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Lot 051: Bitter SC 3.9

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (26 September 2012)

Erich Bitter was a racer turned tuner and had a passion to become a car builder too. He got involved in a project started at GM Europe. As part of the normal development plans they had come up with a superb sports version loosely based on their large Opel Diplomat saloon, Bob Lutz, the then MD, getting very excited about its stunning looks. The only way they could see to get it developed was for someone else to do it for them. Outside their normal sphere of mass production, they had no facilities or experience in building such cars. Neither, as it turned out did Bitter, but he was asked to get involved and cleverly engaged the coachbuilding firm Baur who agreed to take on the challenge The new model, the achingly gorgeous Bitter CD, was shown at the Frankfurt Motorshow in 1973 and despite a rapturous response and 176 orders during the show, soon lost momentum as the fuel crisis took hold. No doubt the fitment of a 327 small block Chevy engine didn't help, much as it signed the death knell of the rather similar Monica project in France. The economy eased however and by the end, 395 CDs had left the factory, with plans in the pipeline for a more up to date replacement. Again Opel components were used in the new SC model, this time based on the Senator. Its 177bhp straight-six was carried across, although a 'stroked' 3.9-litre was also offered which developed a very healthy 207bhp. With styling that surely must have taken its cues from the Ferrari 400, it was initially available as a coupe, with a convertible and even a saloon eventually joining the range. Just 461 were made all told before such low volume manufacturers crumbled under pressure from the likes of Mercedes and BMW who were able to offer niche products as direct competitors. According to the vendor, this example was the actual Motorshow car from 1985. It has the larger Manzel tuned long stroke 3.9-litre engine and was sold to its first customer through Eric Hunt of Leeds who had used it as their demonstrator. By 1991 it was in the hands of Peter Bowles, the actor from the hit TV series 'To the Manor Born'. Notes on file record its gradual mileage accumulation, the odometer still only showing 44,040 miles. It had a major engine overhaul in 1997 at 36,600 miles, was owned by the Technical Registrar of the UK Bitter club in 2000 and had new sills and shock absorbers in 2001 when it had covered just over 41,000 miles. With the 0-60mph dash taking just 7.8 seconds and a top whack of 140mph, its average of over 20mpg must have sounded like heaven to any Ferrari 400 owner, not to mention the General Motors sized service bills. MOTd until 2013 this rare and bespoke motorcar just needs a few detailed touches to put it back into good cosmetic condition. Interesting, good looking and rare, but without mechanical complication  yes the concept still works!

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
TypeCar
Lot Number051
Estimate£4500-£6500
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1985
Condition rating
Registration numberC39 YNW
Mileage-
Chassis numberWBJ426219FS390333
Engine numberT39E0012877R
Engine capacity (cc)3848
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors