Mini Muscle Barn Find: 1972 Opel Manta Rallye

Made by German company Opel and brought to the United States with General Motors in the ’70s, these cars are hard to come by these days.  This car was stored away for 25 years by the original owner and has low mileage! It is up for sale here on craigslist in Huntington Beach, California with the asking price of $4,995.

The original owner says that they put this Opel in storage 25 years ago, and at the time it was still running.  It’s hard to imagine why someone would put a car in perfect running condition away for so many years, and the owner doesn’t explain why they did this either.  The ad states that the car has low mileage, but nowhere in the ad is the actual mileage listed, so who knows! “Low mileage” means a different thing to everyone these days.  There’s clearly some important information missing from the ad, but the seller does have a lot to say.

There are no engine pictures included in the ad, and this is the only interior picture.  The seller of this Opel states that while the engine is not currently running, they did a compression check, and they think that all that is needed to get the car running is a valve adjustment. Since this is the only interior picture, I think it’s safe to assume the upholstery (and maybe the rest of the interior) needs some work as well.

Included in the ad is this picture, which looks like it was an ad back when the Opel was the second best selling import car in America after Volkswagen, of course. This picture can give you a good idea of what this Opel might look like if it was fully restored.  The seller is also including lots of extras with the car.  Overall, this car looks pretty rust free and since the seller is the original owner, this might be a good buy for an Opel fan out there.  What do you think?  Have any of you ever owned an Opel?

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  1. Paul

    Odometer shows a little over 45,000 miles. Nice Hurst shifter.

    • Jorge

      I say that too. But being a 5 digiti odometer it could have rolled over once or twice.😊

  2. Fred W

    Had one, a ’73 Manta Luxus. First car I ever bought “on time”. Great car for the two years I had it.

  3. Michael

    Always thought these were great looking cars. My buddies Mom had one in dark blue with black interior. It was sharp.

  4. Howard A

    I’ve had 3 Opels myself, and friends and family had many more. They were very popular for a spell. I had a’67 Kadett wagon, a ’68 Kadett Rallye, and a non-Rallye Manta like this. Aside from gauges and ( worthless) driving lights, the only difference mechanically in the Rallye, was a different axle ratio and the early ones had twin carbs. The 1.9 is a strong engine, the “cam-in-head” design is very durable, but there’s better 2 liter motors (a BMW 2002 will eat this for lunch, trust me, I know) On several 1.9 Opels, I swapped a Pinto Autolite carb to replace the junk Solex with much better results. Also, dealer support was almost non-existent, as Buick dealers always felt it took business away from Buick, the Isuzu Opels even worse. As with most Opels ( even California ones) the front stubs that hold the front suspension on to the unibody rust, and the car is toast. For the record, it’s just a Hurst “T” handle on top of the sloppy Opel ( and later Chevette) shifter. Looks like you get everything you need to be an Opel collector here. I’d have to think parts are non-existent for Opels. They were 40 years ago.

  5. Frank Sumatra

    All that is missing is the “Poor Man’s Corvette” trope

    • George

      That was only for the GT.

  6. Don Holt

    That Hurst knob makes it faster 🤣

  7. Mike

    Last one I’ve in person? It’s gotta be in the 80’s. Just like most Japanese compact cars from the 70/80’s, they use to be everywhere and then they disappeared off the face of the earth just like that.

    • George

      Most of them oxidized off the face of the earth…

  8. Derek

    Very pretty cars when fixed up. I don’t get comments about power on all these postings who would want to hot rod any classic car leave that to the boneheads in their modern plastic bubbles.

  9. Bruce Dubrow

    I owned a 1974 Opel Manta Luxus and drove the wheels off this one for 10 years, Silver with burgundy velour interior, crank sunroof and this coupe would run forever. Started my family with that car, and still have the trunk emblem.

  10. Bruce

    I owned a 1974 Opel Manta Luxus and drove the wheels off this one for 10 years, Silver with burgundy velour interior, crank sunroof and this coupe would run forever. Started my family with that car, and still have the trunk emblem.

    • tje

      I had a 75 – with a fuel injected 1.9l and 4 speed. I drove it for 10 years and sold it… Fun car really

  11. Del

    Shifter handle worth more than car

    If its not running then ask less than this

  12. scottymac

    Never trust a seller that doesn’t know the difference between “horizontal” and vertical. (See Craig’s list ad, gauges.)

  13. Mikestuff

    I had a friend from about 7th grade up, when my parents bought a new house in his neighborhood, 2 houses down. We were friends for a long time.
    Early 70’s, he’d been to Vietnam and was back (medical reasons got me out). When he was back, we sort of became friends again and he went out one day with his dad and bought a new one of these, 1972 I think. White with blue interior, IIRC. It was cool looking, quick, fun to drive (the one time he let me drive it !) and he really liked it. We kind of lost contact over the years, I married, had kids and about 10 years later, I heard from his mom that he’d died of liver cancer, of all things. He was 34, never married. And he’d not only owned a cool car, he did more with his life than I did. I’ll stop now before I get too maudlin, although I may have passed that point already.

  14. Uncle Bob

    Had a Rallye in the mid 70s in the orange color, really enjoyed it.
    We each have our own hot buttons (or maybe cold in this case), but that cheapo Pep Boys add on sunroof ruins this or any other car they were hacked into. Unless you really like trying to repair a big hole in a large flatish thin metal panel along with the headliner replace……………….nah!

  15. sluggo

    oooohhhhhhhhh the memories! We had one of these! As a teen I would sneak out and drive it when my parents were not around, Was a great little car. My dad used it as a commuter car as we lived in the Columbia River area in the country while he worked downtown in the city. ( Long commute back then).
    He bought it in the 1970s for the fuel economy. His coworkers did not like it and stuck a bumper sticker on it. “This car is NOT abandoned” for the parking garage.
    We finally sold it to the wreckers because it started leaking oil badly and he couldnt find anyone to replace all the gaskets and seals affordably and I was too young at the time to trust me with the task. I was sad to see it go.

  16. Pontiactivist

    I used a lime green with black interior one of tgese as a field beater when i was an early teen. 12- 13 years old maybe. Learned to drive stick shift in that car. Brings back memories of days long gone. Lol. Haven’t seen one in years.

  17. Doug

    For the record, Opel is GM of Germany, as Vauxhall and Holden are GM of England and Australia, respectively. Back in the early 70’s, I was the person who put many of the smaller Opel parts in stock. I was shocked at the poor quality of some of the engine components for the smaller engines, like the 1100. The valves were crude sand castings, usually the heads were lopsided on both the upper and lower surfaces, and then just spun in a lathe to get a concentric seating surface. Just another reason that very few of the older Kadett models exist today – they were bult to be cheap transportation for those who wanted something a little more modern looking than a beetle, in a country still struggling to re-industrialize after the devastation of the war.

  18. Gay Car Nut

    Another awesome Opel Manta find. Assuming all the parts and components are there with the car, I can see this being an awesome restoration project, or even a restomod.

  19. Daryl Nelson

    I bought one in 83 for 200. Smoked like a downed fighter plane and was the ugliest pale white anybody ever saw. Replaced one valvetrain rocker…cleared right up and ran perfect. applied some compound and watched in amazement as it turned to the shade of yellow in the above ad. After cleaning and polishing, tuneup up etc. Found it to be damn near showroom perfect inside and out….ran awesome for 5 years. One extremely cold morning I stepped on the clutch and ‘Bang” it failed. Being so damn cold and was looking at another ride at the time, I called a friend that been after it for some time. Gone for a grand. [Found out later the clutch issue was the 50 cent C-clip that held the cable stedy in the firewall] He popped one on and ran it for another 5.

  20. Beatlepat

    For some reason every Filipino family I saw back in the ’70’s had an Opel. Popular car on the islands, maybe? Anybody?

  21. lilgerman

    Way back in the 80’s, in Germany, I drove a terrifically beat-up VW bug. Loved that car and we had lots of fun in town…and on the Autobahn, pedal to the metal, all day long.

    BUT, the cars that really made me jealous were the early 70’s Opel Manta GT/E and the Ascona when kitted out with the rally stuff….very sharp looking little cars.

    Never cared for the Opel GT, however. Ugly little croaker.

  22. Maestro1 Member

    Either the Seller wants to really sell the car or not. Price too high, not enough pictures to make some kind of choice about it. They are wonderful cars, lots of fun, watch for the rust, try for a lower price.

  23. Graham Line

    Longer gearing on the non-Rallyes made them good highway cruisers. Don’t see half of the asking price here. Parts are scarce but can be found. Excellent handling and very solid construction.

  24. Mac

    Darn near identical to my first car, a 1973 Manta Rallye also in Chrome Yellow that I bought brand new. Good choice for an affordable, economical and stylish car with better reliability and handling than the Pinto or Vega alternatives then available. Along the way I upgraded the wheels, tires, shocks and exhaust system for a bit more driving enjoyment even though it certainly was no muscle machine power wise. Would love to own another someday but good ones are tough to find or restore. And by the way, the Manta name was not applied to this model until the 1973 models. The one for sale was known simply as the Opel 1900 Coupe.

  25. Wayne

    A guy in our area ( northwest Chicago suburbs) had one that was lowered, fat tires and a 302 Ford under the hood. I thought the was one of the coolest cars in the area. I have always liked the body style. Kind of like a smaller Ford Maverick. ( l like the body style also. )

  26. Roy Grinnell

    I’ve had my ’74 Opel Manta Rallye (bright blue 4-speed) since 1975. It was our (wife and me) first car, before we were married. It was one of the few sporty small cars (sports coupe) available then.
    It’s been parked inside for a couple decades now, waiting for new fuel lines and a Weber carb upgrade from the rebuilt Solex junk, but it still looks nice. The tach was a nice addition from the base or Luxus models. I always loved the way it drove and cornered with upgraded wheels and tires, very tossable, but it was always a bit low on power. I have hopes of getting it going before too much longer.

  27. Gerard

    Worked 27 years for GM/Opel here in Europe and am member of Opel Classic Club de France. Write if looking for classic Opel parts or info:
    Pix: my buddy Raymond Durand always way up there at Rallye Monte Carlo Historique with his Kadett GT/E: loads of fun!

  28. Jeff

    Here on Barnfinds you’re always talking about the “small” Opels (GT, Manta, Kadett, etc.), but there are also the bigger ones, such as the Rekord/Commodore for example. By the way, parts are easy to find here in europe. Some pictures for you.
    1. Opel Rekord C Coupe

    • Mac

      Cool looking models you posted. Too bad GM never imported some of them to the USA.

  29. Jeff

    2. Opel Commodore A

  30. Jeff

    1. Opel Commodore A

  31. Jeff

    4. Opel Rekord C Caravan

  32. Gerard

    Dudes: how about the ’90-’94 Omega Lotus then? 377PS, 3 liter in-line 6, 4-valve, 2 turbos…and a Corvette trans!
    Total understatement; but a cool British Green paint…


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