1986 Bitter SC 3.9
6-cyl. 3849cc/200hp FI
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With an experienced team and a lot of data.
With Opel's discontinuation of the Diplomat platform and the GM small-block V-8 in 1977, Erich Bitter started planning the eponymous SC, a new luxury coupe, which entered production in 1980. The car was equipped with a smooth-revving Opel 3.0-liter inline-6 motor that used a cam-in-head design and Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection to generate 177 hp. The overwhelming majority of cars carried automatic transmissions, though a Getrag 5-speed transmission was available as a no-cost option. More than half of production ended up being exported to the North American market. Design was angular and emblematic of the era.
SCs were well built, well appointed, and expensive, too—by the time production ended in 1986, the cars wore a $54,000 price tag. With the Opel engine, the cars were quick (though not sporting) for their day, and we're perfectly suited to comfortable long-distance drives. Unfortunately the first 100 cars or so we're constructed from recycled Italian steel and quickly fell victim to rust. The remaining production run fared better but the use of acidic window adhesive resulted in continued rust issues in window frame areas.
The biggest change in the car's run was the 1985 introduction of a Mantzel-stroked 3.9-liter engine. The bump in displacement boosted horsepower to 207, and torque to a motivational 240 ft-lb.
Production dates are a matter of debate, but in all 460 SC coupes were built between 1982 and 1985, with another 21 convertibles and 5 sedans. Survivorship has been relatively low with an estimated half of manufactured cars existing today, making Bitters in excellent condition exceptionally difficult to locate. By design common consumable parts were used to ensure good serviceability. The two enthusiastic Bitter clubs are the best place to start a quest for ownership.
As mentioned, rust has been the SC's biggest issue over the years and spare body panels are nonexistent. Documentation of rust repairs is a big plus when finding a proper car. Interior woodwork and the leather dashboards are other common areas of concern.
SC sedans are cherished and have yet to be seen on the market, which makes their value difficult to assess. Convertibles are also quite rare and tend to trade at twice the price of a coupe. Cars equipped with a 5-speed are much better drivers and command a premium, while the original Ronal wheels are a must for purists since no extras exist. A sunroof is also a desirable option for shorter drivers. Regardless of spec or body style, as any Bitter owner will tell you, the limited number of cars guarantees an exclusive and unique ownership experience.