Friday, July 25, 2014

5k: Nicest Around: 1972 Opel Manta A

The first generation Opel Manta "A" was a lightweight two-door fastback that shared a chassis and powertrain with the Opel Ascona sedan/coupe/estate.  Being a European branch of GM, Opel did not have a dealer network in North America, so they were sold and maintained through GM's domestic Buick dealerships.  Today most Mantas are dilapidated classics or restored garage queens, so to find one in completely original condition is a remarkable feat.  Find this 1972 Opel Manta A currently bidding for $3,583 reserve-not-met with 5 days to go on ebay, located in San Diego, CA.  Tip from Rod S.

The idea of well to-do retirees choosing between a Buick Riviera and the sporty handling European coupe is humorous at best and needless to say, the Opel didn't sell as well as initially anticipated.  It had a few Opel stable mates in Buick dealerships, including the "baby Corvette" Opel GT and the kompakt Opel Kadett....but those didn't do too well either. It is a shame because the Manta (with its classic shark-nose, quad round head and taillights) was not bad looking at all, despite its other faults.

It was known as one of the better handling cars of the era and earned its stripes not due to its engine, but because it was light and nimble.  Unfortunately that lightness came with a price -- thin gauge sheet metal rusts very quickly in road salt states or places where it precipitates. 

The 1.9 liter inline-4 is good for around 104 horsepower and 142 ft-lbs of torque.  Unfortunately it is mated to an automatic transmission which will make the driving experience much less fun, but you don't often find Mantas this nice and original.  Would you be willing to swap in manual transmission and temper some of that originality?

The interior looks really well preserved and is almost too nice for daily driver duty, but it is car, not a precious artifact and it should be driven.  The only issue is the automatic transmission, but I think we've pretty much beaten that horse to death.

See a cooler survivor for less?


  1. The Grammar PoliceJuly 25, 2014 at 5:28 AM

    1. Not "...Manta's are dilapidated classics...", but "...Mantas are dilapidated classics...". Use the plural, not the possessive.
    2. The second paragraph is a disaster - too many commas.
    3. This engine never made 142 ft-lbs of torque.
    4. The car, however, is lovely.

    1. I've often wondered, do grammar police eat doughnuts or donuts?

    2. concur on the two extraneous commas, but you missed a deformed 4-dot ellipsis, "well to-do" s/b "well-to-do", aaaaaand the two oooold-school spaces after a period

      now, back to my cronut

      ~ the grammar police police

    3. It could be because I ate entirely too much food at Hot's Kitchen in Hermosa Beach last night (apostrophe is theirs, not mine...but the lack of apostrophe on the third person plural possessive form of theirs is mine). It all started with a plate of parmesan truffle fries with shiitake aioli that could have fed the ISIS militia for a week of pillaging...and was followed by a fabulous chicharrón taco washed down by a pint of Weihenstephaner (famous not just for beer but also for the machine-to-machine open source communication protocol that has become a de facto standard in the bottling industry) hefeweizen. Finally, the waiter delivered a plate of Korean style bbq chicken wings on a bed of pickled/spiced cabbage.
      Fast forward a few hours and there I am sitting in front of my computer with a belly full of macerating proteins and zero desire to proof read anything. Combine this with the fact that DT's resident grammar nazi CFlo is on vacation, and suddenly the prognosis is bleak for the English language. On a typical weeknight, CFlo spends some time editing my stream of conscious mixed with mad libs style postings, but last night he was cooking s'mores over bonfires, bonding with his family, and burying bodies in the woods -- so the posts you see today might be a bit raw. Apologies in advance.
      DT EIC Vince

  2. Despite the Auto Slushbox, this is one cool car. Ever notice how many survivors are automatics? Owned and preserved by non-enthusiats.

  3. When i was in Germany use to Thumb around and road in a few of these they road rather stiff. I also drove a Opel GT fun car but the one i drove had raw gas fumes in the cabin.

    1. if the gas fumes knocked you out on the rhine road, you could have rowed around a bit

    2. Drove the GT in the states

  4. Began it's life in Millinocket, Maine, hey, I have been there. Very far from Houston..

    Nice car.

  5. I was googling around for Manta A battery specs for an Opel I bought in 2014, on an eBay auction from the San Diego area. Lo, it's my car!! Nice article. It is truly a survivor - it's actually a relief that it has a number of love taps and dings around the bumpers, etc. It's not like having to protect a restored car - so far, (despite too many hyphens for grammar police) I've had to fix the shift gate on the transmission, so that the various lockouts work, replumb the vacuum lines, fix turn signals, horn relay, blower fan, and rebuild front calipers, which were getting rusty. I'm a 14-plus car Opel veteran, and can work on these in my sleep. I just wish I had the parts I sold 20 years ago. Largest expense so far was about $3500 to ship car to east coast. Car was $2700 new, so how things change. Headliner's seen better days, but as with everything else on the car, it's better left alone than renewed. It's very complete. Even though it's now tagged in MD as historic, I want to get it into the state to pass a state safety inspection, just to know it's there.
    I figured this is one of the last chances to pick up an example like this. I've put maybe 10 miles on it since fall of 2014. It's got just over 50K.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.