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? tips@dailyturismo.com