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

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Theo Ford- Sagers

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…

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