What To Drive In '75: Manta or Capri?

In our last What To Drive In '75 episode, we saw the 1975 Ford Maverick Grabber beat the 1975 Oleg Cassini AMC Matador in the poll. Today we're going for an all-import matchup, though it's a classic GM-versus-Ford contest as well. The Opel Manta and Ford Capri were bitter sales rivals across the Atlantic, and both had sufficient sales in North America that they were not unfamiliar on our shores. So imagine it's 1975 and you need to buy a shiny new fuel-efficient-yet-sporty machine to drive a long distance to the Led Zep show (hey, it's the Physical Graffiti tour- you need the right ride if you want to groove properly on that 3-hour version of "Kashmir" later on!) So, what's it gonna be?


1975 Opel Manta Rallye

Illustration for article titled What To Drive In '75: Manta or Capri?

Anyone who's been following this site for a while knows that we like the Opel Manta (although, as the only Jalop who's actually endured Manta ownership, I'm not quite so affectionate about the little mini-Camaro from Der General's German factories). So here we go- you've stepped out of the time machine right in front of a Buick dealership, and you step into the showroom to price out a nice new Opel. Here's what you get:

  • • Opel Manta Rallye with 4-Speed Transmission: $3061.02
  • • Tinted Windshield: $23.97
  • • Sunroof: $107.95
  • • 4-Spoke Sport Wheels: $20.40

    Total Price: $3213.34 ($12,479.23 in 2007 dollars)

    1975 Capri 2800

    What To Drive In '75: Manta or Capri? Before you hand the Buick salesman your cash and zoom off to catch some self-indulgent Jimmy Page solos, better walk across the street to the Mercury dealership and scope out the '75 Capri. With the Capri's 2800cc V6, you got 109 horses to the Opel's 81 (and keep in mind that Ford's 302 V8 put out only 129 horsepower in '75), and parts were a lot easier to find. For a few bucks more than you'd pay for the Manta above, here's what you get with the Capri:
  • • Capri 2800 With 4-Speed Transmission: $3105.00
  • • Sunroof: $121.82
  • • Decor Group (includes console, simu-leather interior, map light, etc.): $152.56

    Total Price: $3379.38 ($13,124.05 in 2007 dollars)

    So make your choice, put on your finest polyester threads, and head straight to the car-stereo place to install an 8-track player (you'll need to listen to "Trampled Underfoot"- which probably cuts off in the middle of the song on 8-track- as you head out to the Zeppelin show).


I voted for the Manta, since I bought a Manta, Brand New, in 1976. It was a leftover at a Buick Dealership in Hartford (Pierce Buick) and they were just getting the horrendous Buick Opel by Isuzu by then. Mine was Green, with a Black Stripe, no sunroof, and paid about $1,500 less than sticker plus Tax and Registration. (I remember I didn't pay full price, and I also remember using the figure $1,500, as I did most of the time when buying cars, only now I say $1,500 under invoice!). This was the first and last year for Fuel Injection, and the parts were expensive. Pierce Buick also became a Honda store in 1975, and sold off the Buick portion in 1985.