Restomods are all the rage these days, particularly in the EV scene. To be honest I’m starting to tire of them. You can only rip apart a coupe from the ’70s and swap in an electric drivetrain and LED lights so many times before the whole cyberpunk charade starts to get really old.
However, the Opel Manta GSe ElektroMod is the lone exemption to that criticism, because it might just be the best looking of the bunch.
Opel first revealed the Manta EV project a few months ago. On Wednesday, we got our first look at it driving about in the flesh. The original four-cylinder is gone, replaced with an electric motor sending 147 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Strangest of all, the Manta has retained its four-speed gearbox in the conversion process, allowing the driver to row the gears in this EV — but only if they want to.
Now the driver has the choice of manually shifting the original four-speed gearbox or simply engaging fourth gear and then driving automatically; power is always transmitted to the rear wheels. The Manta thus remains a classic sports car – with an innovative, modernised drivetrain.
A 31 kWh battery pack is said to offer about 124 miles of range. Given this is a concept though, that’s not a certified claim.
Looking to the exterior, this Manta has been finished in Opel’s new fluorescent shade of yellow that is supposed to convey energy, youthfulness and all those nice things. The wheels have no business working on this car yet fit perfectly, the metallic slashes in the rim design echoing the shape of the LEDs at the front. The video above even hammers the techy retro vibe home with what is clearly the GameBoy startup tone at the 24-second mark.
Speaking of the LEDs, the black rectangular “face” of this Manta is actually one big screen. The Opel logo in the center can change to display other things — like “My German heart has been ELEKTRified,” according to the company’s press release. That’s a weird thing for a car to say and honestly, kind of ruins the idea now. Just please leave it to the lights and the logo — thanks.
A similar theme is repeated at the back, with rounded LED taillights protruding out from the surface in a striking way. It’s a good look, though the profile is even better. Restomods may be wearing on me in general, but perhaps Opel just had to remind us how awesome they can be when done properly.