During the 70’s and 80’s one of the flashy cars that caught my eye was an Opel GT. It looked like a miniature Corvette and I always noticed them when one drove by. But Opel also made a small 2+2 car like the Chevy Vega that was sold by Buick during the early 1970’s. This car—also known as Mystery Car 105—was the Opel Manta.
The 1971-1975 Opel Manta was the “Sport Coupe” version of the Opel “1900” chassis, shared also with the Ascona sedan and wagons. It was designed to compete with the Ford Capri of the early 1970’s, as a vehicle that offered outstanding road handling combined with some performance and economy.
The 1971-1975 Opel Manta
The telling statement in that paragraph is “some performance and economy.” You can paint a Manta bright orange to imitate the General Lee but in stock form it still never got better than a net of 81 hp and 12 seconds to 60 mph for the 1975 model year. While that’s nothing to write home about (so why I am I writing this article?), those who owned them were still impressed with the way they drove. One even said, “If BMW had wanted a $3000 dollar coupe, the Manta is what they would have created.” Not having driven one, I can’t really comment on the handling. But this is high praise indeed for a car from the 1970’s.