Autos Cars

The Opel Speedster Is the GM Mid-Engine Sports Car You Forgot About

Opel Speedster

Part of the American dream is the thought that you can have almost any material goods you could ever want if you have enough money to buy it. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true, especially when it comes to cars. There are many vehicles that are forbidden fruits in the United States.

It’s a sad fact, but there are some supercars that never make it to American shores. If you’re thinking about trying to sneak one over, just check out this article by Road and Track where a 2000 Mini Cooper was seized by federal agents and crushed in front of a shocked group of reporters.

The reason? To show that importing cars into the United States without jumping through the proper hoops will not be tolerated. And some of those hoops are designed to keep certain cars out of the U.S. for at least 25 years or more. Even then, it can be nightmarish trying to import it over.

It’s a shame because there are some really incredible automobiles out there that car buffs would go crazy over, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. One such example of a car that Americans would love but never got to enjoy is the Opel Speedster. Never heard of it? Not surprising, as Opel as a German brand, but we have some sizzling details that just may make the Speedster your next dream car.

What is the Opel Speedster?

The Opel Speedster is actually a GM mid-engine car that made its debut in 2000. It made its presence known under several names overseas such as the Daewoo Speedster in Asia, the Opel Speedster in Europe, and the Vauxhall VX220 in England.

The Speedster is inspired by Lotus Elite—which is available in the United States—but it isn’t just a cheap knock off. Or in this case, a rather expensive knock off. Motor Trend reports that there are 2000 parts that make up the Speedster and only 140 come from the Elite.

In an effort to cut down on weight and increase speed, the Speedster doesn’t come with many beloved features like power door locks, air conditioning, and power windows. For Americans who take these features for granted, it would come across as quite a shock.

It worked out well, though, because the Opel Speedster weighs only 2,100 lbs. It has a transverse-mounted all-alloy Opel 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 16 valves, 147 bhp at 5800 rpm, and 152 lb-ft of torque. As for speed, the Speedster can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 sec. Its top speed is 130 mph.

While there may be faster cars out there, there’s something sort of alluring about wanting what you can’t have, and you can’t deny that the Speedster has an incredible looking body.

Will we ever see it in America?

Unless someone buys it in Europe and brings it over, the answer is most likely no. There may be some car collector out there that has it sitting in their garage, but if so, we don’t know about it.

As of 2019, it’s been 19 years since the Speedster made its debut. So in six more years, it can be legally imported to the United States without worrying about compliance laws, EPA restrictions, or crash testing that is required to bring newer cars in.

You’ll still need to check with state laws, because your Speedster will still be required to meet state laws, but until 2025, the Speedster is a no-go for average Americans.

If you simply can’t wait that long, there is one other legal way to drive the Speedster, but it may not be what you expect. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit II features the Opel Speedster. This means you can drive the Speedster for a fraction of the cost and won’t even have to worry about filling it up.