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Bitter CD, the rocky path to reach a performance GT with a massive base

The Bitter CD demonstrates the difficulties of a massive brand when creating a performance GT; not by technique but by range.

With a history full of edges and work in various bands, the Bitter CD It represents the prudence of large American manufacturers when it comes to expanding in Europe. And, despite having given free rein to various subsidiaries in relation to the WRC or various touring car championships, the truth is that both Ford, General Motors and Chrysler landed in the Old Continent with the perspective of offering prudent and generalist ranges.

Proof of this is the same history of Opel, which General Motors took into its fold back in 1929 in order to produce everything from heavy-duty industrial vehicles to practical passenger cars once the market expanded. consumption to the middle classes already at the end of the fifties. In fact, certain liberalities granted to the German reference from the American management allowed the installation of powerful V8 blocks in models such as the Diplomat A Coupe.

A striking two-door sedan derived from the assembly of which was outsourced to Karmann, from whose workshops y entre 1964 1967 just under 350 units equipped with mechanics capable of delivering up to 230 HP and 427 Nm. In short, a whole "Rare avis" in the trajectory of Opel, which would not be launched into sportiness - in a more popular format - until the arrival of the seventies with the various evolutions of the Manta created in response to the Capri.

Bitter CD
Concept CD from 1969.

However, the truth is that at the end of the sixties the market was changing drastically; becoming increasingly diversified and, in addition, demanding “halo” models in order to create more attractive brand images for the customer. growing youth audience European. A perfect scenario to flirt with the appearance of a performance GT that, based on Opel, would be capable of competing with various Maserati or Lamborghini models.

A LOOSE VERSE

In every company, no matter how disciplined and sober it may be, there is always some loose verse with creative pretensions. A role played in the Opel of the sixties by Chuck JordanMore, who signed in 1969 a concept car called CD that, in addition to its futuristic bodywork Without A-pillars, it was equipped with a powerful V8 engine with more than 5 liters of displacement.

Of course, the plans for its mass production were, in principle at least, totally null. Far from it, the only purpose for which Opel created the CD was due to the experimentation with new designs and, of course, to the obvious “punch” advertising for which he was responsible during its presentation at the Geneva Motor Show.

In any case, the commotion aroused by that design exercise inflamed spirits in the German brand, which began to flirt with the possibility of having a GT based on the Chassis and mechanics of the Diplomat with which to give, from the most exclusive area of ​​the range, a renewed image for the next decade.

FROM FRUA TO GERMANY

During the golden years of Italian coachbuilders there was a relatively common practice: the production of materialized designs by them at their own expense and risk, always with the intention of thus seducing a manufacturer. in large series interested in using one of those bodies as part of a new sports model.

That said, Pietro Frua signed the Intermeccanica in 1969. A concept that found shelter in Germany under the protection of Erich Bitter, who in addition to being an Abarth distributor embarked on the task of assembling his own GT using Opel bases together with the aforementioned Frua bodywork. However, that was a complete financial disaster due to the costs of after-sales service, which suffered from Bitter's poor assembly quality.

Anyway, that caught the attention of Opel, which was put in charge of a similar project although redefined based on the following: the chassis and mechanics on its own, the design by Bitter - who would obviously be based entirely on the documents purchased from Frua - and the assembly on Baur's account. A prestigious body shop that, among other things, had made the convertible versions of BMW.

BITTER CD, FINALLY

After the aforementioned delegation of functions, Bitter CD was finally born in 1972. Of course, since General Motors did not see the idea of ​​an Opel like this clear. torpedoed the appearance of the model in the brand's range, therefore being launched under the Bitter label as a new GT with a low circulation and high exclusivity.

In relation to the engine, the 8 liter V5,4 of GM origin was mounted and, looking at other components, the De Dion axis along with a wide list of extras responsible for making the model a very customizable car. In any case, neither its high sales price nor the consequences of the imminent Oil Crisis made things easy for Bitter CD, which discontinued production in 1979 after selling 395 units.

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Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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