In 1982 I found myself studying at Paderborn University, Germany as part of an exchange programme from Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham, England not far from where my cousins lived, one weekend I hitched over to visit them to find that one of them had bought a ten year old Opel Manta similar in colour to the ’73 model seen here at the Atwell Wilson Motor Museum, but with the bigger 90 hp motor and if I am not mistaken a vinyl roof.
On the Sunday my 19 year old cousin kindly offered to spare me the hitchhike back and gave me a lift in his car, not only that but he pulled in at a service station on the A44 Autobahn and let me drive the car the rest of the way back to college.
It was an unforgettable drive, the first time I had driven on the wrong side of the road, the first time I had driven a car with a gear stick on the wrong side and perhaps most importantly the first time I had legally driven at an indicated 165 kph ! Just over 100 mph.
The experience was terrifying, thrilling, liberating and mesmerising in equal measure, I did not want the journey to end, not unlike the early techno pop song Kraftwerk song Autobahn.
Opel’s fastback Manta was based on the more mundane saloon / sedan Opel Ascona though it was actually launched in 1970 some months before the bread and butter Ascona model.
Manta’s and their drivers are popular objects of fun in German culture with drivers being characterised as wearing shades, that why Manta’s need 8 head lights, gold chains the only thing that remains when a Manta burns and having red rally stripes on the walls of their garages because Manta drivers forget to pull their arms in when driving into said garages.
The first series Manta was in production up until 1975 with examples being sold in the United States through Buick Dealers. I don’t think you need to understand too much German to understand how the Manta was marketed in this link.
Thanks for joining me on this Manta edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
PS Don’t forget …
Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz
Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards
Set 1 Sports & GT Cars
Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition
Set 3 1934 Season
Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s
Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars
The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.
Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.
The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.
Which set will you choose ?
The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.