1985 Opel Manta – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

There are a number of things that are maximum ‘80s. You could dance with a pipe wrench like Go West. There’s Gordon the Gopher. You could watch people being pranked by Jeremy Beadle. Or, you could drive an Opel Manta, a car that is so ‘80s it makes shoulder pads and big hair look normal. 

We’re not saying this in a negative way though, not at all. We love the ‘80s and we love the Opel Manta, especially when it’s in coupe guise, like the car you’re looking at here. Low, wide, angular and fitted with a 1.8 engine delivering power to the back wheels, the Manta was hairy-chested car that commanded respect, because if you didn’t show it any, it’d spin you around or spit you into a ditch without batting a headlight wiper. 

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This car is a Manta B, meaning it was the second iteration of the model. Early cars were perhaps not as hard-edged or flamboyant, due to basically being a Vauxhall Cavalier coupe. In ‘81, however, the Vauxhall version was binned, allowing the Manta to stand on its own. Not only that, it was given a facelift, which saw it get a deep-chinned front bumper, new alloy wheels and if specified, a tall rear spoiler. The Manta, at this stage, was sold as an out and out sports car, and we loved it. 

And so too did the world of motorsport. In ‘400’ Group B guise, the Manta would be piloted to victory by legends such as Jimmy McRae, Ari Vatanen and Henri Toivonen. It was a serious rally stage weapon. And while the car here may not be one of the homologated 400 specification models, it’s still well worth your attention. 

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Cars built in the ‘80s were not built to keep rust at bay, and this was never more the case than with the Manta, many of which went the way of the scrap yard in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Those that survived either found their way onto the rally stage, they were modified to oblivion or, like this gorgeous ‘85 car, they were preserved and cherished.

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A non-sunroof car, this Manta 1.8S has just 18,000 miles on the clock care of just two owners. That said, one of those owners wanted a bit more grunt, as the car is fitted with a Piper 285 cam, Courtney ported cylinder head and an Ashley four-branch manifold system. It sits on new Toyo rubber, it’s got full service history, it’s on a set of new KYB shocks and it comes with all the original parts along with some GTE decals on the wings. Should the new owner want to go back to factory specification, they can with ease.

At £11,500, this Manta is a steal. It’s a near perfect example of one of the ‘80s finest coupes, and it’s drop dead gorgeous to boot. And when you consider something with a Ford badge would be twice the price, it starts to look like an impressive bargain.

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