The Opel Manta A was produced as a serious rival to Ford’s Capri and the European Pony car race had begun just six years after the Americans. The Manta was based on the Opel Ascona but with a new nosecone and well proportion body styling the Manta was born before the launch of the Ascona.
The Opel Manta A had engine options from 1.2 to 1.9 including the Berlinetta model with top of the line status. This clean and modern design was just what the seventies was looking for and it drove and handled better than the Capri and was sportier than the Ascona thanks to its coupe design.
The Opel Manta A is a bit thin on the ground these days with less than 1,300 still in existence and more than 70% of these are SORN vehicles so you won’t see many around anymore which is a real shame as the Manta was a real popular coupe in its time. Obviously with many Manta classic car clubs in the country it would definitely be worth visiting a car club show to take a look at some of the examples left.
There were two special models produced in the early seventies, one being the Manta Turbo with only 33 ever made, this is the rarest manta produced based on the Mata SR model but thanks to British Company Broad speed who designed and built the turbo Opel managed to increase the power from 90bhp to 156bhp allowing the Manta Turbo to travel to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds. The second special model was the Manta TE2800 which is the fastest Manta ever produced thanks to Transeurop engineering. With the help of Steinmetz who happen to work directly with Opel with tuning created the TE2800 despite Opel wanting nothing to do with this model. In fact all Opel badging was replaced by TE badging at the time. The car however produced 230 bhp.
The original Manta A is a hard car to find these days, as opposed to the Capri.
The Manta’s problem was of course rusting which is the main reason so little has survived. Sills are a common problem as drain holes get blocked and chassis legs under the bulkhead tend to rot as well. Other weal areas are jacking points and A posts, wheel arches and door bottoms so beware if buying.
The 1.9 engine is the best to buy but look out for blown head gaskets and oil leaks, if it overheats then the radiator is probably full of debris. Engines will run well for 150 thousand miles between rebuilds although are a bit noisy which is usual.
Brakes are strong and reliable but if the car isn’t used they will seize, so if the pedal is stiff it may need to be stripped down and greased. Interiors are hard wearing but replacement bits are hard to come buy much like exterior parts so bare this in mind. Electrics don’t normally cause any real problems as they a fairly basic.
In Germany the stereo typical Opel Manta driver was poked fun at as the Manta was seen as a low budget alternative to a sporty BMW or Mercedes for the less wealthy. Men who drove a Manta were seen as aggressive with low intelligence having a blonde bimbo as their girlfriend. We at Heritage do not condone this in any way, of course.
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“The sporty coupe was all the rage in the early seventies with modern styling of the time. The Opel Manta A fits this role perfectly although as the Ford Capri beat it to the launch it didn’t stand that much of a chance. Great all round coupe but falls under the radar.”