Buying Classics Abroad Opel Manta
Other rear-wheel-drive coupés are fetching big money and are being imported, so has the Manta’s moment also come? CCW investigates
Mantas aren’t being imported to the UK in any significant numbers at the moment. ‘I know of only two,’ says Simon Peckham of Suffolk County Mantas (07720 288928). ‘Both were Manta A models that came in from the States.’
It’s the vehicles’ comparatively low values, combined with a preference among UK Manta enthusiasts for right-hand-drive cars, which has kept the demand for imports low, says Simon. The high-performance ‘i’ models are exceptions to the rule but, generally, the Manta hasn’t been precious enough to import.
Simon looked at buying from South Africa a couple of years ago, but the values at the time didn’t warrant the expense. ‘Since then, though, there’s been a knock-on effect from the rise in values of Ford Escorts and Capris,’ he says, adding that enthusiasts aren’t necessarily looking for Mantas especially – they just want rearwheel-drive retro cars.
‘Seeing that Escorts and Capris have gone out of their price range, they’re discovering the Manta. Values of the A-series Mantas have almost doubled in the last couple of years and this makes the cost of importing easier to justify,’ he says.
You’ll find decent numbers of left-hand-drive Manta As and Bs in continental Europe, especially in Germany, and a smattering of righthand-drive models in South Africa – some of which look pretty decent (a dry climate pays dividends).
‘If I were buying overseas I’d try to source a right-hand-drive A-series from South Africa,’ says Simon.
The modifying scene for Mantas is absolutely massive in mainland Europe, but continental modifying tastes aren’t really like those in the UK. Over there, Manta fans usually like to build their cars themselves, so there will be demand for importing overseas project cars as well as ones in good condition.
For something a little special, try hunting down a variant that was never originally sold in our market.
A ‘Luxus’ model with a colourcoded interior made it to Ireland, for example, and a ‘Black Magic’ edition in continental Europe combined a 104bhp engine with a neat black and orange paint job.
Right-hand-drive conversion is possible, but would cost £2500£3000 plus the cost of parts (at Suffolk County Mantas) making it difficult to justify. Maybe one day, though…