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Could Vauxhall actually build the GT sports coupe?
Designer Mark Adams chats production plans and iPhone inspiration with TG
The Opel GT is a petit, gorgeous coupe – but it’s not a road-going thing right now. The two-seat concept car was designed by a Brit, Mark Adams, who’s previously scribbled Vauxhall’s best-selling Insignia and sexy Monza concept, plus the Cadillac CTS. We really, really want Vauxhall and Opel to build this dinky Mazda MX-5-fighter, so here’s what Mark had to say about a real-world GT when we cornered him next to his rather lovely creation at the 2016 Geneva motor show.
TG: First things first: what would have to change if you built the GT? Was your design brief remotely real-world?
Mark Adams: I think the only thing that really isn’t legal right now is the graduated [slightly translucent] glass, because you’ve got to have a level of transparency in the front windows. If you tint the windows of your car too much, you’ll get nicked. However, this could be electrochromatic glass, where you control the level of opacity, so there’s no reason why it couldn’t be done.
We wanted it to be real, to have substance. Take the doors – they’re a one-piece construction, and we’ve got a patent for the offset hinge. It was really well thought-out and engineered. It’s not just a fly-by-night idea. We’re just using the dead space to make manufacturing easier and give a cleaner design, which we can because the car only has a small engine. It’s a 1.0-litre, 145bhp three-cylinder.
Then with the lack of mirrors – the laws are changing this year to allow us to have cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, so that will be a design trend.
TG: Crossovers are – sadly – more fashionable than sports cars these days. Why distill your freshest ideas into a coupe?
MA: This is a car that’s about fun. Pure and simple. Small proportions, a light, sub-1000kg kerbweight, rigidity, simplicity… we felt a coupe still says all of that much better than any other type of car. Plus this could be a coupe, or a convertible…
TG: You’ve said this car is deliberately anti-retro. Alpine’s just done the opposite, and built a retro sportscar concept. Why the different path?
MA: I smiled actually when I saw [the Alpine]. But no, we absolutely resisted that. When the original Opel GT came out, it was the Sixties. There was a certain vibe going on back then, which suited that car to that era. That’s changed now. Take a look at the new car. If you look at modern product design, it uses very simple designs, but uses punchy colour in a very powerful way.
TG: As in, an iPhone, or bright headphones?
MA: Yes, exactly that. You can see that in the car’s design. That wouldn’t have happened back in the Sixties. Same with the interior – it uses modern technology in a high-tech way. Why go back to the past? The original GT was modern in its day – so is this car.
Sure, the red front tyre was actually inspired by a red tyre we saw on a 1928 Opel motorbike, believe it or not, but we’ve combined that with modern design. [Mark gestures to the styling line that flows down the car from the front wheel, and the matching red flashes in the cabin.]
TG: Is now the right time to show a sports car concept car? This particular motor show could be perfect, with a new Bugatti and Pagani arriving…
MA: Exactly – you’ve got all these super-exotic cars which we can look at and go “ooh, ahh”, but we’ll never experience them. The idea with this car is to make something fun, but very attainable.
TG: Great. Please build it then?
MA: [laughs]. We’ll be listening to the feedback after the show. I hope so too.