Was the Opel GT-W (1975) prototype based on the XP897 GT?

Stefan Heins of ALT-OPEL Interessengemeinschaft von 1972 e.V. noticed that the European Opel GT-W from 1975 looks a lot like the experimental show car XP-897 GT.

Stefan writes:

Dear Mario,

I am the editor of "Der Zuverlässige", the magazine of the Alt-Opel IG. Opel focuses this year on the Experimental GT 1965 again and thus we decided to do some research. There is one orphan that does not fit the picture: the GT-W 1975. A year ago I met the designers George Gallion, Erhard Schnell and Friedhelm Engler. We looked at that GT-W and noone could remember who had designed it. George agreed the shape was looking too old to be 1975.

Coming to XP-897 GT, this one looks similar to that mysterious GT-W. It is a mockup and has been in the works collection (Opel Classic) since 1975. No documents about any prototype having been tested on the road or at the Dudenhofen track ever. As I know some people who have been testing way back then I am almost sure there has never been an Opel GT-W fitted with an engine. My question: Do you think it is possible GM has shipped a mockup of the abandoned XP-897 GT to Opel, have it badged and shown around at the fairs?

Please find enclosed the latest edition of our mag and some pictures of the GT-W. No cooling vents, a slightly different shaped back and a different front bumper - that has been drawn for XP897 GT as well.

In Corvette history there is nothing known about the XP-897 GT being reused as this Opel design?




Correction on who designed and who built the Corvette Rondine

Stefan Heins from ALT-OPEL Interessengemeinschaft von 1972 e.V. had some additional information about the Corvette Rondine. It turns out that the car was not built by Pininfarina, but by Sergio Scaglietti. Stefan wrote me:

On to something different, the Corvette Rondine has been designed by Pininfarina but built by Sergio Scaglietti himself. First hand information, the late Sergio and me have been in close contact.

Correction of the info on the 1961 Vignale Coupe

An inside man corrected me on the 1961 Vignale Coupe:
"Concerning your text 'The body was designed by Gordon Kelly via the Brooks Stevens design firm': this is almost correct. While it is true that the body was designed by Gordon Kelly and he worked for Brooks Stevens at that time and for a few years more, it was entirely a personal moonlighting project, not associated with Brooks Stevens."

Thanks for the info!

Sinkhole disaster in National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green received a call at 5:44am from their security company alerting them of motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the Museum. Upon arrival it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum. No one was in or around the Museum at the time. The Bowling Green Fire Department arrived on the scene and secured the area. The Fire Department has estimated the size of the hole is 40 feet across and 25-30 feet deep.

The museum reported that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident. Those cars include:

1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors

The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:

1962 Black Corvette
1984 PPG Pace Car
1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

None of the cars affected were on loan from individuals.

As the cars came out one by one, the extensive damage became visible...



Additional info in the XP-898's monocoque body

From Paul Villforth I received valuable info on XP-898's unique body structure:

Hi Mario,

The XP-898 was not built on the chassis of any car. It used components from the Vega, but the chassis and the body were one complete unit; there was no separate steel or metal chassis. There were metal attachment plates that were enclosed in the body material (as a sandwich). The XP-898 body supported all the functions of the chassis that you might find under a Corvette or any body-on-frame vehicle. In a sense the XP-898 was a monocoque sandwich.

Paul Villforth

I updated the info on the XP-898. Thanks Paul!

News on the XP-87

Peter Brock was working for studio boss Bob Veryzer when the Stingray Racer (XP-87) was developed. He was so kind to provide me his memories about this period. I incorporated them in the article about this car.

Added the ZR-1 Spyder

Added the ZR-1 Spyder, a GM and ASC collaboration.

Renamed 4 seater XP-720 to XP-796

Mark Dobrowolski sent me this message:

"Was looking thru your Corvette prototypes section- you have 2 cars labeled as 'XP-720'. I have been compiling all GM XP code cars for a few years now, and in material provided to me by a friend who had access to GM archives, the 4-passenger '63-style Corvette prototype was XP-796. I cannot verify this to you..., but the idea that 2 very different Corvettes had the same XP number would be HIGHLY uncommon practice."

Of course he's right, two prototypes can't have the same XP number. Since I myself had two references to this car, but none with XP numbers, I renamed the 4-seater to XP-796.

Thanks Mark!

Added more pictures to Tom Falconer's XP-897 Rotary Corvette

Added more pictures to Tom Falconer's XP-897.

Added Tom Falconer's EX4607

Added Tom Falconer's EX4607 C4, a testing platform for the 1988 C4.