This Bitter Is Sweet
A rare Bitter SC coupe sold this week.
One of the rarest cars of the 1980s hit the selling block this week. The tired but complete 1984 Bitter SC from Halifax, Nova Scotia, sold on the car enthusiast auction site Bring A Trailer for the sinister price of $6,666.
That an obscure 35-year-old car ravaged by Canadian winters can still command nearly seven large is a testament to its charm and build quality.
The SC is the work of Erich Bitter, a one-time bicycle and car racer who moved onto auto-tuning and importation before launching his own car company in 1971 from his hometown of Schwelm, Germany. He sought to create a fast luxury car with the appeal of an Italian exotic, but everyday reliability. To do so, Bitter followed in the footsteps of other boutique marques such as De Tomaso in Italy and Facel in France and married mainstream engine and drivetrain components to sporty bodies and high-end interiors.
Bitter's first car, the CD, was a sleek four-seat coupe based on the Opel Diplomat sedan. Opel was General Motor's mid-level European marque at the time (France's Groupe PSA purchased it early this year).
The SC was Bitter's encore. It was based on the Opel Senator, but with a lower-slung, more-angular body that aped design cues from the contemporaneous Ferrari 400i.
The SC stretched 16 feet long and had enough room for four adults to travel in luxury with broad seats reminiscent of the thrones in the third-generation Maserati Quattroporte. The SC's interior featured wood trim on the dash, and soft Nappa leather pretty much everywhere else. In praising the Bitter's interior, Motor Trend noted that even the insides of the glove box and center console cubby were lined in leather.
The Bitter's fuel-injected inline six-cylinder Opel engines were reliable and relatively efficient. Plus, they were fast. The 3.0-liter Bitter used from 1981 to 1984 allowed speeds up to 130 mph, while the 3.9-liter engine used in later versions of the SC helped the car exceed 140 mph.
The SC remains Bitter's most popular model. A handful was even sold stateside in the mid-80s through Buick dealerships. In all, Bitter produced 462 coupes between 1981 and 1989, along with 21 convertible variants and five sedans. Since then, Erich Bitter has engaged in a number of other automotive projects, mostly based on modifying Opels. The 84-year-old entrepreneur's most recent project involved revamping the interior and exterior styling of the 2016 Opel Mokka crossover (sold in North America as the Buick Encore).
As for the sinister pricing of the recently sold SC... $6,666 is really kind of a bargain when you consider a Ferrari 400i from the same era can go for several times that amount. Autoweek pointed out that the Bitter gives you the room, style, and pop-up headlights of the Ferrari, but not the maintenance costs. The Bitter is also far less common than the Ferrari, which sold nearly 3000 units in various guises. Isn't Bitter sweet?