What's the significance of the Detroit launch of General Motors' sleek Saturn Sky roadster? Sources say it's the US version of the new Opel GT - a 21st century incarnation of the '60s classic.

What's the significance of the Detroit launch of General Motors' sleek Saturn Sky roadster? Sources say it's the US version of the new Opel GT - a 21st century incarnation of the '60s classic.


The Sky is earmarked for the American market, and will go into production in 2006. It was inspired by the Vauxhall VX Lightning Concept – created at GM's Advanced Design Studio in Birmingham, UK – and will share its platform with the long-awaited Pontiac Solstice.


The same applies to the upcoming new Opel GT, replacement for the Speedster (which the then Delta Motor Corporation once considered bringing to South Africa). Sources say the GT will be offered in both coupé and roadster versions, and be powered by a 2,0-litre turbocharged Ecotec engine.


Should the GT join the line-up of General Motors SA, which currently imports all Opels apart from the Corsa Lite, Classic and Utility pick-up, it would signal the return of arguably the most classic nomenclature in the Russelsheim brand’s history (not that we mean to upset the GSi brigade!).


Designed with the aid of the University of Stuttgart’s wind tunnel, the original GT had classic styling and clean curves. Its frame, double-armed front suspension and leaf-sprung rear axle originated from the Opel Kadett B-Series.


In 1968, Opel launched the GT 1100 and GT 1900. In 1969, a targa style model, the 'Aero GT' was shown at the Frankfurt Show, but it was never put into production. Manufacture of the GT ended in August 1973, and a total of 103 463 units – two thirds of which were sold in US – were built.


Thirty-seven years after the launch of the GT, its spiritual successor, the Saturn Sky, breaks cover with a clamshell bonnet, wide stance, short overhangs, and 18-inch wheels pushed to the corners. Projector halogen low beam and reflector-optic halogen high beam headlamps enhance the exterior's sophisticated look.


Inside, piano-black-and-chrome finishes combine with leather trim, and there is jewel-like detailing on the lighting controls.


The car has four-wheel independent short/long arm suspension, coil-over Bilstein shocks, hydraulically-assisted rack and pinion power steering, ABS, and near 50:50 weight distribution, General Motors claims.


The Sky is powered by a 126 kW 2,4-litre Ecotec engine with variable valve timing, which is mated with a five-speed Aisin manual transmission. A five-speed automatic will be optional.

Original article from Car