I hadn’t heard of the Bitter SC until recently, and as I checked out the car’s attributes, I wondered why I hadn’t sooner.
After all, it seems tailor-made for me:
- European? Check.
- Incrediblly rare and obscure? Check.
- Wedgy, boxy ’80s styling? Check.
- Straight-6 power? Check.
- GT body style and ethos? Check.
It even has an Opel tie-in: Its construction uses the contemporary Opel Senator’s floorpan as a starting point. I’m in love.
So what in the world is a Bitter? The brainchild of a German racing driver, Erich Bitter, the automaker released a couple of cars—the SC featured in this post and its predecessor the CD—which were essentially rebodied versions of the largest Opel on the market at the time. Produced in extremely limited numbers (there were only 488 SCs made in total) they were sold in Europe and in Buick dealerships here in the States, much the same way Opels had been back in the early ’70s.
The SC’s styling hews very closely to that of the Ferrari 400/412, with which it roughly shared a model run from 1979 to 1989. To my eye, the Ferrari is a fantastic car to copy, but the proportions are so similar it could communicate a bit of laziness on the part of the Bitter design crew. I won’t complain, though—there are far uglier cars they could have chosen to emulate.
Available with either a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission, the SC used a standard 177hp, 3.0l version of Opel’s CIH straight-6 engine, bumped up to 3.9l and 207hp by the end of the car’s model run. Motivating around 3,400 lbs, a 0-60 time in the mid 7s was very respectable by the standards of the day.
Values today are about what you’d expect for such a rare but not particularly exotic piece of the ’80s automotive scene; good examples can be found for around $20K, but be prepared to wait for the right example to pop up. Fortunately, the Bitter Owner’s Club is an understandably fanatical, tight-knit group, clustered as they are around so few examples of their obsession, so insight into the cars’ quirks is easy to come by for those seriously interested.
The SC doesn’t threaten to displace any residents of my top five automotive objects of lust, but it’s certainly earned itself a spot on my ever-growing wish list.
Image credits: auta5p.eu, bittercars.de, autobild.de, motortrend.com