In the late 1960s, Erich Bitter of Schweim, Germany was doing very well making tuning kits, and auto accessories. He was and is a naturally competitive guy, racing bicycles at the top level in the Tour De France before moving on to racing cars. In 1969 he retired from racing cars and became the german importer for Abarth and Intermeccanica automobiles. Neither of those experiences worked out as well as he would have liked, but they convinced Erich to pursue his own car. He was particularly impressed with the Opel CD prototypes of 1960-71, and when Opel decided not to pursue production, he felt compelled to do something. He spoke with Opel owners GM, and convinced them to let him bring the project to fruition. Not only did they say yes, but Opel even helped develop the car for production.
Bitter established his own car company in 1971, and chose coach builder Baur to handle production as he had no factory of his own. He used the chassis from the Opel Diplomat and shortened it. This was combined with a 5.4 liter V8 from GM producing 230 bhp. The combination satisfied Erich’s desire to have an exotic sports car with solid reliability. The result was a handsome and sporty coupe with a generous glass hatch and a kamm back. It could easily pass for an Italian thoroughbred, particularly in red. An improved and shortened Lamborghini Espada comes to mind. The car weighed in at 3881 lbs, so it was not a light car, and was more of a grand tourer. 0-62 time was 9.6 seconds, and top speed was 130mph. It was dubbed the Bitter CD, and it arrived in 1973.
The CD was not an inexpensive car, and it was launched into the teeth of the oil crisis. Even so, it did well for an ultra exotic, and lasted until 1979. In total 395 Bitter CDs were produced, and they were replaced by the Bitter SC. This was of course one of a few examples of European chassis and suspension being married to an American power plant (DeTomaso, Iso Griffo, AC Cobra, etc). However, it remains a respected and sought after machine for its classic good looks, and luxurious cabin.
3 Replies to “Sweet Bitter”
That is one Italian looking German car! I would never have guessed where it came from. nice find.
Once again you delve into an obscure corner of automotive history and emerge with holding the light of solid fact and the illumination of good research. Great piece.
Very fascinating design. I grew up with a few Opels in the family over the years. We had a couple Mantas, but I couldn’t talk dad into buying a GT, the model that really perked my interest. Never heard about the Bitter CD or SC. I wouldn’t mind driving one someday!