Rüsselsheim/Frankfurt. Opel is celebrating five world premieres at this year’s IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. The new Astra with high efficiency engines, the Grandland X Hybrid4 with all-wheel drive (WLTP fuel consumption, weighted, combined: 1.4-1.3 l/100 km, 32-39 g/km CO2; NEDC: 1.5 l/100 km, 35-34 g/km CO2) and the new sixth-generation Corsa in three versions. The best-selling small car (more than 13.6 million units) is going electric and with the Corsa-e Rally – also making its debut at the IAA – even forms the basis of an emissions-free competition car. At the IAA the new Corsa will be joined by a special guest – a rare 1987 Corsa GT in yellow, a testament to 37 years of fun and success. The not-so-old-timer was driven from its last home in Portugal to the Opel Classic Workshop in Rüsselsheim. From there it continued to the IAA in Frankfurt, where it contributes tradition and further excitement to the launch of the new Corsa.
Opel the reliable: 2,700km from Porto to Rüsselsheim via Zaragoza
It took a while for Opel Classic to find a scarce first-generation Corsa GT. This particular example, originally registered in Spain, was languishing, forgotten, in a garage in Portugal. The drive to Frankfurt for the small, unassuming Gran Turismo starts from a carpark at the harbour of Porto.
Opel offered the GT from April 1985 until autumn 1987. It was the successor of the Corsa SR, with a 70hp 1.3-litre carburettor engine. The extra power and the subtle spoilers made the GT the sportsman of the first Corsa generation – until the more extrovert GSi arrived in 1988. A five-speed manual gearbox tamed the thirst and the rpm on longer trips.
Even today, keeping up with the traffic in the Corsa GT is surprisingly quiet and effortless. There is no unnecessary firmness in the chassis, no slack in the steering and no superfluous information in the instrument panel: apart from the usual dials, only a rev counter and an oil pressure gauge. The fuel consumption matches the official figures of the time – more than six litres per 100km is hardly ever burned. The 750kg kerb weight is a big help here, and also allows a power-to-weight ratio of 10.71kg per horsepower.
On the way from Portugal to Rüsselsheim, the GT drops in at Zaragoza, where it was built in 1987. The car is even allowed to visit the production plant. As the yellow Corsa stops at the assembly line, lots of employees come over as if to greet a long lost friend.
The journey east goes past Barcelona, across France and from Basel along the Rhine. A total of 2,700km for a 32-year-old Corsa that was ripped out of peaceful retirement in Portugal – without any repairs for the long road trip. As the GT pulls up in Rüsselsheim, the Opel Classic team is waiting eagerly.
Project “IAA 2019”: from plucky pensioner to show star
The warm sunshine in Spain and Portugal has been good for the Corsa GT. A life without salty roads means no rust, no rot. The yellow oldie is still in good condition. The TÜV agrees and after the check-up for German registration the inspectors put their precious sticker on the licence plate. But now comes the much higher hurdle: the experts from Opel Classic give the new arrival a thorough examination. Several pairs of beady eyes discover numerous more or less serious imperfections – dents in the roof, non-original badging, scratched glass, worn out seat cushions. Even the horn sounds wrong! In the end the car is taken apart completely.
The Classic team get together with their colleagues from the Service Workshop. “Project IAA 2019” is formed, under the leadership of Thorsten Götz and Dieter Eder. Piece by piece they rebuild the Corsa puzzle. First the reconditioned engine, followed by the suspension, shock absorbers and springs. The freshly painted body gets new trim and the correct GT badges. Then come the original light-alloy wheels. Finally the windows are installed, thanks to a friendly Opel dealer who has them in stock, of course. The Corsa GT is now ready for its second life at the 68th IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. Visitors can admire the freshly restored Corsa GT on the Opel stand D31 in hall 11.0 until September 22.
Opel is one of the largest European car manufacturers and was founded by Adam Opel in Rüsselsheim, Germany, in 1862. The company started building automobiles in 1899. Opel has been part of the Groupe PSA since August 2017. Together with its British sister brand Vauxhall, the company is represented in more than 60 countries around the globe selling over one million vehicles in 2018. Opel is currently implementing its electrification strategy to secure sustainable success and ensure that the future mobility demands of customers are met. By 2024, all European passenger car models will offer an electric variant. This strategy is part of the company plan PACE! with which Opel aims to become sustainably profitable, global and electric.
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 Fuel consumption and CO2-emission data given are preliminary and have been determined according to WLTP test procedure methodology (R (EC) No. 715/2007, R (EU) No. 2017/1151). EG type approval and Certificate of Conformity are not yet available. The preliminary values might differ from official final type approval data.
 Fuel consumption and CO2-emission data given are preliminary and have been determined according to WLTP test procedure methodology, and the relevant values are translated back into NEDC to allow the comparability with other vehicles, according to regulations R (EC) No. 715/2007, R (EU) No. 2017/1153 and R (EU) No. 2017/1151. EG type approval and Certificate of Conformity are not yet available. The preliminary values might differ from official final type approval data.