Yellow Fish – 1974 Opel Manta

For such an attractive, reasonably powerful sports coupe, competitive with a Ford Capri or Fiat 124 coupe, the Opel Manta receives a lot of scorn in its home country. The original car could be considered a Camaro equivalent for Europeans, and that could begin to shed some light on the scorn. If you ignore all the baggage Camaros carry, they’re actually a decent-looking, competent sports car, within the context of their time and what was going on at GM. And it’s the same for Mantas – while many were poorly customized in the 1970s and 1980s, they’re a neat little sports coupe whose design has held up very well over the decades. You can find this 1974 Opel Manta with bidding currently at $810, reserve unmet, and 15 hours left to go.

1974 Opel Manta left front

Yellow is a great color on a small 1970s coupe, and while one would think modern wheels would not work, they seem to on this car, perhaps because of the large aluminum bumpers. Either way, you’d probably do better finding some period wheels, like a set of Momo Vegas or Ronal A1 phone-dials. The car was the subject of a windows-out, engine-in paint job three years ago, and has been garage-kept since. It does have a few scratches, so you may have to use your paint blending skills to finish the exterior.

1974 Opel Manta interior

The interior looks great, from what is visible in the picture, although the bright yellow piping is a bit much for a non-exotic. It’s said to maybe need a steering wheel adapter, though it’s not clear why. It also might need a new speedometer, and various trim bits are missing. The seller says it’s 90% restored, but that just underscores that the final 10% is the hardest, with miscellaneous trim parts being the hardest to find, particularly if they’re specific to the American market version.

1974 Opel Manta engine

The engine is said to have been rebuilt, and the seals have been replaced, although it still leaks oil from the fuel pump and transmission oil pan gaskets. Inspect the car closely to see whether this is indicative of the restorer’s abilities, or whether it’s because it has not been driven much. The suspension bushings and brakes have also received attention, though it’s not clear how much.

1974 Opel Manta right rear

Unfortunately, there are no glamor shots showing the entire car with all panels closed and parked in a nice setting. That said, this looks to be a solid start, and a lot further along than most surviving Mantas. The seller mentions possibly throwing in a parts car, which might help with sourcing the missing parts. With the level of interest in the current auction, perhaps you can negotiate a good deal.

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