Cars that time forgot - Bitter SC

Oh boy, have I got a hell of an oddity for this installment. This is like buying a piece of luggage at a thrift store only to discover a secret stash compartment full of blow and cindi lauper tapes wrapped up in some bell bottoms...It just leaves you feeling very confused as to what exactly happened here and what that person's definition of a good time was.

That awkward analogy aside, today's piece is on the Bitter SC. Oh, you don't know about Bitter Cars? Or about Erich Bitter, the man behind the company? Well pull up a chair, stay a while, and listen.

What is "Bitter Cars"?

Bitter was a company started by Erich Bitter in the 1970s in Germany. Originally a racing driver, Erich was essentially persuaded to start the Bitter company to produce rebodied opels. The advantage of this was they could use the sleeker, sexier coupe body that was designed but never made without having to worry about the minimum sales GM/Opel would require to build one themselves. Other bodystyles would be offered, but the focus of their first product was to make a Coupe version of the Diplomat. So in one of the least-inspired moves of all time, their first car was called the Bitter CD. It sounds like an awful thing to put in a car, yet it was actually the name of a car.


What about the SC?

The car in question had a much more innovative name - It stood for Senator Coupe. This became an ironic name when the convertible and sedan bodystles came out later in the model's life. But at launch in 1979, it was a 2-door only reskin of the then-new Senator. Complete with two inline sixes and pop-up headlights, it is actually a very handsome looking beast. A convertible came in 1981 and a sedan in 1984 (Should've called it the Bitter SS) but the majority sold were the coupe.

Why was it forgotten?

First of all, they only made a few hundred of these things and they're handsome, but not striking. Being a coach-built car, they were very expensive to buy so not many people took them seriously. And then there was the fiasco that was their dealer network. Remember ford's Merkur brand? And Chrysler's Eagle brand? Well the Bitter brand was sold alongside, and I still can't believe it, buicks. Somehow the Big 3 all struckout on the same pitch - they tried selling their new brand, made of rebodied european cars, alongside a brand they shouldn't have. In this case, the lower trimmed Opels were seen as oddities in the buick showroom. A smaller coupe with minimal trimmings and alloy wheels would be great in the pontiac dealerships. Maybe even chevrolet? But selling them alongside buicks meant for doctors and middle managers was a bit of a mistake. This was a few years before the grand national came out and it was the proper way to sell a coupe in a buick showroom. To no one's surprise, very very VERY few dealerships took up the task of selling these cars. So guess what? Like a broken record, we have limited production numbers factoring into a car being obscure!

Why should I remember it?

If you've ever seen the movie Tucker then you see a romanticized version of a man trying to go after a dream. While he lacks that same revolutionary vision, Erich Bitter is just a jalop like one of us. He raced some cars, had a little fun, dabbled in some business, and just wanted to make a not-so-damn-boring car. The CD failed due to it having a V8 in the early 70s when the gas crunch hit so you paid a ton for a basic opel coupe with an engine you couldn't get fuel for. The SC was a victim of bad prices and management failure. While his cars aren't going to stun the world in some way, shape, or form, they are just solidly designed opels with a few upgrades. You know what? I can respect that. I can respect this man even though he names his model the SC based off it being a coupe and yet keeps that name when he makes it a sedan as well. Because by God, he made a damn good looking sedan.


Where are they now?

Bitter Cars went bust for a brief period after the SC but then came back. They pop up again here and there to reskin another opel or GM product, just like they have been for the past few decades. But I think some of the magic is gone. To basically do a bodystyle that the manufacturer wouldn't, is bold. It shows a lot of dedication and passion to thoughtfully design and make such a vehicle. One of their latest offerings, the Vero, shows.....well....ummmm......not much of either. It's a reskinned Holden Caprice. And personally, it looks like a caprice that got pummeled in the face a bit too much. But that doesn't matter. The SC was still made and it was still a handsome car made by guys who just seemed to love cars.

As always, thanks for reading, and I leave you with the Vero so that you can appreciate the SC even more.


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