Opel Experimental GT (1965)
1965 Experimental GT: When we look at this icon of automotive design, it immediately becomes clear that this vehicle already embodied today’s design credo “Sculptural Artistry meets German Precision” to contemporary perfection. In 1965, the heart of every Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) visitor beat faster at the sight of the Experimental GT’s breathtaking lines, while journalists and industry experts were impressed with the unique, front mid-engined concept and the sporty two-seater’s novel, pop-up headlamps.
Originally developed as a high-performance laboratory on wheels for the testing of chassis and engine components, the Experimental GT was never planned for production. But after the frenzy the car created with the press and public, the concept became reality just three years later. Opel had set a precedent: the 1968 Opel GT it was first European concept car to go into series production. It was a role model for the industry: the trend-setting concept of an affordable, sporty dream car.
Opel was the first car manufacturer to demonstrate its innovative power with a concept car that had been entirely created in its own design facilities. “Besides having a fantastic look, the Opel sports car was primarily designed to impress with sophisticated aerodynamics,” explains Erhard Schnell, GT designer at the time. Even the headlights were shrouded to reduce air resistance.
The Experimental GT followed a new design style often called the “Coke Bottle Shape”, which could also be seen reflected in the design of the Corvettes of the time. A sleek front end with retractable headlamps, tapered flanks in the door area, and bulging rear fenders which flowed into the rear with sharp separating edges and round brake lights – these were the Experimental GT’s key design characteristics.
The cockpit of the Experimental GT was unusually roomy and functional, with full instrumentation set in an impressive-looking dashboard with toggle switches, competition steering wheel and short shift lever. There was a parcel shelf behind the seats that could only be accessed through the main doors. Behind the parcel shelf was a fold-up panel that concealed a spare tire and jack.