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Low Mileage 1973 Opel Manta

This 1973 Opel Manta has reportedly only traveled a genuine 31,000 miles. It is a clean looking car, but it will require some work to make it immaculate. You will find it listed for sale here on eBay. Located in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, it is offered with a clear title. The seller has set a BIN price of $3,500 on this Manta. There must be some interest in this car because at the time of writing there were 67 people watching this car on eBay.

The seller claims that he is the second owner of this car, but by my reckoning, he is actually the third owner. The original owner traded it to a dealer in Iowa who retained the car for an extended period without ever driving it, and the current owner purchased it off that dealer. The claimed mileage is something that I would hope that can be verified. The car looks nice and straight and presents really well. There is rust just beginning to appear along the lower rear quarter panels and in the spare wheel well. There is also some rust beginning to appear under the battery, but most of this should be able to be addressed fairly easily.

This is the big ticket item when it comes to rust on this Manta. This is where the front sub-frame bolts to the car and this really must be addressed, and addressed properly. This is not the sort of work that should be carried out by an amateur as improper repair will have some serious ramifications in the event of an accident. This sort of rust would make me give the rest of the underside of the car a very serious inspection.

The interior looks generally like it has copped its fair share of UV rays over the years. The top of the rear seat is badly sun-rotted, while the headliner is also torn. The front seats will need new covers and the dash has several cracks in the pad. The car has been fitted with an aftermarket radio/cassette player, but the original radio is included in the sale. The door trims and the remainder of the interior plastic trim appear to have survived okay.

Under the hood is the 1900cc engine, and in this case, it is backed by an automatic transmission. The seller states that the car runs and drives well. The only real deviation from standard revolves around the carburetor. Apparently, the original Solex unit died, so it was more economically viable to replace the standard unit with a Webber downdraught carburetor. Looking around the engine bay reveals a few corrosion spots (including on the hood) which may indicate that this Manta has seen its fair share of wet environments.

The Opel Manta wasn’t imported into the USA in huge numbers, so finding them for sale today is becoming more difficult. On the face of it the price of this particular example is probably a little higher than it should be, but for me the work required to rectify that rust under the car, along with bringing the interior up to scratch just seems to me to be a bit more than I would want to take on with this car. I hope that I’m wrong because for all of its faults it is quite an attractive little car.

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Those rusted front frame stubs were the cause of many junked Dopels, it’s a tough fix. And the Sloex [sic] wasn’t replaced because it was worn, they were junk from the get-go. I replaced several with Autolite Pinto carbs, with much better results. I had great luck with Opels, they were very popular until the Asian cars hit the scene. It was bye-bye for the German Opel. Nice find, but I’d find one in S. Cal. before I bought one from the Badger.

    Like 6
    • Howard A Member

      And another thing, no way on the mileage. Somebody drove this Opel 131K miles. They were good cars and could do it.

      Like 3
  2. Jeff

    Nice looker, but that rust worries me. And if the mileage is true, it’d be a shame to pull the drivetrain, but I wouldn’t want that engine or an automatic. I’d dive in if I won low bid and do a swap, though.

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK ken TILLY Member

      @Jeff. Even if you were an automatic enthusiast you really wouldn’t want this one as it’s a 2 speed and can’t pull the skin off a rice pudding if going up hill! My one friend had a Manta and another had a ’61Chev 2 speeder and both boxes couldn’t handle South Africa’s hill country.

      Like 3
      • Jeff

        Oh wow, I didn’t realize that. I hate Powerglides, so I’m sure I wouldn’t like that. Thanks for the education!

        Like 0
  3. George

    They did come pre-rusted from the factory. Okay, not really, but they do rust easily and that is what leads to the demise of most of them. Perfect, this might have been a $3500 survivor. With that rust, it might be closer to parts car depending on what the body shop has to say about it. And then there’s the automatic…

    Like 3
  4. Robert

    This car has a three-speed automatic, basically a miniature Turbo-Hydramatic built at a GM plant in Strasbourg, France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo-Hydramatic_180 The frame rail rust is a real killer on these Opels. It’s most likely 131K miles — I had many of them and they were capable of twice that if the rust was kept at bay. A base model, it’s probably worth thousands less than the asking price.

    Like 0
  5. Dave at OldSchool Rest

    An automatic… AND with plenty of Wisconsin road salt tooo…

    ………..nyet ! ! !

    Like 0
  6. Jeffrey Mitchell

    Just another nail in the coffin but these engines especially if its the 1.9 ltr are prone to cracking across the valve seats. It is a tad overpriced because of the rust issue but cosmetically its is quite a looker and welding is far easier and cheaper to do than major bodywork repair Another issue is believe it or not is rusting of the fuse connections in the fuse box, as Opel used the ceramic fuses with a metal strips at the time..And a big yes to a power transplant

    Like 1
  7. JoeNYWF64

    Roof should be LOWER.
    I notice these days with so many 4 doors & suvs, the way too high roofs on some models(even some 4 door sedans) make even full grown males driving sometimes have up to 2 feet of empty space between the tops of their head & the roof of the vehicle!
    To me, from not a far distance, it looks like the driver is 12 years old & i am lmao.
    Bad enough they are 4 doors.
    While most 60’s cars are properly proportoned & EVERY american car was available as a 2 door back then!

    Like 0

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