprint Manifold Pictures...

Photos of this install are in another thread and I can't re-post those already posted. I've added a couple extras here though.

Now that I have had a chance to drive the car some, I have found that I need to check the electric choke operation, carburetor jetting, and possibly tweak the mixture / idle screws. I experienced some stalling / hesitation from a cold start. Once the car warmed up everything was great and the "seat of the pants" test still indicates some extra power out on the highway at speed. This Sprint manifold was treated with a heat shielding coating and that may be affecting the current "tune" as the under hood heat dynamics have changed.

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Suspension and Brake Upgrades Completed

So Keith has been swamped (which is good for business but not so good for restoration threads getting updated :p) so I'm going to finish up some posts here to keep my personal "blog" up to date. I won't be able to provide much of the "how to" info but here goes...

The new suspension and brake components are out of this world better than my old set-up. The Koni red shocks, sport springs, and custom panhard bar (and previously installed front and rear anti-sway bars) glues the car to the road. The lowered stance looks great to boot! The "Big Brake" upgrade in the front and rear give the car amazing stopping power. My goal was to even up the braking response between my other modern cars and the Opel and I think that has been accomplished. A tap on the brake pedal and the car just stops - no more disparity between one vehicle and the next. Attached are photos of the front brake set-up and shocks and the rear shocks and panhard bar.

Matt

P.S. Keith alerted me that I may need to turn that U-bracket on the exhaust and I can see in the first photo that sure enough it has made contact with the panhard bar at some point. That's an easy to do for me.
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Minor Modification Made...

I happened to notice that the left front caliper was very close to if not touching the wheel hub. So, for peace of mind, I decided to grind ever so slightly the left front caliper because the clearance with the hub there was too close for comfort. The right front caliper required no modification.

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
"New" Dash!

So last year I purchased a "new" crack-free dash from Lyndon (CIARA1970). Having the car at Keith's shop afforded me the opportunity to have it installed with the front windshield being removed in the process. I had hoped to source a better front windshield in time to be installed at the same time but that didn't work out. The plastic cover from OGTS was a nice temporary solution but having a crack-free original dash sure is nice!

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
New GM 105 Amp Alternator

I posted about this in the "alternator" thread but just to round out my posts today, this is the latest upgrade to my car the GM 105 Amp alternator. This alternator is internally regulated and is a two-wire connection. It was simple even for me to install (well, I did have some help as I already noted in the other thread :yup:). With this alternator, the battery charges up fast and you can every electrical device on at once with no problem. The windshield wipers never get "tired" either even with the headlamps on. I also added an Optima red top battery at the same time.

Matt
 

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