My Car Quest

June 12, 2024

Another Lost Prototype: 1975 Opel GT-W Génève

by Wallace Wyss –

I am going out on a limb here and saying if the 1975 Opel GT-W Génève did not have an engine and transmission it was just a rolling mockup, one step up from a clay model, so not a real prototype engineering wise. There’s a couple years of development between a rolling mockup and a running driving prototype.

1975 Opel GT-W Génève

But when I look at this car I have a sense of Deja Vu as I drove its near cousin–the much more publicized Two Rotor Corvette, designed in Warren Michigan but built in Italy by Pininfarina. That design was marred compared to this variation because the Two Rotor had the nose of the upcoming Chevy Monza, with four headlamps.

This one has hidden headlights though I have to say there’s a bit too much gillwork at the nose. Kip Wasenko did the Two Rotor but maybe some Opel designers did the variations.

1975 Opel GT-W Génève

The Porsche 928 made its debut two years later–you wonder if it inspired the guys over at Porsche? Shown in Geneve in 1975 it too was supposed to have a twin rotor Wankel. It was even called the GT/W, but General Motors dropped its Wankel program like a hot potato when the fuel crisis hit and it was too fuel greedy. Not only that, they were getting cold feet on paying Curtuss-Wright, US patent holders to Wankel’s rotary engine, a per-car fee to use the design. So Opel just re-named the car and showed it, dropping reference to the Wankel.

There is a rumor that the 1975 Opel GT-W Génève was re-engineered for the Opel V8 (a Chevy 327 from the Diplomat) but since I have never seen a picture of the car with this engine maybe that was just a wish.

1975 Opel GT-W Génève

And so it is. One wonders if this car is in storage somewhere. I don’t think its styling is too out-dated to bring back, especially if GM wants an electric sports car besides the all electric Corvette being contemplated. After all GM paid for it so it’s theirs to use.

Let us know what you think about the Opel GT-W Génève in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has authored 18 car histories. At present he is working on an anthology of car fiction, said to be “Twilight Zone” inspired.




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Another Lost Prototype: 1975 Opel GT-W Génève
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Another Lost Prototype: 1975 Opel GT-W Génève
There is a rumor that the 1975 Opel GT-W Génève was re-engineered for the Opel V8 (a Chevy 327 from the Diplomat) but since I have never seen a picture of the car with this engine maybe that was just a wish.


  1. It’s a beautiful concept car, and like so many concept cars I’ve seen, I wish they had made it into production! I remember seeing pictures of this car back in the day, and agree that it looks better than the two rotor Corvette concept, front gill work and all!

    Not that the corporate bean counters would ever agree to this, but I think it would be really neat if GM would unearth from storage many of their great concept cars and lesser known show cars, and tour them around the Country. It would be a really neat homage to GM’s creativity and design and would be a great PR event for them and create a lot of positive press for not only car guys (and ladies) but have a halo effect for them as well (IMO). Sort of a reborn Motorama! Cars like this Opel, if it survived, should see the light of day again, along with past Corvette concepts and other terrific GM concepts from the different brands from days gone by.

  2. The car is still in Opel Museum in Rüsselsheim and yes, it got a 230 HP V8 fitted and was driven.
    You can see it at the end of this youtube video:

  3. I recall that Tony Lapine was the design head at Porsche when the 928 was released, and previously at GM where he had influence in the ’74 Pontiac LeMans with a similar rear quarter window to both this prototype and the LeMans.

  4. Wallace Wyss says

    I agree that they should no only be toured but re-freshed and out into production. After all with clothing we are occasionally going back to old styles ( just bought an Ascot…how old is that design?) Why spend years doing an all new sports car, getting the surface right, going through endless committees when this car is here, it’s ready, just update the safety and drivetrain, maybe to electric.

    • Wallace, agreed. So many great designs like this Opel. I recollect seeing very nice concept Buick passenger car at the S.F. Auto Show many years ago and thinking that if Buick built it, it would be a home run…this was in the early 90’s I believe. In any event, some design elements, watered down of course, I think made their way into some boring Buick passenger car that was ultimately “Blah”. And, that’s why GM or Ford for that matter, will never beat the Europeans or the Koreans for that matter, at their game. Yep…tour the neat concept cars, get some positive press, have some balls and spend the money to do it. Refresh and modernize the cars as needed, save some big bucks in not doing a clean sheet design, and then sell the heck out of cars that are actually good looking and interesting.

  5. Wallace Wyss says

    Maybe you’re thinking of a 2016 prototype, Buick Avista, shown at the 2016 Detroit auto show. Built on the Alpha chassis and with a 400-hp twin-turbo engine. But we never got it….


  6. SKIP HINOJOS says


  7. Robb Northrup says

    Wallace, I echo everyone’s comments. My question is, what happened to GM? Starting as the largest corp. in the world (in the 1960s) to becoming another also ran, GM has penny-pinched its way to Hell. We can see they had the best styling and engineering folks. But they played it too safe: never put show cars into production (except for the Corvette), they played that backdoor game in racing, would tease us with drop-dead gorgeous show cars, then bring out the Chevy Vega (or the Aztek in a more modern era).

    If this history has taught us anything it’s that playing it safe and religiously cutting costs is the recipe for shrinking any company because the resulting products are not desirable.

    Both Aero Vettes were way cool, and this Opel is in the same vein. I would buy it today!

  8. Wallace Wyss says

    I think the rise of Tesla demonstrates the flaw in the Big Three. They saw it coming, ignored it,and now Tesla stock is worth at least two if not all three if the Big Three. Now GM is so desperate to catch up they are about to pay Nikola $2 billion to buy more of a company that has never made a car,and has no factory. I miss the days hen GM had personalities like John DeLorean and Bob Lutz who had daring, and chutzpah.

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