Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD (2021) in the seat rehearsal

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Why the people of Russelsheim absolutely have to consider this retro racer …

Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD (2021) in the seat rehearsal-elektromod

So-called restomods – cars with old and sometimes legendary looks, but brand new technology – have been pretty popular for quite a while. So you don't even have to go far back for current examples from the mod scene.

Take, for example, the company Kimera Automobili, which only announced last week that it wanted to bring the Lancia 037 back as a Restomod.

The problem with new vehicles with a classic look? Usually there are quite small businesses or even hobby workshops behind these converted or newly built models, which can only produce minimal quantities for affluent fans by hand.

The big corporations dare to marry consistent retro design with modern technology, on the other hand, is quite rare. Usually the wild fantasies of the concept cars make it in the end only as individual design elements of the past few days in the finished series products.

Picture gallery: Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD (2021): First seat test

Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD (2021) in the seat rehearsal-2021

The idea is not necessarily new

But there are exceptions. Think, for example, of Jaguar's experiment, to electrify the iconic E-Type. The response from customers after the premiere of the model with I-Pace-Technology in 2018 was overwhelming, so the manufacturer actually considered launching a small series. In the end, however, nothing came of it. No capacity.

Opel is now going a similar way as Jaguar. And the Russelsheim-based company is using a similar legendary vehicle: the Manta A., which started with a four-cylinder petrol engine over 50 years ago and has become a real icon for the brand with the lightning bolt.

Yes, Opel has now built the first Restomod in the company's history and after our first seat test in the Hessian parent plant, we sincerely hope that the electrical one-off called Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD will be a production model in the near future. In any case, the chances are good.

"The Manta GSe impressively shows the enthusiasm with which we build cars at Opel. It combines our great tradition with today's desire for emission-free mobility for a sustainable future worth striving for. Opel is already electric with many models – and now it's the legendary Manta too ", says Opel boss Michael Lohscheller happily about the neo-classic from Russelsheim.

An orange-red Manta from Opel Classic

But how did it happen? With the production version of the new Mocha For some time now, Opel has been showing us where we want to go in terms of design in the 2020s. The signs point to "Vizor" – this is what the manufacturer calls the part of the vehicle front that consists of the headlights and the grill. And this so-called "Vizor" has an optics model.

The design was based on the Manta A, creating a pretty handsome front section that goes down well with the Mocha. In addition, Opel also offers the model electrically. So why not go one step further and build a real Manta successor with an electric drive?

The idea was born and shared – with designers, 3D modelers, engineers, technicians, mechanics, product and brand experts. A donor vehicle was found quickly. An orange-red Manta A with a black vinyl roof from the Opel Classic collection.

Overall in good shape, but a little worn out. Still unrestored and with so much potential for development that the idea quickly took on further contours. The Opel management was inaugurated and there was a spontaneous green light from the very top for the ElektroMOD project.

Now – just a few months after the start of the project – the Manta GSe, painted in CI-compliant neon yellow, welcomes us with its so-called "Pixel Vizor" through animated messages such as "My German heart has been ELEKTRified" or "I am on a zero e- mission". A nice gimmick with a little too much show car character.

When the simple Opel logo appears between the LED daytime running lights and headlights, we like the front best. We also miss the classic four-eye look a little here. To do this, you first have to go to the stern, which is pretty close to the Manta A..

No CMP basis

Incidentally, the dimensions were largely retained. Just like many small exterior details that we know from the original form. Due to small design adjustments, height, width and length only change in the millimeter range. The wheelbase, on the other hand, remains at Manta A level at 2.43 meters.

Here Opel did not – as so often assumed in advance – take the CMP base from the PSA shelf and put it under the Manta body. This is 2.54 meters between the wheels in the Corsa-e and 2.56 meters in the Mokka-e.

The four-cylinder gasoline engine of the donor vehicle had to give way to an electric motor under the hood, which was painted black, which is typical for Opel. Instead of the 100 kW (136 PS) customary for the company, 108 kW (147 PS) and 255 Newton meters of torque are available for individual conversions without a basic basis.

The original four-speed transmission was retained in the Manta and sends the power to the rear wheels. You could still drive automatically – in fourth gear – or you could shift through the gears. However, without using the clutch. A really cool feature.

Temperature controller with a new function

The battery sits behind the back seat and has a relatively small capacity of 31 kWh. This means that the range of a good 200 kilometers is not really suitable for long distances, but the weight of the ElektroMOD was only increased by around 200 kg. Now to around 1,200 kg.

The regular charging of the lithium-ion package takes place via a 9 kW on-board charger for single- and three-phase alternating current. A charge takes four hours. So far there is no talk of a quick charge function. But from recuperation. The strength can even be adjusted. Namely via the former temperature controller of the donor vehicle.

When you press the original door opener, the lock pops open and the light metal door reveals the interior. The sports seats with their central yellow decor line were once developed for the Adam S. Opel actually wanted to use the mocha seats, but since these cannot be folded forward, they had to fall back on the three-door seating from Opel's former lifestyle mini-car.

Certainly a good choice for the lateral support criterion. However, the seats are quite high – especially in comparison to the original lounge chairs of the Manta A – and the head comes threateningly close to the roof.

Shock: No Kenwood!

While classic elements such as the window cranks, the Petri steering wheel without airbags, the gear knob, the handbrake lever, the round air vents, the manual pump for washer fluid or the cigarette lighter, which is pretty much out of date, take you back to the 70s, the classic round instruments have been brought back to the 1970s replaces the "Opel Pure Panel" from the Mocha.

The result was convincing and the builders themselves were surprised at how well the two 12.0 and 10.0 inch screens fit into the car. A Bluetooth box from Marshall provides the music. Kind. But somehow we would have found Kenwood better. Maybe on the show?!

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Opel has not yet really revealed how things will continue. According to the manufacturer, the Manta makers want to first collect, analyze and process their experience in building the ElektroMOD. So don't promise too much. The declared goal in the first step should then be a recipe for Opel fans who could tackle the transformation of their Manta oldies into an electric neoclassic on their own.

Is that the right way to go? Probably not. Because many Manta owners will not be found who would give the often long-preserved witnesses of automobile history for an electrical conversion.

What remains is the hope that Opel will take the positive feedback with it and possibly think further into an independent new edition of the sporty coupe. In large-scale series based on CMP. We would also let this Manta get away with larger dimensions, a little more technology, current safety standards and a few extra pounds. The image boost would still be phenomenal.

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