The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
9/17/19 10:53 a.m.

Story by Johan Dillen • Photography by Dirk De Jager

Unless you’re driving a Porsche, beating a Porsche is the common yardstick in motor racing. In 1971, that’s exactly what the Opel GT did on its first Targa Florio outing thanks to Autotecnica Conrero, a name long associated with Alfa Romeo at the time.

“I have to say, originally Conrero was not convinced there was a race car hidden underneath the GT,” remembers Romano Artioli, now of Bugatti EB 110 fame and at the time a leading Opel dealer in Italy. “Opel was a typical family brand.”

That had to change. “We needed to improve that image in order to consolidate the brand,” Artioli continues. “Helmut Mander winning the hillclimbs at Mendola and Bondone and the European championship in the 1.9-liter Kadett was already a big step forward.

“But with the GT coming, we really needed to establish it in racing as well. I was convinced it would stand a chance against Porsche in its category under the new Group 4 rules. This would have been the boost we needed for the brand. Trouble was, Conrero wasn’t convinced.”

Read the rest of the story

flat6pilot
flat6pilot
9/17/19 11:34 p.m.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
9/18/19 10:09 a.m.

The Opel GT has always looked better than it ran.  I used to race against one in the 1970s. Inferior handling kept it from being a threat.  The styling is pretty easy on the eyes, though.

Footnote - the modern Opel GT (Kappa GM platform sold in Europe) is an exclusively convertible model.  When did the buying public get so stupid that the manufacturers could apply whatever inapt name they wanted. Apparently the lure of using the familiarity of 'Opel GT' trumped the fact that GT cars are coupes.

I guess the new Porsche 'Turbo' name applied to their electric car (nothing to turbocharge there) is a continuation of this.  Guess it is all about money, not logic and consistency. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/13/20 10:00 p.m.

Great story. Thanks. I didn't know that they were ever anything more than a poseur.

Mike Meier
Mike Meier
5/20/20 11:35 a.m.

They ARE fun cars!

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