Anti-2002 – 1972 Opel Manta

So yeah, BMW 2002s are taking off in value. And sure, they’re nice cars with an iconic design, but the general enthusiasm around them would suggest they’re the only cars in their category, when in fact, they aren’t. And what’s more is, if you look around a little, you can find some affordable alternatives from manufacturers in Italy, England, and Japan. So if you’re feeling a little left out on the current collector-car price explosion, don’t – there are plenty of options still out there, and some arguably more attractive than the 2002. Here’s one of those alternatives – this 1972 Opel Manta, for sale for $1200 in Pueblo, CO.

1972 Opel Manta front

Orange and flat black are great for an early 1970s rally-style theme. Those foglights look like they’re sourced from aviation, and do nothing to dispel the notion that this car would be fun for some late night carousing after the bicyclists are all off the narrow mountain roads. Then all you have to worry about is deer, skunk, and raccoons, and whatever other furry things your corner of the earth has been blessed with.

1972 Opel Manta right rear

This car was clearly designed while there was a Dino coupe parked outside the window, or at least something else curvy and Italian. The car overall looks straight, and there seem to be some oxidation and crustiness present on these admittedly low-res photos. But hey, at this point $1200 won’t even get you a complete 2002 in many cases. The car is said to start and run, but to need a radiator.

1972 Opel Manta interior

The interior looks complete, although the shredded seat cover suggests trouble underneath. Fortunately, there’s an Opel hoarder in Riverside, CA that might be willing to sell you a good seat or perhaps some replacement upholstery. Failing that, there’s a broad base of Manta nuts centered in Germany, the Manta being Germany’s Camaro (in good and bad ways).

1972 Opel Manta rear

But wow, that rear end – greenhouse gently sloping down and widening out over the fenders, lip spoiler rear deck over quad round tail lights – again, it’s like someone was looking at Italy’s playbook. And with the 1.9-liter engine putting out just over 100hp, you should be able to hold your own in this car’s class.


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16 Responses to “Anti-2002 – 1972 Opel Manta”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    These used to be common when I was a kid but I haven’t seen one in person in probably close to 30 years. I had my moments of frustration and rage trying to get the Solex carb on my GT to behave in a proper carburetor manner but I never succeeded. That’ll be an issue with this Manta also.

  2. Rich G Says:

    I tried finding one of these as a spare car in the late ’80’s, and running examples had pretty much all disappeared here in central Ohio. I always liked the look of these and in their day they were pretty cool cars.

  3. Chris Says:

    Is this car still available? I had one in my earlier years and miss it. I t would be fun to pick up and restore.

  4. Chris Keen Says:

    WTF on the listing, the seller seems to have replaced the complete Opel listing with one for a Chevy Suburban. The contact name is the same, though, so you might still have some luck calling him.

  5. steve in podunk Says:

    Dealers have to pay $5 for a listing, so he recycled the ad spot for another vehicle he has to sell. We do that too.

  6. Mark Says:

    Does anyone have this guys Number.. I would like to buy it.

    • Chris Alviani Says:

      Hi Mark, I have this car now. I got it off a guy in Colorado 2 years ago. He bought it and did nothing with it. It’s not for sale and its fully restored. Hope you find one for yourself.

      • Lynn Wilson Says:

        Chris, I hope you see this.

        My name is Lynn Wilson. I bought this Manta new from Wilcoxson Buick Cadillac GMC on October 6, 1972. I am so glad you have restored the car. I really loved that car, but moving over the years from Pueblo to Cheyenne, to Saint Louis, I had no place to keep it. Does it still have the header, Weber, Iskandarian cam and solid lifters, and Cibie high beams? How about the 8 track? I hope you enjoy the Manta as much as I did. BTW, it won many autocrosses in its day.


  7. Chris Says:

    Hey Lynn, how can I get in touch with you? Chris

  8. Lynn Wilson Says:

    Chris, my email is lew240zATdslextremeDOTcom


  9. Jerry Says:

    Hi Chris,

    I just watched the interview on USA Today and wanted to tell you that it’s a fine example and you did a great job restoring it, it must have been hard sourcing some of the parts…
    Did you widen the track front and back to accomodate the bigger wheels and being a 72, what’s the power output now? If I remember correctly, the original figure was 83SAE HP because of the reduced compression ratio of the U.S.1.9 L engine.
    I’ve got a Manta and GT myself and if can show you some pictures if you like.


    • Chris Alviani Says:

      Hi Jerry, thanks for the kind words.
      To answer your questions:
      Getting parts isn’t too bad, I live in L A and there are 2 sources in Cali that I deal with.
      One is “Opels Unlimited” in Riverside,CA. they have new and many used parts of different quality. Prices can be all over the place and sometimes hard to get a hold of.

      One is “Opel GT Source” in Nor Cal. They are more structured with a price list and normal hours. More new parts and less used parts.

      I did nothing to the track width. Just rolled the fender lip to prevent rubbing and cutting. The wheels are plus 20 offset and 15″. It’s been lowered 1,5″ by cutting springs. Th rear springs are from an Ascona wagon for stiffness. Orange Koni’s all around.

      Motor is stock for now. Just started to build a 2.0 with 9.4:1 for 110 hp or better.

      So, where are you located? Send some pics.
      You can contact me direct if you want.

      (661) 212-4014

      • Jerry Says:

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks for your reaction, I lowered my Manta a little bit as well by cutting the springs with red Konis. The GT sits lower with yellow Konis with Koni springs as well.
        I can’t show any pics in this comment thread, I’ll send you some if you give your e-mail.

  10. Chris Alviani Says:

    Jerry, just call me. My number is in the last response.

    • Jerry Says:

      I’m actually located overseas in Holland, so that’s bit complicated. My e-mail is jeroenhakkersAThomeDOTnl. If you send me a message I can show you the cars. Thanks Chris

  11. Jerry Says:

    Hi Chris,

    I e-mailed you a reply on february 23rd with pictures. Did you receive them ok?


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