A Photo For Sunday – 2005 Opel Speedster

What´s one of these worth now? When did you ever see one?

2005 Opel Speedster sighted in the early evening a day before press. Denmark.
2005 Opel Speedster sighted in the early evening a day before press. Denmark.

Hailed as being the better than the Lotus Elise they based it on, Opel´s Speedster is a rare sight despite the plaudits. This particular version had a pleasantly used patina about it. The paint on the gear stick was worn down to the metal and the interior had enough scuffs to suggest enthusiastic but sympathetic use. Opel´s Steven Crijns did a super job of the interior which has a Spartan feel but looks robust. This is very much not the sort of car I tend to like yet this one really captured my imagination. I can forgive the false air intakes ahead of the rear wheels as the overall styling is so damn good. Of all Opel´s Martin Smith cars this might be the most fully resolved – of course it had a good package upon which the shapes could be draped. It even nods to the GT of ´68-´73 without being in the least bit retro.

2005 Opel Speedster interior, centre console. That´s patina.
2005 Opel Speedster interior, centre console.
That´s patina.

Opel gave the car GM 2.2 litre, 2.0 turbo engines and even offered a 1.3 litre unit for what they called the Eco Speedster. Given the fact the engine was lighter and the car only weighed eight hundred and something kilos, this version might indeed be a lot of fun, more fun than the heavier units which might mess with the chassis balance more.

I have never seen a review of the Eco model and the normal ones have sunk without trace in the intervening ten years. Nobody mentions this car, despite a reasonable five year run. At mobile.de  there are 36 on sale at the time of writing. Apart from one or two lingering under €10,000, most are hovering in the €15,000 territory. That´s not bad for a car ten years out of production. Clearly despite the lack of sightings and the reluctance of automotive hacks to discuss it, those who know this car love it. Now I do too.

(Oddly, this one wore a Vauxhall badge.)

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “A Photo For Sunday – 2005 Opel Speedster”

  1. It was odd that having dumped Lotus, GM saw fit to get them to develop what would always be a niche vehicle. Did it cast a sporty glow on the rest of Opel’s range? Possibly, but reverting to our advertising theme of a few months back, the Vauxhall version’s sales were probably hindered by a dire but unforgettable TV advertisement featuring comedian Griff Rhys-Jones driving one in his underpants, proving that irony and sports cars just don’t mix. A slightly more practical and faster Elise – what wasn’t there to like about it?

  2. A bit of research revealed GRJ was paid 600,000 GBP per year for two years to do these ads. The three year contract was stopped after two years as a result of… falling sales. Like the Jackal whose fee had to compensate for the fact he’d never work again, GRJ must have feared this would be his final big gig. Alas, he *still* found work on television. Who thinks he’s funny? His acting skills are minimal.

    1. I can’t blame him. If someone offers you the money …. But the ownership of a sportscar does require you to buy into the dream a little and this made it impossible ….

  3. I used to see a fair few of these in London. I guess they are now all stored and only used on weekends by their owners.

  4. That’s a special kind of bad. The boffin concept is hateful and then there’s the crap script of this ad in particular. The senior management should have been imprisoned for neglect of duty.

    1. Only a certain type of person finds ‘Y Fronts’ intrinsically funny. And they are not necessarily sports car buyers. Maybe it highlights why GM were not the right custodians for Lotus. Apart from the Corvette, they have always been very fickle and rather self-conscious with their sportscar dabblings.

  5. I had the misfortune of watching a programme on Channel 5 last night, in which used car warranty salesman Quentin Wilson claimed that before long, prices of the original NSX will top £45k. I can well believe that given the overheated nature of the classic car market in the UK and having seen a very desirable pristine NSX Type R in our local Honda dealership recently. (I don’t know why the NSX was there, by the way, as it wasn’t for sale. I can only assume it was to remind CRV buyers that Honda didn’t always turn out such eye troublers.)

    Anyway, the reason I mention this is that I think VX220 prices are set to rise, at least for the best examples. Rather like the mark 1 MX5, ones with reasonable wear should at least hold station at reasonable levels. Limited supply and the mechanical robustness granted by GM engines over their Lotus / Rover twins should see to that.

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