Rare Rides: The 1977 Bitter CD - Elder Bitter

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1977 bitter cd elder bitter

Rare Rides featured its first Bitter last year, when a golden SC coupe from 1984 graced these pages. In that article we mentioned we’d return when the company’s first model, the CD, turned up for sale somewhere.

And today’s the day! Let’s take a look at Bitter’s initial product offering.

Bitter’s founder Erich Bitter made his career out of cars. What started out as racing cars turned into a tuning business. That grew into full-on importation of new cars, and then to design projects with Italian firm Intermeccanica. Once its Italian dealings wrapped up, Bitter formed a new company after some persuasion by friends at Opel.

Before Bitter GmbH’s founding, the company’s eventual first car was previewed on the Opel stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show of 1969. The prototype Opel Coupe Diplomat, or CD if you’re feeling casual, was designed by Chuck Jordan (head of Opel’s design) and Dick Ruzzin. The public’s reaction to the prototype lead to further discussion at Opel about a production version. Over in the U.S., Bob Lutz was in charge of Opel and called up Pietro Frua to work the concept into a road-going car.

But Opel’s project stalled out. Dave Holls, who was one of the assistants on the original CD prototype, had advanced to run Opel’s design that year. Still very interested in the car, Holls reached out to Bitter in 1971 to urge him to take over the CD’s future. Bitter didn’t waste time, forming his new company that year.

Bitter took Frua’s design and altered it a bit before setting the production car’s final look. Final prototypes went to Opel, where Holls and other Opel employees refined its appearance even further. Once the design was settled, Bitter contracted out production to Baur, as he lacked the funds to set up his own factory. The final product appeared in public for the first time at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show — where the public showed a decent amount of interest. Orders placed at the show totaled 176, but most were quickly cancelled after the oil crisis broke out later that year.

Production started up anyway, but the model’s assembly was as slow as the orders; only six were completed the first year. For the next six years, roughly 70 CDs rolled out annually, delivered to wealthy customers who wanted a very exotic looking Opel coupe. 1979 was the CD’s final year of production, with just 37 completed. Not disheartened, Bitter moved on to offer the SC coupe that same year.

Underneath the long coupe body, all CDs rode on a platform borrowed from the Opel Diplomat large sedan. The CD used the Diplomat’s upscale engine option: a 5.4-liter Chevrolet V8. In this case, the V8 was paired to a three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic, which sent 230 horsepower to the rear wheels.

Today’s car is in excellent condition, and is for sale in Germany for $77,000.

[Images: seller]

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  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Mar 17, 2020

    I wonder how much that rear glass weighs?

  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Mar 17, 2020

    Saw a purple/blue of these back in August in front of Little Daddy's restaurant in Bloomfield. Had different wheels, quad driving lights, different taillights, and the rear panel was blacked out. Had never seen one before. Pretty car, interesting story.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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