Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1985 Bitter SC - Make It Perfect Or Make It A Driver

I would love to own one of these someday.

Erich Bitter was 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's styling is very reminiscent of the Ferrari 400i. The engine is a 3.9 liter Opel I6. The car hits 60 MPH in just under 8 seconds.

This car sat "unloved" in a carport for the last decade and then donated to a local charity. It's in restorable condition. The seller says it "drives and stops well", but has a leaking fuel rail.

This is a no reserve auction. Do a little research, find out what it would cost to bring it up to the standard you'd like it to be (a Bitter daily driver would be really cool), and then bid what you think it's worth. Who knows, for less then a price of a used Toyondaai* you may wind up with a pleasant Bitter experience.

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

*I stole that from a reader, Amphicar770, who used it in a recent comment about a JaCG car. Thanks for the new word / brand / term!


Simon in Australia said...

Hey, Dave, tell me re that Bitter: are those seats actually from a Maserati or De Tomaso from the seventies? They just look eerily similar to me. Wonder if they did a deal amongst themselves at the time?

As for the dashboard, I recognise bits of it from the Aussie Holden Commodore VB/VC/VH Series (I drove one of the latter as a cab driver many years ago). Obviously, Holden at the time had access to GM's European parts bin vis-a-vis the Opel Rekord and Senators (the latter being called a Vauxhall Royale in the UK). I don't know that any of the switchgear or dashboard mouldings ever made it into anything GM offered Stateside or in Canada. You may wish to correct me in this regard.

Who would've thought such an elegant luxury car, bespoke as it is, might have shared its dashboard and switchgear with a boggo standard Aussie taxi-cab? But there you go: GM back then was actually quite a bit more progressive than it is today. Those Opel-based Holdens could rival just about anything back in their day in terms of ride and handling. This was quite a step forward for Holden at the time. As it was, I think the Opel Rekord, Commodore and Senator were just about the closest GM Europe ever came to rivalling the Benzes and BMW's of their day, certainly in terms of their styling, not to mention their road presence and engineering. What a pity Aussie drivers only ever got them with that nail of a Holden straight six (blame local content regulations for that one), unless they plumped for the gas-guzzling V8 and stumped up the extra cash.

Must say, that Bitter wouldn't be bad here - make quite an impact I should think. Kinda got me thinking. We can register a left-hand-drive car after it's 30 years old in the State of New South Wales (some other states 15 but you have to be careful if you want to move interstate - bit like the US in reverse I guess!). Trouble is: doing a diamond turn at the lights (or otherwise), not to mention overtaking, can be a bit hairy...

And another bit of trivia while we're at it: when the first (VB) Series Holden Commodore was being developed around about 1978/79, test mules were imported from Opel in (then West) Germany along with some of the Opel engineers to oversee development. The latter were horrified to see some of the roads Aussies drove on at the time - more like a third world country really - to say nothing of the very cavalier attitude towards same on behalf of the average Aussie battler (that's a hick's term for Joe Average Down Under). Well, it didn't take long for serious troubles to start brewing: on an ordinary test run Holden ran for all its cars along a dirt road in the State of Victoria, one of the Opel-based prototypes' chassis literally broke in two. It was back to the drawing board for the German engineers. They'd simply never seen anything like it.

Thanks again for a great blog!

Max Power said...

I actually used to have a Bitter dealer very close to where I live (it was on Jericho Tpke in Mineola NY). It was a Buick dealership which then started selling Bitters as well which makes sense since Buick used to be affiliated with Opel in the US.

I remember going to check them out as a teen in the early 80's and really loved them. Very cleanly styled cars for their time.

Just A Car Geek said...

Max - Jericho Turnpike was the Mecca of car lots back in the day! I grew up in Huntington. In Huntington Station, on the corner of Jericho Turnpike and New York Avenue, there was a dealer that sold Jaguar, Austin-Healey, Triumphs and MGs. On the other side there was a Lotus dealer and a few feet down the road there was a Renault dealership. There were a few other dealers of more common brands, too.

When I was a kid it was a summer Saturday tradition for my dad to take me to Carvel Ice Cream and then to the dealerships to look around. Those are some of my best childhood memories. (My dad was a GM exec. Looking back, I think he might have used me as the excuse to look at all the cars he liked but really couldn't own because of his job! Still it was a ton of fun.)


Max Power said...

Dave, forgot the tiny Fiat dealership on Jericho Tpke which was across the street from a giant Ford/Yugo dealership. Obviously the Yugos came later well after the Fiat dealership closed.

The BL dealer (Sovereign possibly?)that you are referencing must have had their 'holding' lot off of Route 106/107 (it is a VW dealer now) where my friend and I saw an amazing site back in 1983/1984. brand new Triumph TR7 and TR8's which were never sold after Triumph went kaput a few years earlier. What I would have done to have the money to buy one cheaply...

Just A Car Geek said...

Max - I haven't lived on Long Island for 28 years now, so my memory is cloudy, but I think the BL dealer was call Competition Motors (it was right on the corner of 25A and 110) and the Lotus dealer was called Sportique (that could have bee the Renault dealer, though). Coming up 110 (New York Ave.) from Huntington, you made a left on 25A and it was on the right, I think.

My parents moved to Fairfax, VA right after I graduated high school and I moved to Massachusetts a few years later. (I was the only member of my family stupid enough to move somewhere with a colder winter than NY!) I haven't been to Long Island in awhile.

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

I can invision that car restored and looking cherry.