Sold - 1973 Manta A 1900 SR in Arctic White - £1750


After over a quarter of a century of ownership I have decided now is the time to bid farewell to my Opel Manta A series. I would like to have made this "a car for life", but times change and I can't face the pain of restoring it all over again, it is better that it finds a new home with an enthusiast who can cherish it for the rare example that it is. For the right person, this could be a nice, easy little summer project to fix up and sell on for profit, or collect some prizes at next year's shows.

Opel Manta for sale - a nice, easy little summer project


The Good Bits:

First of all let's consider the good bits, this highly original looking car has only 63,000 miles on the clock, that's the equivalent to an average of just 1500 miles per year. I am only the 3rd owner of the vehicle, the 2nd had the car for around 18 months and the original owner for over 10 years. It has always been kept in South London, the original owner was from Dulwich and the next from Beckenham. It has always been somewhat of a "garage queen" used only for high days, holidays and summer events for the majority of my period of ownership. Even at 40 years old it's still a head turning car, the bodywork would still rate as 6.5/10, with virtually no significant welding from new. I am regularly asked by passers by if it is for sale.

Opel Manta for sale - even at 40 years old it's still a head turning car
 

It had a bare metal respray in late 90s by former OMOC member John Sneddon, at the time proprietor of Brook Road Coachworks. In my opinion his workmanship was at a peak and it is a real credit to his care and attention to detail than nearly 15 years later the paint is still good. The only points of failure are where rust has crept through from underneath. Shortly afterwards he closed his bodyshop and went on to work on the Mercedes Benz McLaren SLK production line which gives you an idea of his standards.

As part of the respray new genuine GM wings were fitted and very tidy they are too. A pair like this would cost a small fortune (£500) at current prices.

The original Solex carb was rebuilt a couple of times but after repeatedly letting me down, I eventually replaced it with a rebuilt Weber carb and K & N Filter, a much more reliable and economic combination. I ran a Mini choke cable through to a little bracket I fabricated and fixed to the underside of the dash. Although clearly not a concours item, it is a very simple and effective solution to a thorny problem. I also installed a cheap disposable plastic fuel filter to keep and eye on the feed from the tank and to stop rust particles getting drawn into the carburettor. At the same time the fuel pump was replaced with an after market item, although there was nothing wrong with the original.

Weber carb and K & N Filter, a reliable combination

I also installed an original Opel GT alloy rocker cover, which stops the oil leaks that the original covers all suffer from. It can be polished up if you want a more custom look, I actually prefered it to look a little duller and more patinated, but hey, each to their own.

I had the original Rostyle wheels blasted and powder coated at Redditch Shot Blasting. They too did themselves proud and in spite of many years exposure to the elements they are in remarkably good condition. The correct original wheel centres and chrome nuts are fitted.

Being the SR model there is the long lived and low maintenance all black interior fitted, even the headlining is black on these models. The front seats have the extremely rare and desirable factory headrest option, which almost looks like the Porsche 911 seats of the same period. The original black carpets are fitted, the back being in better condition than the front, yes there is wear around the driver's foot well.

Opel Manta for sale - low maintenance all black interior fitted


There is a period radio in the dash, but it is not plumbed in, post respray I never wanted to ruin the bodywork with an aerial knowing what a rust trap it can create.

All the original fiddly chrome trim is present which can be so time consuming and expensive to replace. The correct badges are all in place and in quite good condition. The front grill is looking weathered, but I know a little work with T-cut can easily restore the gloss. The doors close with a solid clunk exactly as they should thanks to new door pins fitted. The locks can be a bit stiff, the single key is a copy and needs jiggling a little to work sometimes. There is a spare key that works better, but its soft plastic fob is cracking up.

I know of no issues with the mechanics, the engine still feels tight, it never used oil, it doesn't smoke, nor should it at this mileage. In use there was plenty enough poke to keep up with modern traffic, whilst returning around 33 mpg on an extra urban run. The clutch is positive and the gearbox tight with no sloppiness in the lever, the back axle was always quiet on this car.
The largest stock radiator has been fitted, as found on the later 2 litre cars, the extra water capacity stopped the car from overheating when I got stuck in motorway traffic jams. Last summer I replaced one of the heater hoses, which had developed a split. All the other hoses are serviceable and the majority of the clips are stainless steel, I have spare hoses available should you find any issues.

Various parts of the exhaust have been replaced over the years, the front pipe being the oldest and rustiest element of the system. The purchaser can have first refusal on a full stainless steel free-flow exhaust system, complete with original style SR twin tailpipe back box, for an additional amount.
The front brake callipers were professionally rebuilt some years back and refinished in cad plating, I also replaced some of the brake lines at the same time with copper.
The brakes all have plenty of meat on them and work well, disks and drums only have light wear.

The lights are all still in good condition with plenty of silvering and little or no rusting. The headlamp backing plates are very good, one or two were replaced a few years back.

SR model auxiliary gauges fitted above the transmission tunnel

Being the SR model there are auxiliary gauges fitted above the transmission tunnel. The Ammeter and Oil Pressure gauges are very accurate, the clock has never worked. I can offer the new buyer a similar looking round clock with a quartz movement that could be fitted in place of the original.


And now the Not So Good Bits:

OK, so it's not perfect, but what will you find fault with? Bodywork is probably the item that most people will be concerned about so I will deal with that first.

The bonnet was quite presentable a year ago, but recently it has rust blistered through where the bracing underneath must have been trapping moisture. Given the thin gauge of steel used in my opinion it is beyond repair, but luckily, I have a spare sitting in the garage. The spare isn't brilliant, but it would fill a gap till something better came along.

Other typical Manta weak spots are rusting, there are some small holes on the sills midway below the B post that need patching up.

The door bottoms need re-skinning on the leading edge where it meets the front wing, this has been done once, the rest of the door bottoms are still looking presentable though.

Both lower rear quarter panels will need attention, either a patch or one of the replacement sections.

Behind front bumper, where the headlamp panel meets the lower front valence and the two sheets of metal overlap, water has got into the seam and caused some rusting. I would imagine that only a patch is required, the valence itself is still presentable.

I found a split in the battery tray, to keep the rain out a made an alloy patch and stuck it in place with sealant. It worked well and can be easily unpicked for a full repair in due course.

There were a few other small blisters hear and there, bear in mind that this is a 40 year old car, if you attack it with a screwdriver, no doubt you'll find some more areas of corrosion. But also remember that most of this cars peers have been recycled into fridges and washing machines at least once over during the same period. Waxoyl was sprayed into the sills, chassis rails, back valence  and  wheel arches many years ago. It is testament to how effective it was by the way you can now see which areas got missed first time round.

Very original style 185/70 x 13 tyres are currently fitted, the tread is still acceptable but there is a lot of sun cracking. I will include 3 x 165 section tyres and 1 x 185 section tyre in good condition to get you going and use as you see fit.

The passenger seat has a small mark on the squab which looks like a cigarette burn, the driver's seat has a split on the squab where the foam has sagged. The foam on both front seat is oxidising, I have seen it happen on lots of Opel Manta A series. The rear seat is in good condition, there is a tiny split appearing where sunlight through the back window has cooked the plastic.

The horizontal bright trim on the door panels and rear panels has lost its shine. The bright trim on the windscreen seals has gone dull and milky in appearance, but I can supply a replacement strip that should do one screen at least.

The front dash has a split through the plastic and some of the metal around the bottom is corroding.


Inspection, payment, collection or delivery:

There is no MOT or tax on the car, but it does start and drive around reliably, this is not some immobile hulk.

It was manufactured in March 1973, so under the old regime it wasn't eligible for historic vehicle status and therefore free road tax, apparently this is changing next year and vehicles of this age will become eligible.

You are welcome to call to inspect the car, I suggest you arrange to do this as soon as possible, I already have a pre-arranged list of buyers and will be contacting them to let them know the car is ready for inspection.

I am located in London, a few miles from the M25 Junction 6, from there you can go almost anywhere in the country quickly outside of the rush hour.

I can also offer low loader delivery to any part of the country South of the Pennines as a "loss leader" for £149. Alternatively bring your own trailer to collect, I can help with loading, you will be able to drive it on a trailer anyway.

Unless I know you personally, you will need to settle payment in full prior to collection, or bring cash on the day and we'll deposit it at the bank together. Obviously I will provide a receipt for your purchase, please bring the appropriate ID. The vehicle will be described as "Sold as seen".

Sorry, no test drives unless you have trade plates and leave a cash deposit for the full purchase price.

Sorry, I will not be accepting offers from deposed Nigerian Presidents or Ministers, nor will I be shipping out of the UK, so don't waste time asking.

I am not a grouch though, if I have missed information you need, please contact me.


Conclusion:

I have attempted to describe this car as honestly as possible, I was an OMOC committee member for many years and still have a good reputation within the enthusiast network and would like to keep it. I would prefer this car to go to a club member or other enthusiast, it has survived through some tough times when so many others went to the scrap yard, but I do need to move it on now, please don't be a time waster or tyre kicker. If a suitable buyer doesn't come forward then I will advertise it through eBay, where, given the scarcity of spares it might even be broken for parts. Remember, it is a complete car and you won't have to spend the next 10 years searching for bits and pieces.

The Opel Manta A has always been a rare car to buy, people generally hold on to them for years. For this level of originality and mileage you will be waiting a long time before the next one comes along.
I heard that a recent "Barn find" Opel Manta A series sold on eBay for £2400, a totally unknown item, that didn't even run. If you think you can find a better car than this for less money, BUY IT!


UPDATES:

04/06/2014 - Offer accepted, deposit taken and sale agreed pending funds.
15/06/2014 - Payment complete, car collected and NOW SOLD.

2 comments

  1. Still for sale, john . Dublin.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nope, as per the updates, sold and collected 15/06/2014 then resold on eBay by the buyer, a weasel (allegedly) who lied about being an enthusiast but was really a dealer looking to make a fast buck.
    The last I saw it was at £2500 and rising, I couldn't bear to see what the auction closed at, too painful.

    ReplyDelete

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