Rare Rides: A Buick Dealers' Delight - the 1984 Bitter SC
Buick’s on again, off again relationship with the Opel brand is currently very much on, as two Opels badged as Regals tempt buyers, and one Opel badged as Cascada tempts rental companies. But these recent exercises in marketing are somewhat tame in comparison to the experiment General Motors conducted in the 1980s with a little company called Bitter.
The Bitter marque was founded in the early 1970s by Erich Bitter. Mister Bitter was a racing driver who’d turned his attention to modifying and tuning cars. After that, he got bored and switched to importing cars, and at some point decided he wanted to make his own. Erich Bitter Automobil GmbH was a go.
With a focus almost entirely on coupes, the company’s first model was the CD, based on the Opel Diplomat. We’ll save that story for another Rare Rides when we come across one in a listing. The CD was enough of a success for Bitter to plan a subsequent model; this time it would be called the SC.
Times had moved on since the Diplomat ruled the roost, and now the flagship model at Opel was the Senator sedan. The year was 1979, and Bitter debuted its new coupe at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The company restyled the exterior to remove a couple of doors and make it look a bit like a Ferrari 365; this effort proved successful.
Not content with a regular Opel interior, the SC was trimmed in finely grained and exceedingly ruched Italian leather, in the style of contemporary Maserati models. Power arrived via a 3.0-liter inline-six (today’s choice) or a larger 3.9-liter version of the same engine. Power figures resided at 177 or 207 horsepower, respectively.
As production continued at a slow pace, Bitter had a big announcement to make at the New York Auto show of 1984. The company had entered into a marketing agreement with General Motors to distribute the SC at various Buick dealerships. Bitter wanted a distribution outlet in the United States, and General Motors was doing what all the yuppies were doing in the Eighties: chasing BMW.
Buick dealers were not so enthused with the idea of supporting a single high-line car, and the take rate on sales agreements was low (12 or fewer dealers). Most of the participating dealers were in the New York area, and these stores adjusted their exterior signs to reflect the Buick and Bitter logos. Truly a B&B situation all-round.
The SC remained in production through 1989, when the company went dormant for the entire decade of the Nineties. Various attempts and cars have come from the company since, but never to any volume near the SC. And that’s saying something, because all three variants — coupe, convertible, and the (very rare, five total examples) sedan total a production figure of 488.
Today’s Rare Ride is located in Vancouver, which is a small town north of Seattle with affordable housing. A gold exterior pairs with striking white leather. With about 72,000 miles on the clock, this seller is asking a price somewhere north of $10,000.
DenverMike on Oct 11, 2019
So great an effort to be ruined by a driveway dragging "exhaust can" at rear. Like, "Oops, who forgot to include an exhaust?" after the design engineers went on vacation. It'll bet that was just a North America concession, as likely the "50 state" catalytic converter went where the muffler was originally located.
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