When a convoy of over two dozen Opel GTs makes its way through the famous panorama of Monument Valley, you can assume that it’s there for a special occasion. “We took a tour of the southwestern states this spring to celebrate the GT’s 50th birthday,” confirms Olaf Moldzen, Chairman of the organization of European Opel GT clubs. He made the trip from his home in northern Germany for this anniversary ride.
The eight-day tour began in Las Vegas, Nevada. From the capital of gambling, the approximately 2,000-kilometer (1,250-mile) route led over the Hoover Dam, down the famed Route 66, through the Grand Canyon, and up to Four Corners – the only place in the U.S. where four states meet (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah). From there, the route led to the Zion and Mesa Verde National Parks before ending back in Las Vegas.
“The route was a perfect mix of desert, mountain, and endless horizons.”
Gil Wesson organized the tour. He founded the GT Source company in California over 30 years ago, and his business continues to serve as the first point of contact in the U.S. when it comes to spare parts for the GT. “Gil incorporated a range of stunning landscapes. It was a perfect mix of desert, mountain, and endless horizons,” says Moldzen, who wasn’t the only participant to fly in for the occasion. Alongside additional Germans and Americans, GT owners from Canada, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, and the Philippines took part in the eight-day trip. “We also had a Manta, Kadett, and Bitter SC travelling with us – since, after all, they’re part of the family.”
This family trip through the American Southwest also served as a meeting for a species that’s slowly going extinct. Moldzen doesn’t have the exact figures for the U.S., but he knows that in Germany, there are still around 2,000 vehicles. “There are around 1,600 GTs registered throughout Germany. On top of that, there are about 400 imported models, but most of those don’t have a model code, so they didn’t get included in the statistics.”
Impressions of the roadtrip in the southwest of the USA
In the U.S., where precisely 70,222 of the 103,463 GT models met their first owners, the sports coupé has also become a rarity. “That’s due in part to the size of the country, but time has also taken its toll on the GT here, too,” says Moldzen, who has owned more than 50 GTs over the past 30 years.
Reactions were correspondingly positive when the GT fleet rolled over highways and boulevards on its tour. “Lots of drivers and pedestrians gave us a thumbs-up or smiled and waved,” says Moldzen. “That also usually happens in Germany – the GT evokes an emotional response, since everyone can identify with it.”
“I don’t have exact figures for the U.S., but in Germany there are still around 2,000 Opel GT.”
The style icon will be evoking these emotions again from 18 to 22 September, when the organization of European Opel GT clubs will host a grand tour in Germany. “Unlike the tour in the States, this one will go to places that are closely tied to Opel or GT history,” says Moldzen, who helped organize the five-day event.
Stations along this star-studded event include the Opel Test Center in Rodgau-Dudenhofen, the Hockenheimring, the Opel plant in Kaiserslautern, and the sinuous Taunous mountain range, where the ads for the Opel GT were once shot. Will the photos from this tour be as gorgeous as the ones taken along the legendary Route 66? We’re excited to see …