1970s / German / Opel / Sunday classic

Sunday classic: Opel Manta GT/E Black Magic

Coupes typically have a shorter lifespan than sedans on the new car market.  This can be explained in a variety of ways on a case-by-case basis, but what it boils down to is that they are often image-boosting models that surf the latest trends both in technology and design.

Launched in September of 1970, the Opel Manta was starting to see its sales decline by late 1974. Opel wasn’t worried, it was putting the finishing touches on the car’s successor, but it decided to launch a special edition to help the last of the first-gen models vacate dealer lots. Called Black Magic, the car debuted in April of 1975.

As its name clearly implies, the Manta Black Magic was only available in black, a color that was never offered on the regular Manta.  To avoid ending up with a downsized replica of the Batmobile, the automaker added orange and yellow stripes on both sides of the car and on the front spoiler.  The Manta’s stock 13-inch steel wheels were painted gloss black and fitted with a chrome outer ring.

The front passengers were treated to Recaro bucket seats upholstered in black with orange and yellow inserts. Narrower than standard Manta seats, the Recaros added a sporty touch to the interior which was somewhat countered by a massive w123-like four-spoke steering wheel.

Opel did not apply any black magic under the hood and the car retained the regular Manta GT/E’s 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine.  It came standard with a four-speed manual transmission but buyers could order it with a three-speed automatic.  The mill made 105 horsepower and 112 lb-ft. of torque thanks in part to Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection system, sending the Manta from zero to 62 mph in 10.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 116 mph.

Opel built 850 examples of the Black Magic in 1975 before sending the first-gen Manta to the chopping block.  The special edition was only offered in Germany but the Manta was one of Opel’s first truly global cars: When all was said and done, 498,553 Mantas found a home in the United States and in Europe.

All images © Opel Classic Archive of Adam Opel AG

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2 thoughts on “Sunday classic: Opel Manta GT/E Black Magic

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  2. Pingback: Sunday classic recap | Ran When Parked

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