Bitter CD

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Bitter CD

Bitter CD


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History of the Bitter CD


In production between 1973 and 1979, the Bitter CD was a three-door hatchback coupe powered by a 227 horsepower  Chevrolet V8 with a 327ci engine. The CD was initially displayed in prototype form at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 9, 1969, as the Opel Coupe Diplomat ("CD"), which was adapted from the sedan model.

Charles M. "Chuck" Jordan (Opel's Design Leader from 1967 to 1971 and later vice-president of General Motors developed the CD with the help of George A. Gallion, David Holls, Herbert Killmer, and Hideo Kodama, as well as Erhard Fast (Director of the Opel Design Studios 3 for Advanced Design from 1964). The tail was influenced by Erhard Fast's design for the 1969 Opel Aero GT. Opel explored building production versions in response to the favourable response to the CD prototype.

To streamline manufacturing and keep prices low, the doors would use a normal opening mechanism, while the bumper bar, windshield wipers, and other pieces would be drawn from the Opel Diplomat. Robert "Bob" Lutz, the Head of Opel at the time, commissioned Pietro Frua to expand the concept and build two road-going prototypes.

David R. "Dave" Holls (Opel design manager from September 1971 and former assistant to Chuck Jordan) inspired Erich Bitter to construct the Bitter CD in 1971. Bitter GMBH was created in 1971 to commercialise the CD as a consequence. He founded his firm on a one-acre (4,000 m2) plot of land in his hometown of Schwelm, Germany. Bitter, however, resorted to Baur GMBH in Stuttgart, a successful independent small-scale producer, because he lacked the requisite funds and other means to build up his own production facilities.

He chose Baur GMBH due to their capacity to develop high-quality prototypes and limited production vehicles for other German manufacturers. Bitter based his initial CD designs on Frua's before making changes closer to production. The primary architectural differences between Frua's CD and the 1969 Opel CD were a shortened read end, a redesigned windscreen, and a reduced chrome application.

Dave Holls and the Opel design team improved the model by integrating a tiny front spoiler, a wider grille, taller bumper bars, and by extending the bottom border of the rear side windows upwards over the C pillar to the rear hatch. Final prototype testing was carried out at the Opel Test Facility in Duden, as well as load duration tests by Bitter at Baur's Hydropulseur facility. The Baur team also worked on major constructive and manufacturing development work, including the creation of a hard foam mock-up.

Their role then extended to manufacturing the CD's body panels, assembling the shell, interior fitting and trimming as well as installing the Opel Diplomat's mechanicals. The Bitter CD was displayed with great success at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show, where Erich Bitter took 176 orders for his stylish new coupe. However, the oil crisis at the time led to the cancellation of most orders. Despite this, production commenced late the same year at Baur GMBH. The target of 200 units/year was never realised and, in total, Bitter sold 395 units. The purchase price in 1974 was 58,400 DM, approximately £3,867,000 in today's GBP (November 2021).


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