This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning

Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning

Welcome to Found Around Town, where we feature cars we find in a city where interesting ones are rare because everyone drives a Prius or rides a bicycle: Austin, Texas.

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Hey, weren't we just talking about captive imports? When was the last time you saw a classic Opel rolling in your city, let alone one that's in such great shape as this?

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Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning

I discovered this Opel Manta in downtown Austin near the fantastic Kung Fu Saloon, the bar where you can drink beer and play Street Fighter II or skeeball. The car was impossible to miss, even though it was sandwiched between two massive, boring Japanese crossover vehicles (who prevented me from getting better angles for my photos!)

Opels were sold through Buick dealers in the U.S. from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s. The Manta sports coupe was one of their best-selling models, even though its small, four-cylinder engines meant it lacked the performance to run with American muscle cars.

Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
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This one was a Manta A, the one made between 1970 and 1975, and as you can see from the badge, it's an automatic. Don't you love how cars used to have badges that bragged about stuff like that?

It's still a pretty great looking little car today. I do love the "Covert Austin" badges on the trunk — that's a dealer chain that's still around, so the car may have been bought here back in the day. Very cool. I give huge originality points to whoever drives this thing.

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Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning

My favorite thing about it is that especially luscious shade of orange. It may not be the original paint color, but damn if it doesn't look awesome. It certainly suits the car and makes it look quite aggressive, and easy to spot in a parking lot.

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Do you have any memories of old-school Opels in America? Any desire to see them come back?

Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
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Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
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Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
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Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning
Illustration for article titled This Opel Manta Is A Bolt Of Orange Lightning

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DISCUSSION

LandofMinos
LandofMinos: ...sent down to strike the unroadworthy!

Back in the late 90's, I was talking to a young German couple who moved to Australia. I asked them who are the worst drivers in Germany, the ones who annoy the most. They both unanimously said Opel Manta drivers. Complete and utter hoons they say.

My reply was, in Australia we hate Volvo drivers because they're so slow, gormless and get in the way. As well as being smug about safety.

That's when the Germans worked out that Australia is full of hoons. They said "Opel sold the Manta in the wrong country". I argued that our Manta equivalent, the Holden Torana hatch, had a 5.0L V8. The Opel didn't have a V8 and would've been panned here in Oz.

We argued about why a V8 is important to an Aussie rev-head. They tried to extol the virtues of a VW Bug and Kombie van and why they're cooler than a V8 powered anything... In an era of post grunge music about to enter the Emo stage, they still thought bands like Poison and U2 were still cool.

A few years later the couple are sporting a very cool and very hoonable Aussie '77 Falcon with a 351ci V8. 4 speed manual, loud twin 2.5 exhaust and Bathurst Globe mag wheels... "When in Rome" they say.