Bitter

The little known German manufacturer 'Bitter' was responsible for a number of GT style variants produced in the 70s and 80s. Sadly the company is no longer around as the technique of rebodying mainstream saloons to create something more exotic, is now very unfashionable.

The company was set up by former racing driver Eric Bitter. He founded Bitter Automobile in 1971 importing cars from Italy including Abarth and Intermeccanica. Falling out with Intermeccanica was the catalyst Bitter needed to fire him up into designing his own cars and and the first Bitter hit the road in 1973.  The Bitter CD was based on an Opel Diplomat, but under the new body Bitter stuffed a 5.4 litre V8 to give sufficient grunt. Three hundred and ninety examples were built.

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Bitter SC Coupe

A second generation of cars was built between 1981 and 1986. Again based on an Opel floorpan, the SC was provided with a modified suspension set up to improve handling. Power was provided by a 180bhp engine from the Senator. 1984 saw the introduction of a 210bhp 3.9 litre motor, which boasted 50% more torque.

The first seventy nine bodyshells were made by OCRA in Italy but the quality of the metal used was found to be unsatisfactory (remember rust?) and production was switched to ILCA who were making panels for both Maserati and Bristol at the time. The cars were assembled in Germany initially but production switched to Austria in 1983.

The 1980's Bitter production run was dominated by the coupe which accounted for 420 of the 450 cars made. 25 Cabriolets were also made as well as just 5 four door saloons. Chances of seeing one on the UK roads are slim however as only around 25 are believed to be in the country and roadworthy.

Like so many small manufacturers, Bitter almost went out of business in 1986 and Eric Bitter spent the following years specialising in prototype production and styling. Check out the websites listed below for pictures of some of the prototyes which some more modern cars have certainly drawn influences. Unable to source sufficient funding for his dreams, Bitter closed his company in 1997 and now operates a design house working on projects for other manufacturers.

[links]Bitter|bitter[/links]

Comments (17) Join the discussion on the forum

  • simpo one 11 Aug 2002

    I saw one of these in Nottingham, early 1980s, near Broad Marsh bus station. I think I was on a bus (was a student so have an excuse!) and remember squinting to read the name. For some reason the name stuck in my mind - must have one of those 'Where were you when' moments.

  • Dazren 11 Aug 2002

    There used to be one in the Clifton area if Bristol 5 or 6 years ago. Looked like a Ferrari 400/412. The owner had a personalised plate which I recently saw on a late 80s merc SL, so he probably sold it.

    Distinctive......Nice.....

    DAZ

  • Nacnud 11 Aug 2002

    I know a guy who has one of these and what sticks in my mind is the size of the doors. They are based on the already large Opel Monza doors, but with an extra foot or so tacked on.

    In the flesh - they make Cerbera doors look quite reserved.

  • Podie 14 Aug 2002

    Spotted one for sale... www.petersmithsportscars.com/idxus.htm

    £5995 - a 3.9 Auto...

  • owenemyr 26 Aug 2002

    I almost bought one in 1990, but bought a Jag v12 cabriolet instead.
    There 's one in Southern Classics in Manchester for a lot more.
    ps wish i had bought the Bitter!

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