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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A lot has happened since I first posted pictures of the Opel GT I recently stumbled upon & bought to REPLACE the Opel Kadett body I have been planning to use for my gasser project.

When the tarp was removed from the Opel GT which was covering it for about four years I was surprised to see a 100% drag car. Needless to say right then I knew the former CE/A Opel GT body was coming home with me.

Over the past few months I have been searching the Internet & talking to friends who attend most of the "nostalgia drag racing events" on the east coast to ask around about our Opel GT.

The person I bought it from said he found the Opel on Craig's List listed in Rochester, NY. That is all he knew. So that is where I started from.

Then last week I received an e-mail from a drag race photographer who said he found a post on Facebook where our Opel GT was being discussed. I logged on to my Facebook page a sent a friend requests..... One to the previous owner of the GT (whose name is still on the door windows John Markle).

Since then I have had a LONG telephone conversation with John who was last owner to race the Opel GT. Slowly but surely I have been finding out the "drag racing history" of this car. The car was raced prior to John owning it. He was the person who transformed Opel into the "Hot 'n Nasty" CE/A .

This thread is the start of letting everyone know what I have found out so far. Hope to find out much more. Especially about the original owner who built built & raced the car in upstate New York.

These pictures are the Opel when it was first built to how it looks today.....





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Vall..... This whole experience of building a street/strip GASSER styled hot rod has been surreal. One thing after another has made me turn back & forth in so many different directions. Fortunately each one of them for the BETTER.!!!!!

Where I am NOW feels like a good fit for me..... Finally!!!!!! Ironic it turned out to be an Opel.

After being discharged from the Army after a tour in Germany I owned an Opel Rally Kadett for a few years. I NEVER thought I would one day own another Opel let alone TWO of them. My Rally Kadett was a daily driver which was fun to drive which got me to & from work & to night school for almost three years before trading it in for a '67 Camaro.

When our local drag strip (Pittsburgh International Dragway) closed in 1976 and the muscle car era ending prior to that my interest in drag racing ended. I still had an interest in hot rod style cars .... Fueled by the movies "American Graffiti & Two Lane Blacktop" I restored a '40 Chevy couple which was originally build in the late '50's.


After that I started buying new cars. Even though they were not true muscle cars as we had known them in them in the late '60's & early '70's they were still pretty cool cars..... a '76 Malibu Laguna S3 & an '84 TA Firebird.

Like so many other people like me ... family life & other interests took me away from my active obsession with cars. I still had "hot rods" in my blood. I always knew I would be doing "something with hot rods" again someday.

Even before the current popularity of "gasser styled" cars I dreamt of having a street/strip gasser styled car much like my '40 Chevy from years ago. I wanted to build a "tribute gasser-styled" hot rod similar to the ones that I liked during the early days of drag racing. Not a "street rod"..... but an old school street/strip "HOT ROD".

So here I am today.... Not with a "tribute" gasser styled hot rod BUT a former gas/altered drag car with a LONG history of serious drag racing dating back to the '70's - early '80's.

Being able to talk with one of the previous owners and finding out about this car is very exciting. Hopefully as my search for info about this car continues I will one day be able to find the "original owner/builder" of this Opel GT before it became the "Hot & Nasty" CE/A drag car.

So far I have found out the car was raced primarily in upstate NY drag strips. Most of those drag strips have closed years ago.... but the people are still out there somewhere & so are the answers to my questions.

 

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Very cool John,
love the history. was the car a small block car?
mario
 

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The great part about the Opel GT body is it's look, and the fact it's a door slammer! I really think a lift up body would make a terrible street car, so if it was a lift up, it might end up strictly a strip car. I'd be setting that body over the frame for a test fit, just to see where the cage needs to be reworked to clear the roof, and allow access on the driver's side entry. Might save a lot of cleaning and grinding work on tubes that may be coming out anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With everything that happened with the Kadett since I got it in a trade for my G-Body El Camino I really feel like I am going in a more "positive" direction..... FINALLY.

The GT was a destroked SBC engine.... Can't remember the exact Cubic inches. I will ask John when I talk to him this weekend. He told me it was a "screamer". Also found out it was a 4 Speed.... OH MY!!!!! The car ran mid-9's.

It has a race weight fiberglass front end..... Was NOT set up as a "tilt"..... The hood opens which is held in place with DZUS fasteners. The entire front end was setup so it could be completely removed.

Vall I did some measuring..... Looks like the height & width of the roll cage will be OK.... I will definitely have to shorten the rear frame rails and the bars from the roll cage were it attaches. Of course the rear section of the tube chassis is already cleaned up & ready for paint.

I am going to get my brother over here so we can flip the tube chassis over & do a test fit.

Going to a multi-year class reunion tonight so I am going to ask him to give me a hand.
 

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Can't wait to see the body sitting over the tube chassis! That will really tell the story of what needs to be trimmed and where!
 

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Great info and investigating John. That Opel is going to be one fine machine. I give you big props for taking it on.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Can't wait to see the body sitting over the tube chassis! That will really tell the story of what needs to be trimmed and where!
You are right Vall. All the measuring possible cannot not give the answers I need to know about fitting the body of the car OVER the tube chassis. I know the for sure the overall length of the rear frame rails & tubes from the roll cage will have to be made shorter. Can not be sure how much until the body "trail fit".

As anxious as I am to find out more about the history of the car, it's original/builder, build date, etc the "trial fit" is also something I hope to do very soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great info and investigating John. That Opel is going to be one fine machine. I give you big props for taking it on.

Mark
Thanks Mark. It will be a lot of work but I not only feel good about having the much more desirable GT body to use I feel good about saving an old race car from being send to the recycling yard!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What is so weird is even though it might seems like a BIG step backwards I am actually at the "exact" same place I was at with the Opel Kadett body when I found the Opel GT.

The GT body is exactly in the same state as the Kadett..... Both cut free of all of the floor & signs of the unibody.

Actually the GT is in much better shape especially the rocker panels..... NO RUST at all ...... Like new condition. So no repair/patch work needed.

Of course the body is twisted in the front. Doors close but are not how they should be (door gaps). By pushing on the opening where the firewall used to be I can see the door jam area moves.... So I will have to make as spreader to restore it to the proper alignment.

The only really bad area is in the rear..... Got another complete rear panel (where tail lights are) from Dallas, Texas (nothing like (Southern parts are great) also got a driver's door B-Pillar and the roof section above it. Area was previously repaired but other than "brazing" the parts in the metal work is terrible..... Extremely LOW ..... There was at least a 1/2" of body putty covering it.

Also got the bottom part of the windshield frame..... Which was cut way for engine clearance.

I am OFF to the Pittsburgh International Dragway Reunion today...... Weather is GREAT and the event gets bigger every year.

NOSTALGIA DRAG RACING is growing & growing !!!!!!
 

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Just be sure if you have to trim tubes to make a trial fit, to trim them where they originate or attach to another tube. That way whatever is trimmed off can be shortened, and reused later and not have a splice in a tube. Whack off anything you're sure will be in the way, then once the body is over the car it can be supported by temporary supports clamped to the tube chassis to set the height. Then measure the distances from tube chassis to various body points, and the rest can be fabbed up to fill the body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Vall..... This is NEW TERRITORY for me. I have measured as much as I can possibly measure. So far none of the points I have measured & compared to the measurements of body of the Opel GT have me concerned. So far every one of the tube chassis measurements are slightly smaller than the body. Which is good thing.

Planning to get the tube chassis "right side up" soon so I can get some more exact measurements of its total length. I KNOW it will have to be cut and made shorter. After all the tube chassis was originally made & used "under" a Vega Station Wagon.

Hopefully that is ALL I have to do.......????????
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
My brother came over on Friday & we flipped over the tube chassis & then put the Opel's front end on for a "trail fit".

The fit is good & also gives me a reference point to measure from. The width of the frame & cage is good. Height of the cage in the front is also OK..... BUT the rear of the cage will have to be lowered some. Of course the rear frame & cage rails will have to be shortened (11 inches) Considering the tube chassis was used under a Vega Station Wagon the modifications needed are not too extensive.

As many of you will remember I was Originally going to use an Opel Kadett Staton Wagon body but when I stumbled upon the Opel GT body I "quickly" changed my plans.

I am encouraged by the front end trial fit & measurements I am now able to take. Either way it is a LOT of work. Work I am looking forward to doing !!!!! :0)
 

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Nice john. Hope it works out for you. If some of it don't then a sawzall is your friend. :)
Mario
 

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Very nice John! Neat to see it outside, and see the front clip sitting on it. Back frame rails, and support tubes look to be very minimal mods. Can't wait to see the mods and the body sitting over the chassis!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
As I mentioned on the "Good Morning" thread I was sent a couple more pictures of the Opel GT from back in the 70's .... before it was turned into "Hot 'n Nasty III" by a previous owner who, I have been in contact with on the phone & on Facebook. Still hoping for more info about the car. Especially when it had a solid red paint job.i

I plan to post pictures of the Opel here, there & everywhere ... Pictures of the early days - Hot 'n Nasty days & current pictures of my project.

Hopefully more people will remember & one day I will meet more owners, people who remember the car & also find more pictures... Who knows maybe a video.

All things considered .... I have already found out more about our Opel GT than other hot rodders/drag racers who are doing "searches" for a certain car or information/history.

The Early Days - Owner UNKNOWN:


The Early Days: - Owner: John Markle


Current:
 
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