It was only a couple of months ago that we spotted a Manta 400 in the classifieds. With its Group B rally pedigree and fantastic 80's styling it had us at hello - but it was also £84,995. Which is rather a lot. What if, though, for a fraction of that amount, you could purchase a sliver of the Manta magic to call your own?
With a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine putting out 112hp and 119lb ft of torque, the Manta GT/E may not boast the same power as the 400, nor the same flared arches and aggressive stance, but its 1,060kg weight meant that 0-60 took a fairly respectable 8.5 seconds and top speed was 120mph.
Speed wasn't even the Manta's main attraction, though. It's chassis setup was famously superb, meaning that it couldn't be touched when it came to ride or handling; certainly not by the Ford Capri, which relied on a Cortina-derived platform for its underpinnings. Where the Capri had the edge on engine choice and outright performance, the Manta's lead in dynamics and engineering lasted right till the end.
Which makes it all the more surprising that, when we last saw a GT/E on these pages, Matt was lamenting the fact that, unlike the Capri, Mantas didn't seem to be enjoying much of a renaissance. Whilst the Fords were going for over £10,000, the Manta languished below £3k back then. Today's is listed at a comparatively lofty £4,800 - although it does have nearly half the mileage of the previous car and, of course, Capris have also enjoyed a healthy price bump of their own over the same period.
But nevermind, because underappreciation of the Opel means someone else's loss can be your gain. This example looks to be in great condition, as you'd hope for a car of such relatively low mileage. It's recently had the front calipers rebuilt, along with new discs and pads, new fuel tank, pump and lines, new shocks and springs and about every kind of oil you can think of. The interior looks to be in great nick and the seller even makes a point of highlighting that everything on the dash, right down to the cigarette lighter, still functions as intended.
So, as prices of fast Fords climb ever skyward, the Manta GT/E looks more and more of a bargain. As a dynamically excellent 80s icon, it may not stay that way forever, though. Catch it while you can.
SPECIFICATION - OPEL MANTA GT/E
Engine: 1,979cc four-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 112@5,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 119@3,400rpm
First registered: 1987
Recorded mileage: 35,000
Price new: £6,444
Yours for: £4,800