Opel is giving a preview of its future designs with the debut of the GTC Genève concept car - GTC stands for Gran Turismo Compact - at the 73rd Geneva Inter-national Motor Show (March 6th to 16th 2003). Taut lines, clear surfaces, three-dimensional headlights, wide wheelarches and crafted details are the core elements of OpelÂ’s modern design language.

  • 2003 Opel GTC
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Martin Smith, Opel’s Director of Design says ’With the GTC we want to demonstrate how sporty a three-door sports sedan can be. Working with our Vehicle Concept engineers, we set out to make a very dynamic-looking car, with space for four passengers, that’s also immediately recognizable as an Opel.’

When creating the GTC, Opel’s designers had far more freedom to experiment than they would normally when developing a production auto. The car has a tinted, transparent roof that stretches from the windshield to the rear window, and the design team took the GTC’s proportions (length/width/height: 4.349/1.773/1.352 meters) to the extreme. ’There-s a lot going on in car design at the moment, from very traditional to almost eccentric forms,’ says Smith. ’With the GTC we wanted to make a clearly sporty statement.’

The arrow-shaped front and rear sections of the GTC are good examples of the dynamic form. ’The tapering begins just in front of and just behind the wheelarches, emphasizing the short overhangs,’ explains Friedhelm Engler, Chief Designer in Opel’s compact car studio. ’Along with the low silhouette and the curved roof, this creates a powerful tension that makes the GTC look as if it’s ready to pounce.’

The GTC’s large, three-dimensional headlights and taillights ’look like the polished facets of a jewel,’ says Engler. He adds that the designers didn’t limit this theme to just the lights, but also to their housings, which fit organically into the surrounding bodywork as if they were ’settings for a piece of jewelry.’ The designers’ fascination with detail also can be seen in the individual lamps of the taillight housing. The cylindrical bulb settings look as if they were carved from a single piece of material. This form reappears again in the design of the center high-mounted brakelight, located over the rear window. The GTC’s interior features sporty and elegant Cashmere and brown leather upholstery. The neatly arranged cockpit, conceived without any electronic gadgets, has charcoal color interior surfaces. Some darker surfaces provide special emphasis, and represent a deliberate break with the clich that aluminum equals sportiness, adds Engler.

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