The Opel Manta is a classic rear-wheel drive sports coupe. The model came on the market in 1970 and was built up to 1988 in two successive generations. The Manta was succeeded by the Opel Calibra. And we will come back to that. Competitors of the Opel Manta were the Ford Capri, the Toyota Celica and the Volkswagen Scirocco.
The one from the movie
Sometime last year we saw the most expensive Opel Manta we have ever seen in Germany. The bright green Opel was - documented - the protagonist in New Kidz Turbo, the film. We do not know whether it was sold for the asking price of € 60.000 +. But it has to be cheaper, even when you want to go for the top.
But and tight Manta for change? That time is over. But the fact that Mantas are still challenging to make them better / faster? It never passed.
The Opel Manta B
In 1975 the Manta B, the successor of the Manta A, came on the market. This successor was very different from its predecessor, both externally and internally. The new Manta B stood out because of its rather angular appearance, which was not immediately appreciated by everyone. In addition, the large air slots on the front are emphatically present. Such an Opel Manta is actually an Opel Ascona Coupé. But where the Ascona was already a smooth front-wheel loader, the Manta in 1985 was still a classic, rear-wheel drive car. In that year the Manta was for sale with a new 1800 cc engine and with the already known 2 liter four-cylinder. That 1800 cc engine was actually an enlarged version of the 1.300 cc from the Opel Kadett, the two-liter injection block was an old acquaintance even then. The old 1.900 block was good for 75 hp, the two-liter injector supplied 90 horses and the new 1.800 boldly participated with also 90 hp. The Mantas had a four-speed standard, but a five-speed gearbox was an option.
With that power, such a Manta was quite a smooth car and the handling was, despite the rigid rear axle, not disappointing. Only on cobblestones and such inconvenience did the (relatively heavy) rear axle tend to bounce. But the whole set-up made that you could turn such a Manta terribly hard across the corner. Fun!
The Manta B has gone down in history as the Opel model with the longest production time: it was produced 13 for years (from 1975 to 1988), mainly at the Antwerp plant (in the early years also temporarily in Rüsselsheim in Germany)
The Manta as a cult car
The Opel Manta has become a real cult car of the 20000s and XNUMXs. In Germany there are a lot of jokes about Sjonnie and Anita-like Manta drivers and there are also a few films made in which the car plays a leading role: 'Manta, Manta' and 'Manta, der Film'. With us, the Opel Manta car had a supporting role in the popular series The New Kids, New Kids Turbo and New Kids Nitro. An example of such a Manta Witz? One Manta driver asks another how he can best sell his car. The other Manta driver says “Just turn the counter back to XNUMX Km”. They meet later. “And have you sold your Manta? "" No, are you kidding, a car with so few kilometers I keep nice for myself ".
As a consolation for the Manta riders
Too bland for words that joke? Oh well in France they had their 'blagues' about the unsurpassed Citroën BX. Such as: “How many people are needed to assemble a BX? "The answer is 'four'. "Two to fold, two to stick". Or for the real Francophiles: Une BX c'est comme le SIDA, tout le monde en parle, mais personne n'en veut.
The Mantas in the photos are from Kees van Rumpt of Garage Hesselink, Citroën specialist in Dirksland.