The large doors have space-saving hinges ingeniously mounted in the front wheel arches that allow the door to open wide, even in tight parking spaces.
Although most observers will see the GT Concept’s use of red front tyres, mounted on ‘rollerskate’ wheels, as an avant-garde feature, they are also a subtle reference to an iconic Opel motorcycle from the 1920s called the Motoclub 500, which had red tyres front and rear.
The wheels are steel, which is lighter and cheaper, and can have clip-on centres to provide different looks. The wheels are 18in, the same as an Astra’s, with relatively modest rubber. But because the car is small and relatively narrow, they look fairly large.
The square steering wheel is intended to imply a quick-rate rack of variable ratio, enabling you to perform most manoeuvres without the need to take your hands off the rim.
Vauxhall-Opel bosses are saying very little about the GT Concept’s prospects for production. Spokesmen say they have “heard of no plan” to build it, but they also say they will “judge reaction” to the car before deciding whether it has any production future.
“This car is something we really have an emotional connection too, not just as a car, but as what we want to do with the brand," said Adams.
At present, the company lacks a suitable front-engined, rear-drive platform on which to base a production GT. But Vauxhall-Opel has a history of putting rule-breaking sports cars into production. It turned the Opel GT from concept to production car in the late 1960s. It also built a Vectra-engined Lotus Elise in the 1990s and called it the Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster. Most recently, it turned the US Pontiac Solstice roadster into a second-generation Opel GT.
Comment - is Vauxhall serious about sports cars?
It’s too easy to conclude that Vauxhall-Opel will never build a front-engined, rear-drive sports car, such as the latest GT Concept, just because the company doesn’t currently have a suitable platform with a front-mounted engine that drives the rear wheels.
Look through Vauxhall-Opel’s past products and you’ll find several that made production, even though there didn’t seem to be the right supporting infrastructure. The company has displayed a continuing penchant for sports cars and has been extremely resourceful about finding ways to get them built.
The most unlikely of recent times was the transverse mid-engined Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster, which was an expensive - and expansive - reworking of the Lotus Elise produced by Lotus at Hethel. The company decided its image for humdrum car design needed improvement and the VX lasted five years.