Illustration for article titled Whats The Rustiest Car Youve Tried To Save?
Photo: Lea Biderman
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

A friend of mine from Slovenia enjoys working on older German cars. A while ago Metod, a design student by day, successfully put the 16-valve M42 engine from a newer 3-series into a first generation 3-series, a base model E21. The surgery was a success and the patient lived to enjoy its days at a considerably quicker pace than with the standard issue eight-valve four-banger with which it left the factory.

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Having later sold the E21, Metod wanted to realize his lifelong dream of getting a first generation Opel Manta. There only ever were two generations of the Manta, the A and B, and the B is the all-mullet, party-all-the-time ‘80s legend familiar to us from German movies. The A is what Metod wanted, and it’s a far more subtle design than the later cars, with neat proportions and round lights front and rear.

As his daily driver Opel Vectra broke down badly enough to end up scrapped, Metod got into talks with the guy who came to pick it up and found out there was a red Manta A in his shed. It was in poor shape and not even for sale in the first place, but negotiations got underway and some time later Metod towed his future project home.

Illustration for article titled Whats The Rustiest Car Youve Tried To Save?
Photo: Metod Levart
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Fast forward to present day and Metod is in the process of restoring the barn-find Manta and documenting the work on his YouTube channel and on the FinalGear forums. But it’s fair to say there has been very little actual restoration work done, as so far Metod has been removing bits and pieces from the Manta to reveal rust, rust and more rust. Damn, it’s rusty. There’s so much flaky rot on the car it’s safe to say the roof is the best part and everything else is Weetabix.

Illustration for article titled Whats The Rustiest Car Youve Tried To Save?
Photo: Metod Levart
Illustration for article titled Whats The Rustiest Car Youve Tried To Save?
Photo: Metod Levart

Still, no matter how crunchy the Manta sounds every time he touches it, or how much daylight shines though the jacking points (seriously, check out the videos, it’s horrid), Metod is adamant he’ll carry on with the work. He’s acquired a great big bunch of replacement panels, both used and NOS, and he’s no stranger to making parts from scratch when needs must. Metod told me: “The main point is not just to make videos, but rather to perhaps motivate and show how I’d approach such a bad project car.” He’s certainly taking the manta ray by the horns.

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What’s the furthest-gone car you’ve laid your hands on with the intent of putting it right, instead of just scavenging it for parts?

Automotive writer based in Finland. Never paid more than two grand for a car. Currently drives a manual turbodiesel wagon.

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