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Discussion Starter #1
tl;dr: Is this Manta A worth getting with the current rust condition? I don't mind waiting a bit to start major work in the future.

Hello members of the forum, this is my first time posting even thou I've hovered around before. As stated in the title I'm getting an amazing deal on a 1972 Manta A, however there's a fair amount of rust on the vehicle, I haven't dealt with rust before and I don't mind learning, but I don't want to have to give up half way because of it. I'm getting the vehicle with some expected work needing to be done (I'll post the sale description below). I'll also post some photos below of the vehicle when I inspected it. While I don't have the budget to start working on anything besides getting it to drive and run right now, this is a vehicle I would want to hang on to for a long while, and I don't mind sitting on it a bit before starting work, but that just means its going to keep rusting meanwhile. I would love any advice or opinions on whether its worth getting or not. The current owner says he knows a guy with a lot of parts for them so that might aid a bit if I need body parts and I conveniently live within 30 minutes of them both.

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This is under the front driver wheel well, its also visible front the
engine bay.
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I have videos of the under carriage inspection which I can link in the comment. Thank you for taking the time to read this, please let me know if I can answer any questions.
 

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Welcome to the world of old timer Opels! Where to begin, just looking at your pictures and videos...... well, for starters, this is a project, should you take it on, that will require you to become a welder, a fabricator of parts in sheet metal and steel. For starters.

Someone on this site a couple weeks ago linked a great on-going Manta A restoration series. By the looks of his video, all kinds of sheet metal is available to almost build the car from scratch. Almost. But the problem is, that sheet metal is over in Europe. Aside from engine and drivetrain parts that translate over from the GT, the only sheet metal I imagine available is via Opels Unlimited in CA and that is going to be used stuff, cut away from old Manta's. Here's that link to the Manta A restoration, view it with an eye that this is what you are going to have to do to repair the rust on this car you show here:
Subscribing to that fella's restoration is a must!

Buried inside this thread are a great number of GT restorations done on a rottisserie (sic) which is the only proper way to do this where you want to keep your car for many, many years. Viny Charbs GT restoration (his new screen name is Vincent) and Steve Daniels work on turning a GT into an Aero GT will give you an idea how these cars were brought back from the rust-death to a better-then-new factory restoration.

2200 dollars is a hoot. 500 might be more realistic, especially since it has the Rally instrumentation.

These cars suffered mightily from road salt killing the under carriage. Look again at the uni-body attachment points for the front and rear suspension. Good luck!
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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I would say "RUN AWAYYYYY!"

Rust in that below-the-battery area is the killer of these cars. The battery acid eats the firewall, floorboards, frame rails, fuse box. The whole front suspension pivots on a giant cast iron thing that pivots on either side of the tunnel near the shifter. Check those areas for rust. It's not easy or cheap to fix that stuff.
 

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Opel Rallier since 1977
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Rust: This car looks slavageable but it will take fab and weld skills or plenty of money.
  • Battery box area is gonna need a complete rebuild. That will take more than a battery tray; it will take some fabricated sheet metal pieces and good welding skills. I have rebuild one that bad but I've been welding on these cars for over 40 years. And the electrical fuse panel will be in bad shape from water.
  • The front passeneger side floor looks fair...mostly surface rust from what may have been a windshield leak.
  • The rear area all looks fine.
  • The C pillars looks OK; the rear window gasket looks to have leaked and gotten the package shelf repeatedly soaked and casue the surface rust back there.
  • The 2 critical areas that I did not get a good view of are: The front jacking points on each side; 1 of the them flashed by in a video; it did not look awful but it was not clear enough. The other area is the front subframes running down the firewall and under the car. If you can get back to this car; look at the front jacking points for deterioration/rust, and also for any metal bubbling on the inside or outside of each front subframe down to under the front floorboards. If these are in good shape, then the car has not suffered a lot from salt. It is just the battery box leak and general moisture from sitting wiht leak gaskets.
No way I would pay $2200 for this! NO way. It is ALL going to have to be pulled apart except for maybe the rear axle. This is just a probably salvageable shell and core parts. Assume an engine rebuild from the ground up. The electrical system looks ot need a complete rebuild. Please don't get the 215/T5 'project upgrade'.

FWIW, I got a similar car for $400 about 12 years ago. The 2 critical areas I mentioned above were very good so it was worth the fab work to repair the whole battery and left front inner fender area. I weld and fab so can afford it. If you can't, then this will be very expensive to repair. It is for a rally car so the interior parts and electrical were all stripped out anyway.
 

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RunOpel
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I would agree, that car is not worth more than $500 There is a lot of work and money involved. If it was me, I would keep looking until you find one with minimal body work. There are better cars out there, just be patient and diligent about searching. Good luck and glad to have you as a member :)
 

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Opel Rallier since 1977
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Just to give you an idea of the repair involved in that battery tray area, heree is a pix of my repair fo that same area. It took 6 seprate pieces of sheet metal cut, shaped and welded into that area; it is a complicated intersection of metal.
There were more repair pieces inside lower down in the corner of the floor board and inner fender, from where water had run down in that area via the battery tray; the car had set under a tree for over 10 years. The subframes and front jacking points were solid however, as it was a TX car and not exposed to salt.
 

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I can’t say mine wasn’t that bad, maybe a bit worse. I paid $550 for mine, it ran and drove without putting any money into it. I have been looking at that and thought about seeing it in person but I think he wants way to much. The v8 is fun but putting it in is not.
 

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Your Noble Friend ;-)
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This is for an experienced welder. If you just want to learn welding, take something that nobody will cry about when you throw it away in a couple of month, like a VW Golf or similar.
I agree to the $ 500 value of this one. For 2,200 I'm expecting a Manta that may have rust, but I drive it home on its own wheels and power for at least 500 miles distance without worrying.

Dieter
 

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Opeler
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What everyone else said! If you want to learn how to fix it, and you have the guts, go for it. Here is a link to another of Metod's videos:

I enjoy watching his videos, and I am excited to see how he finishes the Manta.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Welcome to the world of old timer Opels! Where to begin, just looking at your pictures and videos...... well, for starters, this is a project, should you take it on, that will require you to become a welder, a fabricator of parts in sheet metal and steel. For starters.

Someone on this site a couple weeks ago linked a great on-going Manta A restoration series. By the looks of his video, all kinds of sheet metal is available to almost build the car from scratch. Almost. But the problem is, that sheet metal is over in Europe. Aside from engine and drivetrain parts that translate over from the GT, the only sheet metal I imagine available is via Opels Unlimited in CA and that is going to be used stuff, cut away from old Manta's. Here's that link to the Manta A restoration, view it with an eye that this is what you are going to have to do to repair the rust on this car you show here:
Subscribing to that fella's restoration is a must!

Buried inside this thread are a great number of GT restorations done on a rottisserie (sic) which is the only proper way to do this where you want to keep your car for many, many years. Viny Charbs GT restoration (his new screen name is Vincent) and Steve Daniels work on turning a GT into an Aero GT will give you an idea how these cars were brought back from the rust-death to a better-then-new factory restoration.

2200 dollars is a hoot. 500 might be more realistic, especially since it has the Rally instrumentation.

These cars suffered mightily from road salt killing the under carriage. Look again at the uni-body attachment points for the front and rear suspension. Good luck!
thank you very much for your feedback and the provided resources, prior to seeing all the rust the price was reasonable, now as you said $500 is more realistic, I was checking that video out also and it was one of the reasons I decided to still consider it after all. My short term goal for this car would be just to get it to run and drive for a fun weekend car, I'd be hoping to stay within $2000 for that, although I would probably need to take measures to slow rusting down until I have the finances for a full rebuild. I'll make the offer before I start thinking too far ahead.
 

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Opel Rallier since 1977
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Just be aware the rust in the battery tray area and into the left front inner fender is structural. The main weight of the front half of the car is through the front subframes, BUT the force through the front subframes works into the body via the firewall. On the left side, that whole tray area is the part of the structure where the left front subframe transmits force to the body tub.

So beware, it will NOT be safe to drive like this. I have been racing these for over 40 years so know the force paths well. (And am an engineer by profession.) You're gonna bend the left front subframe and lower firewall up and back, and put some wrinkles in the tunnel that will become weak points in the future.

So please..... fix this area first. And before you buy, check out the front jacking points and the front subframes for rust. If they show any considerable rust damage, then the other rust is deeper.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just be aware the rust in the battery tray area and into the left front inner fender is structural. The main weight of the front half of the car is through the front subframes, BUT the force through the front subframes works into the body via the firewall. On the left side, that whole tray area is the part of the structure where the left front subframe transmits force to the body tub.

So beware, it will NOT be safe to drive like this. I have been racing these for over 40 years so know the force paths well. (And am an engineer by profession.) You're gonna bend the left front subframe and lower firewall up and back, and put some wrinkles in the tunnel that will become weak points in the future.

So please..... fix this area first. And before you buy, check out the front jacking points and the front subframes for rust. If they show any considerable rust damage, then the other rust is deeper.
Thank you very much, I will take your recommendations. I figure at this point I will keep looking as something else in better shape might pop up in the future, everyone made really great points and I think this might be more than I want to take on at the moment, as tempting as it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would agree, that car is not worth more than $500 There is a lot of work and money involved. If it was me, I would keep looking until you find one with minimal body work. There are better cars out there, just be patient and diligent about searching. Good luck and glad to have you as a member :)
Thank you, happy to be here, I'll continue the search
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You will find the right one and look back happily at not jumping on this one.
You're right, this was my intro to the classic Opel world, even though I used to live in Europe I never got into the modern designs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This is for an experienced welder. If you just want to learn welding, take something that nobody will cry about when you throw it away in a couple of month, like a VW Golf or similar.
I agree to the $ 500 value of this one. For 2,200 I'm expecting a Manta that may have rust, but I drive it home on its own wheels and power for at least 500 miles distance without worrying.

Dieter
That is ideally where I would want to start for that price too, I initially thought it was just setting up the transmission, draining the fuel and some engine work. But after my second inspection it was way more than what I had thought.
 

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RunOpel
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I think you made the right choice TaddBeta and like Ken said, later you will look back and be happy with your decision. Most of us that are not first generation Opel owners have had to look sometimes for a long time before finding the right Opel. Be patient and diligent in looking. If you want one sooner than later, then my best advice is to search as many resources that Opel's are available and search daily. Like we all know, first come first serve. Sometimes a little luck doesn't hurt. Best of luck and I look forward to hearing your success.
 

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Opeler
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You might try Opels Unlimited in SOCAL. I believe they are located in Perris, CA. Others on here can give you more info.
 
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