Thursday, September 9, 2010

1985 Bitter SC 3.9

Don't get me wrong, I still love Lime Rock's Vintage Fall Festival (or Historic Festival as they call it now) and I will attend it each and every year until I am no longer capable of doing so, but it's becoming more and more of an upscale event. Years ago you would see Sunbeam Alpines, MGBs, Triumph Spitfires, Fiat Spiders, and tons of odd, weird, cars mixed in with collector's cars in the show. They're all but gone now and the show is almost exclusively collector's cars.

I love seeing the exotic cars, but I wish Lime Rock still included the less exotic stuff; the "car geek" cars. Still, there is a place at Lime Rock you can see some of those cars. It is the parking lot and I make sure I check it when I arrive and before I leave. People drive some amazing cars to this event. (Maybe some day we'll have "Car Geek Fest" or "CarGeekapalooza" somewhere... Acres of cars that most of the world, except for the car geeky few, care very little about... "Hey you, with the Ferrari Daytona... Too common, park it in the parking lot"... "Whoa! Is that a Fiat Strada? Park it on the track front and center, between the Rover 3500 and the Renault Le Car." But, I digress...)

It was in the parking lot, just after we arrived, that I saw one of these; a Bitter SC.

Erich Bitter was a professional cyclist (he competed in the Tour de France) before he turned to auto racing. He had a fairly successful 11 year career. After retiring from racing in 1969, he became the official German importer of Abarth and Intermeccanica.

It was his experience with Intermeccanica that convinced Bitter to build his own car. His goal was to build an exotic car, but base it on parts from a common, proven, reliable car. He wanted a car that "offered supercar aesthetics and interior opulence combined with everyday reliability". He chose GM's Opel brand to base his cars on.

The SC is based on the Opel Senator. Introduced in 1979, it lasted until 1989, but less than 500 were built (461 Coupes, 22 Convertibles and 5 Sedans.) Bitter succeeded in giving the car an exotic look, although it's very reminiscent of the Ferrari 400i. The 3.9 liter 6 manages to get the car to 60 MPH in under 8 seconds. At one point Bitter had a deal to sell the SC in the US through Isuzu dealers.

This Bitter is in very nice shape. Bitters are prone to rust (especially around the windshield), but this Bitter has little, if any rust. The interior, which can be fragile, is also in good condition. The seller says that engine runs strong and the transmission shifts smoothly.

The best part about the Bitter is the mechanical components. Opel parts are very durable. They're also easy to find (in Europe) and inexpensive.

Bitter's don't sell for a lot of money. Really nice ones usually sell for less than $15,000.00. There are few cars that offer both exclusivity and German engineering for that kind of money.

Located in Torrance, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.


m4ff3w said...

I think they look really nice.

Those tail lamps sure do look alot like Fiat X1/9 parts.

Max Power said...

I still remember I had a local Bitter dealer here in Mineola NY. It was mainly a Buick dealer and I guess they sold Bitters as well due to the Opel mechanicals (for all the youngsters, when Opels were sold here in the US, they were sold through Buick dealers). I always wondered if there was anyone who went into that dealership looking to buy a Park Avenue or Electra and walking away with a Bitter SC...

Richard said...

Always had a soft spot for the SC however the CD is imho the best looking car he produced. The new stuff he is churning out is a bit less radical than the SC or CD, pity.

Jon said...

The Car Geek wrote "I love seeing the exotic cars, but I wish Lime Rock still included the less exotic stuff..."

Answer: The Concours d'LeMons.

This is just a small sample of some of the classes covered!

The rest are found on the website

Rust Belt American Junk, pre '64

Rust Belt American Junk, '64-current

Unmitigated Gaul, pre-'70 For: Citroen Ami, Renault Caravelle, etc.
Award: The French Legion of Horror

Unmitigated Gaul, 1970-current For: LeCar, Citroen SM, Peugeot 604, etc.
Award: The French Legion of Horror

Rueful Britannia, pre '66
Award: The Royal Order of MOT Failure

Rueful Britannia, 1966-current
Award: The Royal Order of MOT Failure

Needlessly Complex Italian, pre '74
Award: Conoscete un Buon Meccanico? Plaque

Needlessly Complex Italian, 1974-current
Award: Conoscete un Buon Meccanico? Plaque

Der Self-SatisfiedKrauttenWagen, pre '70

Der Self-SatisfiedKrauttenWagen, 1970-current

Soul-Sucking Japanese Appliance, pre '70

Soul-Sucking Japanese Appliance, 1970-current

Swedish Meatballs, pre '74

Swedish Meatballs, 1974-current

Warsaw Pact, 1945-1990 For: Trabant, Wartburg, ZIL, Lada, etc.
Award: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Medal for Most Glorious Achievement in Transportative Advancement for Use Upon Billiard-Smooth Highways as Are Uniformly to Be Found Inside Workers' Paradise

Etc. etc...

Just A Car Geek said...

Richard - I agree with you on the CD. I wonder if there are any in the US?

Jon - Yep. That's an event I want to attend some day. I just liked the Lime Rock event better when you could see a nice XJ6 parked next to an E-Type, which was parked next to an MGB, which was parked next to an Allard, etc. etc. Now it's just the E-Types and Allards...

Maxichamp said...

The Bitter SC rocks!

I agree with you on the parking lot comment. Every time I go to a major car event, I always make a round of the parking lot. Some of the cars driven by the fans are more interesting than the cars at the show.

Jon said...

I looked up a couple of last years events on YouTube. I have to say I was just a bit dissapointed.
The "joke cars" or "art cars" seemed to outnumber the interesting oddballs. I think it would be interesting to see something like the Mitsu Debonair parked next to an DKW or NSU whatevermobile.

If I remember correctly, the annual Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show features "forgotten makes" such as Crosley, Hudson, Frazer. It has been an active anuular event for over a decade. So maybe the Lemons will develop as the event matures.
It would be funny as hell if they could do a mock serious Pebble Beach.

Anonymous said...

CarGeek, you are 100% right-on about the car events going too upscale. I went to the Lime Rock event this year and it was stuffed with many high-end and ultra-high-end cars. Half of the best show is really in the parking lot. Which also means that if you have an older, interesting car, you should bring that when you go to events like this. You will be sharing the cool stuff with people that can truly appreciate it. (I brought my 20-year-old car, but left the 40-year-old one home.)

Richard said...

I don't know of any CD's in the US. has a registry however you need to ask the webmaster for a username and password, very odd.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are 3 Bitter CD in the US (out of 380 produced). There were approximately 240 SCs imported to North America out of 460 produced. Many of the early cars rusted, but there are some still available. They are wonder cars to own and drive.