It’s pretty rare that a car becomes the subject of a feature film, let alone the title, even if said film is a bit of a parody. Enter the Opel Manta. By the time the 1980s were coming to a close, so was the production cycle on this classic, rear drive coupe. This was a bit of a cult car amongst West German youth of the day, bucking the trend to go more towards the hot hatchback layout that was popular with boy racers. This 1988 Manta B GSi for sale in The Netherlands represents the last of the line for an eighties icon. With only 97 kilometers on the odometer (60 miles), this has to be one of the best preserved late model Mantas left in existence.
As with every automotive enthusiasts, I’d like to believe, I have some amnesia about some periods of automobile history. Show me a 1985 and 1986 Audi 4000 side by side, and I can rattle off the subtle changes between model years; but show me some 1950s American iron and outside of the real standouts, they’re all a bit vanilla to me. I can’t tell you the difference between, for example, a 1955 Pontiac and a 1955 Mercury – I guess, if I go and look at pictures, the Mercury had slightly pointier headlight surrounds, but generally the way that I tell the difference between those cars is to walk up to them and say “Oh, this is the one that says ‘Mercury’ on it”. I’m sure it’s one of my many shortcomings as a person, though just as I can identify that NASCAR and NHRA racing takes a fair amount of talent, it’s not the talent I’d prefer to explore. People who can identify those cars and all of the specific model year changes are, to me, semi-Rainman-esque in their ability to memorize and quickly recount every single 1950s cars. Of course, to them I bet every single car from the 1980s looks exactly the same. Line up a Fiat Dino, an Audi 100 Coupe S and an Opel Manta (along with a handful of other cars that share the same basic silhouette) and I bet they’d be doing the same thing as me – walking up to this “blue one” and proclaiming “Oh, this is the one that says ‘Opel’ on it”:
I have a secret automotive fetish. I’d day fetish is a really strong word, but I’m not sure how else to describe it, because admitting it makes me feel a bit dirty. I actually like the third generation early 1970s Chevrolet Nova. Now, I realize that admitting the problem is the first step towards rectifying the issue, but there’s this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that it won’t go away. I’m not even sure why, but some of those late 60s/early 70s GM muscle cars just look…well, cool to me. The GTO Judge, the Chevelle SS, the Nova SS – they just look right in a weird and slightly disturbing way. So to redeem myself, instead of owning one of them, I’d probably sport for a much more rare scaled down model from their European cousin, Opel. Just as the Opel GT was a 3/4 scale Corvette, Opel had a mini muscle car too in the Manta, and U.S. customers had the option of the Manta Rallye that kicked thing up a notch:
With the introduction of the Mustang in 1964, Ford was successful in taking the rather ordinary Falcon and turning into something extraordinary that consumers lusted after. While the Plymouth Barracuda went on sale two weeks before the Mustang, it was when the Mustang was launched that the Pony Car wars begun. A similar trend followed across the pond, with the introduction of the Ford Capri in 1969 with the tagline “The Car You Always Promised Yourself.” One year later, Opel decided to have a go at the coupe market with the Manta, which was based on the Ascona. This car had a cult following amongst the youth in West Germany and even had a movie named after it entitled Manta, Manta. The Manta was also one of a handful of Opels that would be sold on Buick forecourts in the US market.
This Manta for sale south of Nuremberg, Germany is the hot one, the GT/E, which has the 1.9 liter engine with Bosch L Jetronic fuel-injection.
Model: Manta GT/E
Engine: 1.9 liter inline four
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 34,700 km (~ 21,500 mi)
Price: €18,900 ($24,335 USD)
Manta A 1.9E (GT/E) in 1a condition. The car was rebuilt at the end of the 1990s with no expense spared. Overhauled engine, 5-speed gearbox, brakes, internally ventilated Supersprint exhaust system with headers, new headliner and new carpet, sports seats from the i200, ATS 7×13 with 205 tires. Recent TÜV inspection, service, H-plate. A very nice vehicle that is hard to find in this condition. Sit down, drive on, have fun.
I’ve always liked the look of these early Mantas, as they foreshadowed a bit of the E24 6 series in their front profile. My father bought a 1972 Manta Rallye new from the Buick dealer.…
This Manta has been repainted in a bright blue all over to give a monochromatic look. This helps the U.S. safety bumpers blend in a bit.
The car is listed as having 8,100 miles, but that most certainly would be 108,100 do to the 5 digit odometer on the Manta.
The owner states the car has plenty of upgrades and new parts. It sits on modern 15″ wheels, but the stock 13″s come with the car. It has some exhaust work, which should make the 4 cylinder sound nice.
The larger 1.9 liter mated to the 4 speed manual is the setup to have in this the last model year of the Manta A.
While 90 horsepower isn’t much to play with the car is fairly light and the four speed should make it fun.
I wish this add had a bit more description in it. The bidding is up to $2,125 with a reserve not met.
The folks over at BringATrailer caught this on Craigslist the same day I caught it on eBay.
This is not a usual site here in the states. The Manta B is not as identifiable to those who might casually be familiar with the Opel brand in the U.S. as say the Opel GT is, but to those more in the know it is unmistakably Opel. The Manta B is a neat looking car. Kind of like a time travel backwards breeding of Sierra Cosworth and BMW 6 series in terms of looks, though styling supposedly was based on the Chevy Monza if you believe wikipedia.
The cars received some attention in rally circles with some pretty hefty outputs coming from under the hood.
This particular car has what I presume is a bored out stock 2.0 liter to 2.2, which I would guess is putting out a little north of 100 horsepower coming from the dual carb setup. The car looks great with some tuning parts by Irmscher including body kit and exhaust work. The swept rear wing is a very distinguished look. It is also hard not to dig that plaid interior, which is in need of some repair. I also could do without the overhead speaker setup. Wouldn’t you rather listen to the engine as you rowed the gears anyway?
The car has 55,000 miles and the seller is asking $15,000 or best offer. That is a pretty hefty sum for a car that elsewhere in the world isn’t really rare, but when you have a pretty one of a kind vehicle stateside you can ask what you want. Too bad Buick didn’t continue to sell these like they did earlier Opels.
I wish the seller would include more description about the driving experience. I suspect some tail happy driving can be had with this.…
Growing up, I would hear my father talk about the 1972 Opel Manta Rallye that he owned, complaining about issues with vapor lock but praising the car for it’s solidity and good looks. Opel Mantas are a very rare sight on US roads these days, and if you see one on the road, it would most likely be clapped out. This very original Manta, then, is more rare than the proverbial hen’s teeth.
The seller states:
There is only 45,500 miles on this classic sports coupe, a 1974 Opel Manta! Opel pursued a unique sales approach for their line in the U.S. Market causing only a few Opel models to be sold in the U.S. Opels were imported by GM and sold through Buick dealerships but not their own dealership network, so they were limited in what makes and models they could sell here.
This 4-cylinder automatic is in good running condition and has been maintained on a yearly basis (with all receipts and records of that maintenance available for inspection). This car is being sold because the owner is deceased. It was originally purchased it May 10, 1976 in Ohio with 15,800 miles on it. The owner then moved to Ames, Iowa to live with her sister in June 20, 1997 and the car had 40,433 miles on it at that time. On October 20, 1997, it was rust protected by Ziebart. On August 24, 1998 it had some body work done (don’t know specifics of what). It was then painted on May 28, 1999 and paint protected by Ziebart. It was maintained by a local garage during the subsequent years. It was in storage from fall 2008 until fall 2009 when I moved it to my house. I put a new battery in it and took it out a couple of months ago, August 2010, and have been driving it off and on.