Tom discovers a dozen Opel GTs and asks, is the Baby Corvette actually the FATHER? | Barn Find Hunter - 123 - Hagerty Media

In the first 7 1/2 years of the Barn Find Hunter series, Tom Cotter discovered one Opel GT. In this episode, however, he finds more than a dozen—and learns a little about their history along the way.

Continuing his trip through Tennessee, Tom first meets Dave, who is retired from Nissan after 30 years as the manager of the Nissan Heritage Collection of about 60 cars. Dave now runs a vintage car parts business and also has a decent collection of classics, including a handful of Nissan Z cars. Although the Z cars—including a special edition Shiro Z—are front and center in Dave’s warehouse, he also has a mostly original 1966 Dodge Coronet 440, a ’67 Morris Minor 1000, a Jaguar E-Type with a V-12 and four-speed transmission, and an Austin Marina 1800.

“(It’s) one of about six in the country,” Dave says of the Marina. “I found this one in a warehouse in Ohio with no drivetrain and no fuel tank, but it was a rust-free car. (Now) it’s a very good driver.”

After thanking Dave for showing him around, Tom gets back into his 1939 Ford woody wagon and drives more than an hour to meet Harold, who Tom says “has an obsession with Opel.” He isn’t kidding.

“The official count stopped at 12,” he says of the Opels on his property. “It’s bad enough that I have that many. . . I really don’t want to know.”

Tom comments that the 1968–73 Opel GT looks a lot like a C3 Corvette, which explains why Europeans called the German-built GT the “Baby Corvette.” The question is, could the baby be the father? Harold says that when it comes to which came first, the C3 or the GT, it’s a “chicken or egg” thing. We know that the original Corvette was codenamed “Project Opel” (more than a decade before the Opel concept debuted at the 1965 Paris Auto Show), but perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that the C3 and the final iteration of the Opel GT share characteristics with the 1965 Mako Shark II concept. Since Opel was once GM’s main European brand, could their design teams have collaborated? We’ll leave that for others to debate. As for us, let’s get back to Tom in Tennessee …

Harold says he bought his first Opel GT in 1982. “I liked the styling … liked the handling. It’s good that I’m not into ‘go-fast’ (however) because they don’t. . . They’re slow.”

In addition to all of the GTs on Harold’s property, Tom spies an Opel 1900 sedan and a Kadett wagon. Glancing at a large pole barn, he asks Harold, “Why are so many outside?”

Harold offers some good advice to anyone who has ever regretted not buying something when they had the chance. “When you find a stash of Opel parts or something you need, you need to snatch it up then whether you have the room or not, because it may not come around again.”

That makes perfect sense to Tom, especially considering how scarce Opel GTs seem to be—or at least they seemed to be before he visited Harold in Tennessee.

Happy Hunting.

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