BRENDAN GARST'S1985 Bitter SC3.9

Brendan Garst's 1985 Bitter SC 3.9
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1985 Bitter SC




Horsepower207 HP
Torque241 LB-FT
Curb Weight3560 LB
Engine Size3.9 L
Transmission Type3 Speed Auto

The Story

This is my 1985 Bitter SC 3.9. These uncommon cars have an interesting backstory indeed; the brainchild of a German Bicycle/Automobile Racer named Erich Bitter. Bitter, after some frustration working for Intermeccanica as a distributor, set out to build cars to his own liking and specification. He partnered with Opel, pairing GM mechanical parts with coach built Bodies. His first offering was the Bitter CD (Coupe Diplomat) which was strikingly gorgeous for the period, but sales for the CD were impacted by the Oil Crisis thanks to its 327 V8. Bitter Penned another car, this time based on the Opel Senator platform, creatively named the SC (Senator Coupe), bearing a straight six version of Opel's cam-in-head motor, first with a 3.0 motor, and later with a 3.9 motor stroked by Mantzel. The cars were built from 1979 to 1989, with US import beginning in 1984 to Buick dealers. Production numbers are reported from 450-462, and cars remaining in America are speculated to be between 150-250. I've been familiar with Bitters since 2010, when I purchased a ratty 3.0 SC from a local Bitter Collector (and now longtime friend) in Boulder. I was just starting my actual working life, as well my interest in working on cars, and had also just passed my CPA exam and was looking for a way to celebrate. I put out an ad on Craigslist that I was looking for a unique project car, and I was enlightened to the existence of these cars. I purchased the 3.0 car in June of 2010, and got the car into driveable condition, entailing basically a transmission flush, a new alternator, and some seat time to blow off the cobwebs. Mechanically it was very solid, but years of storage in the sun in Arizona had trashed the paint and interior of the car, and its bare minimum functioning electricals (headlights and taillights only, more or less) were not endearing as time went on and I attempted to start rectifying things. This particular car proved to be too much for me given living in an apartment with limited parking, and most of my disposeable income tied up saving to restore my Coupe GT, and after having some fun driving it, I sold it along in the spring of 2011. I always regretted that I didn't have the ability or the bankroll to bring that particular car back, it was needy but I still feel like it had promise. Moving forward a few years, I received a call from the same collector that he was going to sell the gray 3.9 car above, which had been his automotive obsession for years. This car has been a longtime attendee at cars and coffee events and car shows, as well as the car that showed me what a Bitter could be when I bought my 3.0 from him years before. The car had been doted over for its entire previous ownership, and I was not ready to see it shipped to an out of state eBay buyer. In August 2014, I purchased the car from my friend sitting at 84,00 miles. The car is a fantastic driver. Everything works, and the effort put into the car by the previous owner really shows. To drive, its very much a barge; the suspension is soft, body roll is heavy, and the hood appears to be miles long from the driver's seat. The engine is a little less smooth than the 3.0 that I had, with a somewhat lumpy idle. In conjunction with the motor tuning that brought the car up from 3.0 to 3.9 liters of displacement, the final drive was reduced to help the cars acceleration; the car shifts through its 3 gears quickly and leaves the car feeling wrapped out above 55. The performance is on par with or perhaps slightly more accelerative than the Delorean, though the Delorean's 5 speed gearbox gives it much longer legs than the 3 speed GM Turbo Hydromatic 180 Transmission in the Bitter. The interior is a sea of leather, much of it crosses with the Maserati Biturbo of the time. The interior is in great shape thanks to the prior owner's care, and there are other great touches throughout; Gold-Faced VDO instruments, recently refinished wood veneers on the control panel/console/shift surround, upholstered binnacle and dashboard and other neat touches. The switch gear is all in European standard symbols for things like HVAC, defrosters, lights and etc, and the cruise control stalk is labelled entirely in German. In all, its a very cool, unique cruiser, and the only automatic car I own. I have always loved the looks of this car, though I recognize 80's styling can be polarizing, and the SC tips the scale somewhere between Ferrari 400i and Iroc-Z. To me its a handsome cruiser, and I don't intend to change much about it from as it sits today!

Comments (8)
10 here now

[]Harald Heldt

This thisnf is beyond cool. Looks like a sedan version of a cross between the Ferrari 400i and Fiat X19, in a much sleeker package. Too bad about the Opel 6 with that ancient GM automatic, however!

[]Brendan Garst

No problem Joseph. I live for the goofy stuff!

[]Joseph Frascati

Yes, in Takei voice - Oh MY. Never heard of these - thanks for turning me on to something new

[]Coty Day

Oh my.

[]Brendan Garst

Description and back story is up! Thanks Garrett and Thomas!

[]Dan Mosqueda

Fascinating. They always reminded me of Ferrari 400s.

[]Thomas Hundal

This is beautiful! I've only heard of this through an old book, and I've always wanted to see one that wasn't in red!

[]Garrett Davis

Awesome. This needs a description and a back story stat!

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Brendan Garst's 1985 Bitter SC


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